|New Missouri university system interim chancellor|
(Update: Michael Middleton, an assistant chancellor at the Columbia campus, has now been named interim president of the Missouri system; he is also one of the founders of the Legion of Black Collegians.)
Point 3? I didn't originally know what was asked in 1969 by the Legion of Black Collegians, but I'm going to get to that in moment. Points 6-8 generally sound pretty good.
Point 1? Sounds like an exercise in Maoist indoctrination. And, it spoils everything else for me.
And, now that I found the actual 1969 demands, no, I think I'll pass on Point 3. Even if Middleton keeps a copy in his desk, at the story says.
That said, let's first go back to Point 1 of the list of demands for today by Concerned Student 1950. It sets the tenor for the whole situation, and per the old cliche, "first impressions make lasting impressions."
We demand that the University of Missouri System President, Tim Wolfe, writes a handwritten apology to the Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demonstrators and holds a press conference in the Mizzou Student Center reading the letter. In the letter and at the press conference, Tim Wolfe must acknowledge his white male privilege, recognize that systems of oppression exist, and provide a verbal commitment to fulfilling Concerned Student 1-9-5-0 demands. We want Tim Wolfe to admit to his gross negligence, allowing his driver to hit one of the demonstrators, consenting to the physical violence of bystanders, and lastly refusing to intervene when Columbia Police Department used excessive force with demonstrators.
I'm going to give a serious take, but one with a heavy dose of snark mixed in.
(And so much for the idea that digital is better, eh?)
Third, a protest of students around Wolfe drew counterprotestors, yes. Whether he “consented” to them or not is a different story. As for whether or not excessive force was used or not, I don’t know. And I assume it was Mizzou police, not city of Columbia police, involved.
As for other protests, via CNN?
|In 1969, only the man, Jonathan Butler (see link near bottom of page)|
would have been allowed to present the demands being presented today
under the spirit of 1969. (Screen grab from CNN link above.)
Unfortunately, per my first blog post on this subject, adult professors at Mizzou like Melissa Click, who should know better, don't. Or don't care to know better, which I honestly think is more likely.
But, back to the actual 1969 demands and seeing what was demanded.
There will be the set up of a $300,000 contingency fund to supplement the salaries of potential Black faculty, staff, and other professionals. This fund is to be used in the event that the University or a particular University department cannot meet the salary request of a Black applicant. For example: A Black applies to be a professor in the chemistry department and asks for a salary of $20,000 annually; the department can’t pay him but $15,000; therefore, the extra $5000 would come from the aforementioned fund.
The link, seriously, is good for other data, noting that graduation rates for black students have been slumping even as those for other ethnicities rise. I suspect that spiraling academic costs, which may lead more minorities to need to work more, or face more loans, is part of the problem. But, how much of this is a blacks-only issue and how much is a class issue, and why?
Job positions will be rearranged ·to accomodate [sic] Blacks. For example: A white instructor can teach 20th Century History and 17th Century History; and incoming Black can teach only 20th Century History; there is an opening in the 17th Century position; therefore, even though the white professor is in the 20th Century position, he will be moved to the 17th Century thereby creating an opening to accomodate [sic] the Black.
The rest of Point 2 is in similar vein. I have always supported affirmative action breaking ties on equally qualified candidates. I have supported affirmative action as part of remedies for past redresses. But, to use it to shunt aside, demote, or otherwise ... Balkanize, can't help but say it, current white professors is a different story.
Take 2(c). Let such a black would-be professor start as an instructor.
Point 3 is halfway acceptable or more, but again, fails to look at women's issues.
Points 4-5 are OK. Point 6 would be OK if it squared with funding levels of other similar campus organizations.
There will be the set up of an academic bankruptcy program for the entire campus. This program will allow a student to drop an entire semester from his records for justifiable circumstances. These circumstances will be determined per case by the council described in point #3 for Blacks and other non-white students.
Finally, with Middleton's appointment, especially if it becomes permanent, let's hope that
A. He has a somewhat more nuanced view than at least some Legion of Black Collegians may have had in 1969;
B. As a lawyer who's worked for the Department of Justice, he has a firm understanding of, and firm support for, all aspects of the First Amendment, including both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Behind bits of my snark here and there, this is a serious post.
And, contra many conservatives, I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater at today's higher ed. I don't want remote regurgitators trained. I want critical thinkers trained. If that's "anti-conservative," so be it. If your political ideas can't stand the light of critical thought, that's your problem. The same goes for the New New Left.
As for conservatives, beyond the fact that there's no systemic anti-conservative bias in the actual teaching and thinking of academia nearly as much as there is an anti-academia bias in the lack of critical thinking of many conservatives, the whole issue of corporatization of the American university is a serious issue. It is another one that Middleton needs to address, but that is probably unbeknown, or even unconsidered by, Concerned Student 1950. It's also one where Middleton probably has a short leash, even if he does think it's a concern.
What is arguably Fredrik deBoer's nutgraf is buried almost two-thirds of the way down his piece:
Current conditions result in neither the muscular and effective student activism favored by the defenders of current campus politics nor the emboldened, challenging professors that critics prefer. Instead, both sides seem to be gradually marginalized in favor of the growing managerial class that dominates so many campuses.
Yes, students get to dictate increasingly elaborate and punitive speech codes that some of them prefer. But what could be more corporate or bureaucratic than the increasingly tight control on language and culture in the workplace? Those efforts both divert attention from the material politics that the administration often strenuously opposes (like divestment campaigns) and contribute to a deepening cultural disrespect for student activism.
Professors, meanwhile, cling for dear life, trying merely to preserve whatever tenure track they can, prevented by academic culture, a lack of coordination and interdepartmental resentments from rallying together as labor activists.
That the contemporary campus quiets the voices of both students and teachers — the two indispensable actors in the educational exchange — speaks to the funhouse-mirror quality of today’s academy.