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What’s going on at Missouri?

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A few observations regarding the latest developments:

(1) It’s not a good thing when anti-racism becomes an excuse for an assault on a journalist who is doing his job in a legally-protected way.

(2) This also goes in the not good category:

In an email that was flagged by several Missouri-based journalists, the MUPD asked “individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech or actions” to call the department’s general phone line “to continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe.” They suggest that students provide a detailed description of the offender, their location or license plate number, and even to take a picture if possible.

In the email, MUPD readily admits that hurtful or hateful speech is not against the law. But, they write, “if the individuals identified are students, MU’s Office of Student Conduct can take disciplinary action.”

(3) While it should go without saying that attempting to educate all students from all backgrounds in the most effective way possible is the university’s primary reason for being, it should also be of some concern that the rhetoric of “diversity and inclusion” now so beloved of university administrators, is straight out of the business school corporate-speak playbook — and that this is no coincidence (as a commenter notes, now ex-president Tim Wolfe was a corporate lifer with no academic experience after his undergraduate days). Here is a completely random example:

We believe that creating a work force and a workplace that values diversity and fosters inclusion is pivotal to promoting innovation and increasing productivity and profitability. Our goal is to continually support and nurture the large number of Northrop Grumman employees whose backgrounds, characteristics and perspectives are as diverse as the global communities in which we reside. We are committed to leveraging our organizational diversity through teamwork, cross-functional collaboration and joint ventures to help us meet and exceed our business goals and ensure our role as a leader in our industry.

We are very proud of these efforts. We hope you will find the information on this Web site useful and informative, and gain a better understanding of why diversity and inclusion are part of Northrop Grumman’s core values.

As Northrop Grumman continues its expansion into the global marketplace, it is imperative that we embrace and commit to a culture of inclusion that respects the cultural norms where we do business. This commitment helps us achieve and sustain our top performance goals. By leveraging diverse teams with different work styles, problem-solving techniques, ideas and local cultural norms, we create innovative solutions and superior products that maintain our leadership in technology worldwide.

It’s also worth noting that, besides telling the cops to ask people to report instances of “hurtful” speech, the most concrete step Missouri administrators have made to address whatever problems do exist in regard to racist acts or speech on campus has been to create yet more administrative positions, and require everyone to undergo further corporate-style human resources department “training,” (which needless to say will also require more administrators to be hired):

As the two resignations were announced, the Board of Curators unveiled a slate of new initiatives to address racial tensions on campus, including hiring a diversity, inclusion and equity officer for the entire University of Missouri system. The university will also provide additional support to students, faculty and staff members who experience discrimination; create a task force to create plans for improving diversity and inclusion; and require diversity and inclusion training for all faculty, staff members and incoming students.

Whether all this administering, training, and policing will produce tolerant and edifying institutions is something that ought to be considered with skepticism. It seems likely, however, to play a role in the continuing corporatization of the American university.

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