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Tigers vs. Wolfe

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[Update – Wolfe has resigned. Thanks to Peterr for the heads up.]

College football players don’t get paid, but the people who do make money from University of Missouri’s football games must be feeling nervous right now:

With the backing of their head coach, football players at Missouri are threatening to stop participating in any football activities until the president of the university system is fired or resigns. In a late afternoon statement, though, the president declined to do so, saying instead that the school would start a systemwide diversity examination.

The Tigers are joining a protest that was sparked by what the students describe as the university’s poor handling of a series of incidents:

racial slurs directed to a black student who is president of the Missouri Students Association, racial epithets hurled at the Legion of Black Collegians as they rehearsed for a performance and the discovery of a swastika drawn with human feces in the restroom of a residence hall.

In addition

Graduate students are worried about the removal of benefits. Some faculty and alumni are upset about [the] decision to … revoke university hospital admitting privileges for a doctor who also works for Planned Parenthood. Leadership changes at the medical school have not been adequately explained.

Gov. Jay Nixon has weighed in, as has Sen. Claire McCaskill. Ben Carson claimed he was the QB, coach and a defensive tackle for the Tigers when they won the Big 8 championship in 1975.

 

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  • Scott Lemieux

    Ben Carson claimed he was the QB, coach and a defensive tackle for the Tigers when they won the Big 8 championship in 1975.

    He also did not receive any tutoring when he got an A in Perception 301.

    • Bill Murray

      He did become the first player paid legally when the Perc 301 prof gave him $10

      • Scott Lemieux

        Ben Carson DESTROYED THE NOBLE IDEALS OF AMATEURISM oh the humanity.

  • busker type

    God bless those kids.

    Talk about hitting where it hurts.

    • Drexciya

      Yes.

      “We’re black. Black is powerful.”

  • A friend’s dad played for Kansas in the 1970’s, and in the locker room before the Mizzou game the coach would get in a lather firing up his team, including pointing to the black players in the locker room and saying something like “those guys over there, they’re SLAVERS! if they had their way YOU WOULD ALL BE IN CHAINS!”

    I learned today they would also bring in descendants of survivors of Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence.

    • EliHawk

      There’s always something a little nuts about the KU-Mizzou rivalry being a descendant of an actual armed conflict. You don’t get stuff like that from the Iron Bowl.

      • Richard Gadsden

        Has nothing on England-Germany. That one gets completely insane. If they play next year (in Euro 2016), then there will be references to the Somme.

      • Latverian Diplomat

        There was the weirdness of the Blue-Gray game. That was more in the vein of sentimentalizing rather than rather feeding off of an old conflict.

  • Drexciya

    If only they had pitched their question in soft, gentle inside tones like reasonable adults. At least his answer was spoken at a volume that’s consistent with the noble standards of civility, and that’s what matters.

    • DocAmazing

      Out of his own mouth came the evidence that he needs to be an ex-president. Sadly, the comments already reveal that privileged dumbshits can miss any point, no matter how obvious, if if might pose a threat to their privilege.

  • DiTurno

    Just saw that Wolfe has no previous background in higher ed. There’s a surprise.

  • Hogan

    Clearly, we are open to listening to all sides, and are confident that we can come together to improve the student experience on our campuses. We want to find the best way to get everyone around the table and create the safe space for a meaningful conversation that promotes change. We will share next steps as soon as they are confirmed.

    That’s like, three entire Buzzword Bingo cards there. I wouldn’t believe him if he told me the time of day off my own watch.

    • Scott Lemieux

      His leadership has already been a strategically dynamic new paradigm.

      • efgoldman

        His leadership has already been a strategically dynamic new paradigm.

        By adding how many new layers of administration and management?

    • cpinva

      “We will share next steps as soon as they are confirmed.”

      and this will be exactly…………………..never. with any luck, all this recent unpleasantness will be forgotten, and we can go back to business as usual.

  • EliHawk

    Wolfe seems like a complete tool, but isn’t the hunger strike aspect a little disconcerting from an academic freedom perspective? It’s essentially one student threatening a suicide (as he’s already signed a DNR) unless a school official is removed from his post. If, say, an anti-abortion student showed up at the President’s office with a gun to his head, saying he’d pull the trigger unless the school fired a feminist law professor, would we applaud that? It seems like the strike is a much better way to make a point.

    • oneslyfox

      There is always a higher principle to defend when a minority is attacking white supremacy. Always.

      • Steve LaBonne

        +1000

      • cpinva

        that “higher principle” would be cash.

      • EliHawk

        Not really, but knock yourself out. The idea that one person, whether on the left or on the right, doesn’t get, as someone puts it below, a veto by gunshot over public policy is a pretty good principle to defend and I think there are far better ways to protest and make their views felt, not least of which is this strike(which I explicitly called a “much better way”) or another broader student shutdown. It’s especially relevant a principle to hold over fighting white supremacy, because a minority imposing veto by gunshot (directed at others rather than self inflicted) is what kept Jim Crow white supremacy entrenched in the south from the end of Reconstruction to the 1960s.

        • McAllen

          It’s especially relevant a principle to hold over fighting white supremacy, because a minority imposing veto by gunshot (directed at others rather than self inflicted) is what kept Jim Crow white supremacy entrenched in the south from the end of Reconstruction to the 1960s.

          Hunger strikes = Threatening to shoot yourself = Actually shooting other people. Got it.

          If we’re really going to go there, isn’t it far more relevant that hunger strikes were part of the Civil Rights movement? Were those inappropriate as well?

        • Drexciya

          It’s especially relevant a principle to hold over fighting white supremacy, because a minority imposing veto by gunshot (directed at others rather than self inflicted) is what kept Jim Crow white supremacy entrenched in the south from the end of Reconstruction to the 1960s.

          I like how swiftly you equated self-imposed, self-directed suffering to an explicit campaign of government backed, government involved and locally executed terrorist campaigns against specific populations. The only relevant principle to “hold over fighting white supremacy” is a desire disempower those who are capable of wielding whiteness to apparent institutional and political benefits. There are few real obligations beyond that.

          At no point has white supremacy – which is to say, white people – ceased deploying a “veto by gunshot” and it’s unseemly that one who claims to oppose it would object to creative – but restrained and constrained – responses that neuter its ability to operate and maintain a veneer of morality while doing so. At worst, a hunger strike (and even a suicide, which is not what a hunger strike is) simply makes stakes that the strike itself doesn’t affect more explicit and less undeniable. At best, it creates ground where powerful white people are forced to make a short term value judgment where looking good becomes more important than openly making things good for yourself.

          All you’re doing by tut-tutting this is making your allegiances and your goals clear. It’s an insult to these students and to the intelligence of your interlocutors to pretend that you share them.

          • Drexciya

            It just so happens that, like most black people, Jonathan Butler is more than capable of speaking for himself:

            Now a graduate student says he is on a hunger strike and is willing to die unless the school’s president steps down.

            “My body feels like it’s on fire,” Jonathan L. Butler, 25, told The Washington Post on Thursday night, four days into his one-man protest. “I have pain all over. I’m exhausted. Of course, I’m hungry. I’ve got an ongoing headache.”

            Butler said he was just drinking water — no multivitamins, no painkillers — until University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe steps down. Butler and other black students blame Wolfe for what they say is the school’s failure to address the rising tide of racism on campus.

            “I already feel like campus is an unlivable space,” said Butler, who is African American. “So it’s worth sacrificing something of this grave amount, because I’m already not wanted here. I’m already not treated like I’m a human.”

        • A veto by gunshot? There have been some much more eloquent responses to that, so I will just say “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU”.

        • oneslyfox

          Veto by gunshot? You’re being utterly silly. A hunger strike is about bringing a great deal of shame to an institution, not a threat of immediate violence. You’ve just proven my point because you think stopping white supremacy can be equated with upholding it.

          Those of the Jim Crow south didn’t need “veto by gunshot” because where the law didn’t stop blacks from advocating on their own behalf, the unpunished lynchings did. But you keep invoking your higher principle, it’s so neutral and academic people might not even start to question if you’re just racist.

        • Cassiodorus

          You really think supporters of Jim Crow were a minority?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Since when does academic freedom apply to university presidents in their role as presidents?

      • EliHawk

        I suppose I’m thinking more in the context of a President/University Chancellor rather than the President of a system, which seems to often be a political appointment rather than the former faculty member found in the latter. But if we support the ability of faculty members to speak out on controversial matters with out intimidation or loss of employment, surely we support that right for administrators as well? A cursory Googling shows Wolfe was an outspoken opponent against the Missouri legislature’s attempt to pass a Brownback-esque tax agenda over Nixon’s veto. If the Tea Party were calling on his removal for that reason, I suspect people would support his willingness to speak out on that front.

      • Matt_L

        From what I understand most university administrators, including presidents, are at will employees. They can be fired at any time for pretty much any reason. So academic freedom is not part of their contract. That is part of the justification for paying administrators more than faculty members.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      It is extraordinarily uncommon for anybody to actually let themselves starve to death on account of a hunger strike. The urge to eat is too strong. There are interesting questions raised by the hypothetical of a student who threatens to shoot himself if the university doesn’t do (x), but they revolve primarily around to what extent a deranged individual can have mental health help forced on them. It shouldn’t factor into university decision-making at all, since it’s quite literally veto by gunshot.

      • cpinva

        “It is extraordinarily uncommon for anybody to actually let themselves starve to death on account of a hunger strike.”

        don’t tell that to the members of the IRA falsely accused, convicted and jailed in Belfast and Dublin, by the corrupt to the core Brits. it will come as something of a surprise to them.

        • yet_another_lawyer

          I suppose we can’t know for sure how they would feel about the characterization, but that was ten guys in 1981 and a handful in the years preceding that. Let’s assume there are a hundred times as many undocumented examples. That would *still* make it extraordinarily uncommon for any reasonable definition of extraordinarily uncommon.

  • efgoldman

    I give it until the end of the week before all their scholarships are revoked, they’re all kicked out of school, and they either invite walk-ons or forfeit the rest of the season.
    The season tickets are all sold, they’ve lost four in a row, aand the have to win two out of there last three to be bowl-eligible (BYU, Tennessee, @Arkansas).
    Depends, of course, on how much of a power-hungry asshole the president (or whoever’s pulling his strings) wants to be.

    • There’s no way that happens. No way.

      • Brien Jackson

        You would think the bad PR would be too much for the university, especially with the coach openly supporting the players, but on the other hand the NCAA has to be shitting its collective pants at the possibility that this works in getting Wolfe removed from his position, and what that would mean for other forms of collective action by the serfs.

      • Peterr

        Right.

        What’s missing from some of the coverage of this is how the coach has publicly thumbed his nose at the UM system president. There’s all kinds of talk about Pinkel standing with his team, but none that I’ve seen that casts this in terms of one well-paid university administrator publicly ripping into his boss’ boss. When Pinkel tweeted out “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united.” he was also saying that HE speaks for Mizzou, not Wolfe or the Columbia chancellor. In the world of academic administration, them’s fighting words. If Wolfe wanted to push back against this, he’d be more upset about that than about students making noise, and he’d have Pinkel’s head on a pike. The fact that he hasn’t done so tells me (a) Wolfe is scared, and (b) Wolfe is finished at MU.

  • At first I thought this post was going to be another variation on the bears and wolves in the zoo thing.

  • Jordan

    Well, the coach apparently supports them, and the faculty is walking out today.

    So, this dude is gone (barring something drastic). You can withstand losing the faculty. You can – maybe – withstand losing the football players. You can *maybe, maybe* withstand losing the football coach.

    But not all three.

  • Peterr

    And Wolfe is gone. From the Columbia Missourian:

    UM System President Tim Wolfe announced his resignation at a UM Board of Curators meeting Monday morning.

    Wolfe has garnered widespread criticism in the past month. Graduate student Jonathan Butler began a hunger strike Nov. 2, saying Wolfe has refused to act on multiple incidents of racism on MU’s campus.

    Students, faculty and Missouri government officials have offered support for Wolfe’s resignation.

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