The railroading of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe

Pummeled by threat of a 1960s-style campus protest and poorly documented charges of a campus riddled by institutional racism, Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri system resigned Monday, with the hope that everyone would  “use my resignation to heal and start talking again.”

News reports across the nation have spotlighted the turmoil, but a complete list of racist horribles that Wolfe was accused of committing where practically nowhere to be found.

The closest I could find anything resembling an itemization of  racist incidents was posted on a student website, called Concerned Student 1950, laying out a list of "demands." The allegations are:

  1. Student government president Payton Head, who is black, was repeatedly called a "nigger" by a group of men in a pickup truck as he was walking down the street near campus.
  2. A white student approached 11 members of the Legion of Black Collegians, a black student governing body, during homecoming week and called them "niggers. " A campus security officer stood by and allegedly did nothing. The student has since been moved from campus, according to a statement from the Chancellor's office.
  3. Students at a campus residence hall  found a swastika drawn in human feces on a wall inside their building.

As provocative, wrongheaded and indefensible as these acts were, do they justify the summary firing of the university president? Were they isolated incidents committed by a few blockheads or are they proof of a system-wide structure of racism on campus?

Fruitlessly, I've looked for evidence of the latter--an extensive record of out-of-control racist actions and the failure of the university to do a damn thing. Then I came across the the discussion of the recent campus fashion of spotting "microaggressions" lurking in every  nook and cranny.

Huff Post offers a typical explanation of microaggressions.

These are microaggressions -- subtle digs and biases -- that permeate the culture. They could include something like a man rolling his eyes when a woman speaks, or people not wanting to be in study groups with those of different races.

Students said they also notice that white male students are called on in class more often than other students.

Microaggressions are said to erode self-esteem and  diminish academic performance, among other things.  Eventually, I found an influential study that supposedly documented microaggressions on  four major college campuses. The Voices of Diversity study found: "Manifestations of racism, sexism, and the two combined were reported on all campuses in both overt and microaggression forms."

There's some irony regarding the study and events at Missouri. The University of Missouri was the only one of the four universities studied that was willing to be named, apparently from its belief that the actions the school was taking were addressing the problem. And those actions, apparently weren't imaginary. Paula Caplan, the study's lead author, told the Huffington Post that the steps that Mizzou was taking are the kinds of things that makes "you believe how much better things can get."

Apparently, not that much better, if the protestors are to be believed.

There's another side to the microaggression story that shouldn't be taken likely, but will be ignored by most of the media It's addressed in this article: "Have Microaggression Complaints Really Launched a Whole New Sort of ‘Victimhood Culture’?" l, writing on the Science of Us noted:

.... some university administrations seem to have flown off the rails a bit in their understanding of the concept. The University of California system, for example, published a guide (PDF) for faculty that listed sentences like “America is a melting pot” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” as possible microaggressions — not banning the use of these phrases, but strongly implying, the constitutional-law scholar Eugene Volokh has argued, that faculty who use them could be contributing to a “hostile” learning environment, which is in fact “legally actionable.”

Two scientists argue in a study that the growing emphasis on microaggressions can lead to the emergence of a new "victimhood culture."  And we all know what that is: "It's not my fault; it's someone else's fault."

So, the bottom line: An undocumented series of perceived slights at the University of Missouri has forced the resignation of President Tim Wolfe who, by everything I could find, bought into the entire victimization scenario.

Could this be another case of BGI or Black Grievance Industry. The term was coined by Jack Cashill, author If I had a son, which documents the media lynching of George Zimmerman, who was falsely accused of murdering Trayvon Martin. You be the judge: I'm betting here that the media will be filled with plaudits for the students who drove Wolfe from his job, with only a shred of evidence of his guilt.

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  • fb_avatar

    If that's all you found, then you didn't look very hard.

  • In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Enlighten me, please.

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    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Wolfe admits that he made appear that he didn’t care that students and faculty feel unsafe on campus; he further admits that he stopped listening to their concerns: ample reasons for the leader of any organization to be removed. (Would we be debating this if the folks who feel unsafe where of European decent?)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

  • In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Please provide the full citation so that I can find that list. Thank you.

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    In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    The students and faculty have presented dozens of complaints to Wolfe over a year and a half. The three examples you were the “last straw” as decided by the media. You should do more research.

    The feces swastika would be a class 4 felony in Illinois, but sense our sympathies are with the supremacists enablers, it's merely "wrongheaded" to you.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    The students and faculty have presented dozens of complaints to Wolfe over a year and a half, by Wolfe's admission. That is.

  • In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Where can we see the full list of complaints? Are they backed up with proof? If someone is just stating that someone called them a name and they feel hurt about it, but there is no evidence except their own word, then there is no way of knowing if it did indeed happen or not. We don't want to encourage false accusations.

  • In reply to okryder:

    Exactly. But that is too reasonable of a request.

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    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    It what situation has a university published to list of complaints made against it? You have to read the statements from the university and the local new articles--do some research.

    There have now been two arrest for death threats.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Your thesis is that the white students at this public university who believe that it’s their private property where they decide who should be free to partake are normal and those who they judged unworthy have the pathology.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Why don't your thin skin condition checked out Carlton your pitiful excuse for a functioning adult.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Craig James:

    Well articulated retort. Thanks for your thoughtful insight.

  • I walked across a bridge today over a branch of the Erie Canal in Cleveland, and nodded to a black man who did not nod back. I am often mistaken for a white man, but I am Middle Eastern in heritage, despite my name. Am I a victim of microagression, or is it okay because it was a black man who did not acknowledge me. Are black people untouchable? Can they do anything the want without recourse? Should I have reportd this black man to some authority?

  • Dennis, From what I could glean from the news reports I heard, students were angry that there was little or no condemnation of these acts from the administration. Also: the Internet can do a lot, but it can't give someone in the Chicago area the flavor and feel of what is going on hundreds of miles away in mid-Missouri. I was a student at the University of Missouri, in Columbia. It's a great school, and I know it has a great future.

  • Don't the students have freedom of speech and freedom to assemble and petition for a redress of grievances? If you exercise these rights are you part of a culture of victimhood? And are you committing acts of microaggression?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Macroaggression? Of course they have those rights. Make as much noise as you want. All I'm suggesting is that their outrage may be disproportionate. But I'm willing to listen to the list of the horribles that call for the resignation of the president and the chancellor. Yes, I know about "hostile environment," and it's hard for me to put myself in their place. But at the risk of "blaming the victim," is there not a possibility that some eyes are rolling because of the.... Well, check out the video of the confrontation of some of the student "journalists" with Wolfe. Sorry, but it makes my eyes roll.

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    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You're willing to listen, but not willing to find. A professor wrote a rather lengthy piece on her experience there which includes being called nigger on multiple occasions by other professors.

  • In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Can you provide your sources please.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to okryder:

    I already provided a link to the Columbian Missourian. And her story and that of a new student at NPR.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    There's been a second arrest for death threats against these students. But, you've revealed yourself in the comments: this is no list of horribles that would bother you.

  • In reply to Carlton Sewell:

    Somehow you know me, and that nothing would bother me. I am bothered, though, by such death threats. They should be taken seriously and prosecuted. Yik Yak seems to attract a lot of these fools. Here's one:

  • George Zimmerman didn't murder Travon Martin? How did he wind up with all of those bullets in his body then?

  • In reply to Kevin Kaufmann:

    You're kidding, of course. The evidence clearly shows that Zimmerman was protecting himself. It's called self-defense and in anyone's book that is not murder.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Yes, he was protecting himself from someone he stalked.

  • fb_avatar

    Dennis, as a former faculty member at Mizzou's School of journalism 25 years ago, there is truth to your premise. Upon my hiring, I was warned of historically heated race relations and advised to walk on eggshells. Teaching in that atmosphere required linguistic gymnastics and daily flirtation with career suicide. I can't understand how anyone can teach in such a hair-trigger environment. I'm not talking about obvious stuff like not condemning swastikas. I'm talking about these so-called micro aggressions where you can't communicate for fear of employing the wrong turn of a phrase and being brought up on academic charges. Sadly, it is the students who stand to lose the most. I left after two years to return to the more lucrative business of broadcast journalism.

  • In reply to Carol Kaplan:

    And the Mizzou j-school is reputedly one of the best in the country. Sad to hear.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Carol Kaplan:

    I'm guessing those students did just fine in your absence. One less inarticulate journalist to teach: " I'm not talking about obvious stuff like not condemning swastikas."

  • I found one of the "demands" by Student1950 very disturbing. They want to "enFORCE" racial awareness classes on all students. Hopefully that will not be passed. Who wants to pay money to have to sit through a session on "white privilege" and other anti-white rhetoric. But then I started thinking that maybe it would be good, because the white students could share with the class their own experiences with receiving hateful messages and "micro-aggressions". I know I've received them, even in my middle age. I used to sit by a hispanic at work who daily talked about how terrible white people were for killing all the Natives off and how we genocided them. She would talk about how nice all the Mexicans were but how rude Whites were. If I had talked this way about Hispanics I would have been fired. Luckily she quit. She couldn't "handle the job" as she often stated. I also worked at a place once where emails were sent around about Swedish people in derogatory terms. I'm Swedish.
    I've never heard any of my white co-workers, friends or aquaintances say anything remotely racist. I have heard remarks about women, but that is universal, and is not just from whites but routinely done by all races and even women join in in the bashing of women it seems (not that it makes it right).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to okryder:

    "I've never heard any of my white co-workers, friends or aquaintances [sp.] say anything remotely racist." Well, I'd suggest that "sit through a session on "white privilege" and other anti-white rhetoric" is remotely racist. So, you're probably not the best judge.

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  • fb_avatar

    I've never heard any of my white co-workers, friends or acquaintances say anything remotely racist. I have heard remarks about women,professional assignment writersbut that is universal, and is not just from whites but routinely done by all races and even women join in in the bashing of women it seems (not that it makes it right).

  • I guess that Tom Wolfe left a huge contribution. And everybody who struggled with racism in the past should be honoured. By the way this article called 'In search of essay writers for hire' claim that writing experts can create academic content on any topic.

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