“Get woke, go broke” is a Glenn Reynoldsism. At the University of Missouri, they’ve been living those words for three years.
In 2015, campus SJWs scared the pants off of school adminstrators as protests erupted over various incidents on and off campus, both real and imagined. The demonstrations resulted in the resignation of the president of the University of Missouri System and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus.
White students were harassed, threatened and intimidated. The resulting bad press led to a 35% decline in freshman enrollment and a loss of tens of millions of dollars in revenue.
It hasn’t gotten any better since then.
Indulging protesters can be expensive, as the University of Missouri is discovering three years after students successfully demanded the resignation of the president and chancellor. Last week the school said it will have to eliminate 185 positions on top of 308 cut last year.
Apparently fewer parents want to send their kids to a school where activism eclipses academics. Between the fall 2015 and 2017 semesters, freshman enrollment dropped by 35%. Lost tuition accounts for $29 million of the university’s current $49 million budget shortfall.
In response, Mizzou has had to lay off employees, decline to renew expiring faculty contracts, and leave positions unfilled after retirements. The university is also cutting back on travel and phasing out low-demand courses, among other austerity measures.
Mizzou claims more aggressive recruitment from neighboring states’ schools has contributed to the enrollment decline. And it says growing maintenance, research and personnel costs have contributed to the budget strain. But “we know the perception of Mizzou was a key factor in the difficulties we had over the past two years,” adds spokesman Christian Basi.
Much of the public outcry concerned free speech, and Missouri has tried to improve on that score. Since 2015, all campuses in the Missouri university system have adopted the Chicago Principles, which guarantee “the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn.” But other speech policies at Mizzou remain ambiguous, earning it a mediocre yellow rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that tracks free-speech on campus.
The protesters loaded up on demands of school administrators, most of which were met. Parents seeing the school turning into a hotbed of racialism and anti-white feeling found other schools for their children to attend where they wouldn’t be accosted because of their race.
When even the school administration admits that the “difficulties” they’ve had have contributed to declining revenue and enrollment, you can imagine how bad the situation is.
What happened to Mizzou should be an object lesson for other schools, but it won’t be. At least, not yet. We have not yet reached peak insanity on campus where a true backlash would change the situation.
The administrators at Mizzou have hardly learned their lesson, as they will discover when the next incident roils the campus and leads to further financial troubles for the school.