Monday, November 9, 2015

University of Missouri President Tom Wolfe Never Had a Chance

Tom Wolfe, the recently resigned president of the Univeristy of Missouri, never had a chance. It started the day his appointment as president of the Univerity was announced in December 2011.

The St Louis Dispatch was horrified and said so in an editorial:
The obvious problem facing the University of Missouri's Board of Curators and Timothy M. Wolfe, its out-of-the-blue choice as the university's new president, was this: How do you explain the selection of a former software executive with no significant academic credentials as the leader of a four-campus university system?...

And then there was curator Pam Henrickson's explanation that Mr. Wolfe would bring "fresh eyes. Somebody to come in and say, 'Why do you do this?' "

This would not be a good way to hire someone to, say, fix your car.
It's obvious that the Board of Curators was looking for a businessman, who could direct the University in a business fashion.

Wolfe, a graduate of the University, was such a businessman.

According to a biography released by the university at the time of his appointment, Wolfe began his career in 1980 at IBM in Missouri, first as a sales representative in Jefferson City then as a manager in Kansas City. From 2000 to 2003, Wolfe served as executive vice president of Covansys Corp., a global consulting and technology services company based in Michigan.

He then moved to Novell Inc., a provider of infrastructure software, where he was responsible for more than 3,000 employees and partner firms in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Clearly, he spent his time climbing the corporate ladder putting in long hours and much effort.

One can imagine, he took the job at Mizzou to give back to the university that got him his start,

Unfortunately, universities these days are not about hard work and overcoming obstacles. They are about identifying with a victims' group and screaming and demanding.

Logic behind the screams and demands is not required.

The alleged racist problems on Mizzou campus that led to Wolfe's resignation are as follows .

According to the Washington Post, a student protest leader, Jonathan Butler:
 says the problems began in Ferguson, about two hours east, but quickly made their way to Columbia. When white police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18-year-old Brown on August 9, 2014, the incident shook the entire nation. But it also affected Columbia. Many Mizzou students come from the Ferguson/St. Louis area. Many others, including Butler, nonetheless drove to Ferguson to protest.

Butler was just starting a Master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis when protests erupted in Ferguson. He had attended Mizzou as an undergrad as well and liked it enough to stay.

But even as he and his friends were holding signs and chanting on Ferguson’s streets, he was surprised, as he sees it, to see his university do little to address the racial tensions simmering in the same state.
Say what, the University was not doing enough to address racial tensions in the state?  Well, blow me over. What are they doing to address the problem of the Federal Reserve printing money or addressing the US military in its adventures around the world? Would Butler have been stopped from writing a paper on any of these topics or starting a discussion group, instead of going on the hunger strike he went on? That is, rather than playing the victim.

Walter Block has much more radical views than upset over what occurred in Ferguson and he has heroically spoken his views in front of organizations everywhere from Yale to Brooklyn College. And students flock to the logically presented arguments, no hunger strikes on Block's part required. And understanding in liberty, one would think, is advanced.

Say something smart and eventually smart people will find you.

But the complaints at Mizzou went on  without much in terms of coherency. WaPo again:
The problems in Columbia began on Sept. 11. That’s when Payton Head, the Missouri Students Association president and an African American, was racially abused as he walked home.

“Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be okay to continuously scream N—– at me,” Head wrote on Facebook the next day. “I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society.”

African American students became upset when it took university chancellor R. Bowen Loftin nearly a week to respond to the incident.
Look, there is no indication those in the pickup truck were even students at Mizzou. Has Head ever heard of townies? There is no college in the world that doesn't have an uneasiness between townies and college students, And it is usually because the townies consider students elitists, getting that education and all. Maybe the townies, driving through the campus to cause trouble, thought Head was an elitist and tried to cut him down the way townies cut everyone down This is not a new idea. The edginess between the two groups was brilliantly portrayed in the great 1997 film Good Will Hunting.

What was Wolfe supposed to do about this? It doesn't sound like Head got a license plate number.

After the unidentified pickup truck, this occurred next:
Barely a week later came another ugly on-campus incident.
Shortly after midnight on Oct. 5, members of the Legion of Black Collegians (LBC) were in a campus plaza rehearsing for a play the following night when “an inebriated white male” called them “n—–s.”
Puhleeze. It is not fun. I know. It happens. It is the world. What does Butler want Wolfe to ban drinking on campus?

I am a walker, Do you know how many drunk blacks have come up to me yelling nonsense. And then there are the times drunks come up to me and call me a "Godman Jew." And I am not even Jewish.

That said, if a white guy really wants to have an "issues experience," I recommend he take a hot black chick, preferably a model, into an all black club.

Townie confrontations don't come close to those black bar scene events.

But, I digress.

There were more problems at Mizzou:
Two weeks later, Mizzou’s racial tensions flared again when someone used their own feces to smear a swastika on a communal bathroom wall in a brand new residence hall. The incident seemed to capture the college’s predicament: each attempt at a fresh start besmirched by old prejudices.

“This individual used a symbol that targets cultural and religious minorities in a place where students call their home,” wrote Residence Halls Association President Billy Donley in a news release, adding that the vandalism was “an act of hate.”

A university spokesman downplayed the incident, however.

“It was some vandalism that was discovered several days ago in a residence hall in a restroom,” Christian Basi told the Columbia Missourian.

For Butler, the disgusting incident, and the university’s response, was the last straw.

On Nov. 2, he tweeted out a letter announcing that he was going on hunger strike.

I will grant that none of what occurred is fun for black students, though, I doubt even whites got a big kick of feces spread over the wall in a residence hall. And isn't a swastika more of an attack against Jews?

The Columbia Missourian reports:
Jeanne Snodgrass, executive director of Mizzou Hillel, a nonprofit organization and Jewish campus center, said she was contacted by Residential Life about the incident.

“Unfortunately sometimes things happen, and I think that the university is responding appropriately and dealing with it very seriously,” Snodgrass said.

Jordan Kodner is an executive for both Zeta Beta Tau and Chabad, a Jewish student organization on campus. He said he found out about the incident when he was at Hillel and someone brought it up right after it happened.

"A lot of people are very confused, especially with this particular one — using feces," he said. "I know that kind of confused a lot of people. It just seems very odd — were they trying to send a certain message with it?”

He said he hopes the incident will be a wake-up call about anti-Semitism on campus. He said he  is upset that it is usually downplayed.

Kodner doesn’t feel threatened because nothing violent has happened yet.

"I feel like it's just forgotten about or not talked about, when it really should be," Kodner said. "Just like any racism case against any type of minority, it should be discussed and it should be on national media.”

The executive board of the Jewish Student Organization discussed the issue during a meeting at Hillel on Friday evening. The members said there needs to be more public awareness about what had happened.

Thalia Sass, the president of Jewish students' group, said at the meeting that she found out about the incident from a Maneater reporter. She then confirmed it with Snodgrass, she said.

"I still think that when something like this happens, Jewish students feel threatened," Sass said. “I was actually really mad about this because I heard about it from a Maneater reporter. It happened on the 24th, and we’re only talking about it now? Why wasn’t JSO contacted earlier by Residential Life?”

The group plans on speaking to the residents of Gateway Hall during a mandatory residential meeting on Monday evening. They said they plan on talking about the history of the swastika and how it relates to Jewish people and the Holocaust.
In any case, Tom Wolfe is gone. A seeming decent guy, who didn't respond to a victims' group, in situations where it would have been difficult to respond in any way other than with victim babble..

Of all the education going on at Mizzou, Wolfe probably learned the most, Education is no longer about trying to understand the world. It is no longer about why the world is the way it is  or how it could be changed, It is about victims screaming in ways that don't make sense.

There is hate in the world. Studying it and thinking about how to deal with it or how it can be eliminated is certainly a worthy pursuit. But there are lots of problems in the world, and none of us have any obligation to spend one breath resolving any one of them. It is a much wiser path to understand the world, learn how to best navigate it, College should be about talk and debate, in cafes and dorm rooms. And trying to understand things and perhaps think the grand dreams of how to change the world. But putting pressure on a University president over slights that are at best tangentially attached to the University isn't exactly progress in any way other than showing that if you yell and scream and are part of an official victims' group, you can just about intimidate anyone.



  1. Another campus race hoax. Such hoaxes are subsidized, so we get more of them.

    1. After reading about another fake campus gang rape

      I am convinced that the feces swastika was probably done by a "victim". The feces aspect is what makes it scream out "PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND MY FEELINGS!"

  2. Instead of protesting, students should promote a message of love and cooperation by decorating the quad with peace signs and inclusive slogans, all written in smeared feces.

  3. You pretty much summed up how I feel about this story. I kept reading about it, trying to figure out where he made his big mistake, and wasn't able to find it. It is all very confusing if you are looking for a rational explanation.

    1. His mistake is that he didn't express the proper amount of useless outrage, white self-loathing, and other pointless emotive hysteria. If you don't do these things, you're part of the problem.