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In a previous message, An Open Letter to Concerned Student 1950, I offered some comments about student protesters at Missouri’s flagship university, suggesting that in some academic hideaway, there might be a leader who wouldn’t put up with their rebellious ways. I signed the message, “A Concerned American, from a few generations in the past.”
However, let us suppose that such a person did magically show up, say, as a newly appointed interim-president charged with the task of dealing with contumacious crowds bent on taking over the university. As a public service, I offer the following comments for this individual’s first address to fellow administrators, faculty, and students:
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I stand before you with deep humility in facing the challenges that confront us all, along with the understanding that our mutual undertaking should be considered in terms that are nothing less than the preservation of our integrity as an institution of higher learning in America. That means that we are committed to the pursuit of truth, honesty, civility, and the bequeathing of our country’s matchless heritage of freedom to future generations. I understand further that many of you do not share these goals, and with such individuals in mind especially, I state with the firmest resolve that you do not belong here. Indeed, likely you do not belong at any academic institution that takes its mission seriously. However, beginning right now, we must assert that this university’s ideals will claim our sincerest loyalty. Again, if you cannot contribute to our academic community — for it is a community of scholarship, teaching, and learning that binds us together — then your presence here will do neither us nor you any good. Thus you must depart these hallowed halls.
I recognize fully that I am thrust into a position of great turmoil, which has spread to many other academic institutions throughout the land. Frankly, the reasons for this are no mystery to me. I will not speculate on how many administrators, faculty, and students have been infected with the spiritual bacillus of Marxist cultural criticism, which commands its acolytes to worship at the altar of race, class, and gender, but considering the phalanx of hyphenated “isms” that march through lists of student protesters’ demands like a regiment of storm troopers, one may safely assume that this number is rather high.
Certainly, many of you have succumbed to the call of this unholy trinity, including some faculty cancelling classes, issuing sympathetic messages to the disaffected, or joining protesters on their marches to chaos and nihilism. Indeed, any observer cannot fail to note, with the deepest chagrin and perhaps a smidgen of humor, those among you who blanketed our grounds with your bodies and placards, and smothered our speech with shouts and demands, have also complained that the recent murdering spree by Islamist radicals in Paris have drawn unwarranted attention from your presumed sufferings.
Apart from displaying to our country and the world your isolation from reality, you have perhaps unintentionally brought into bold relief a very important point. And it is this: Dealing with serious problems as fully as possible requires addressing root causes, a sentiment with which you claim great familiarity. I must say I completely agree. We should strive to deal with root causes to overcome our current tribulations, keeping in mind, however, that some of these causes, such as your upbringing and previous educational experience, are outside this institution’s realm of control.
But we shall do what we can, beginning by taking the following steps. First, the university will no longer fund or support any student organization based on race, class, gender, ethnicity, or some supposed set of grievances. This means that dozens of student groups, some issuing from a menagerie of exotic imaginations, will be on their own. Second, at no time will demonstrations that halt or disrupt academic functions at the university or threaten the safety or lives of our students be tolerated. Aggressive mob actions that break the law will result in the perpetrators being arrested, removed from the campus, and discharged from the university. This includes all students, faculty and administrators. Third, all academic majors beginning with the word “Studies” will be abolished and their faculty dismissed. Perhaps no greater service can be carried out for the devotees in such majors, since this action surely prevents them from acquiring useless degrees frequently based on preposterous ideas.
Fourth, the administration will strive mightily to fulfill the diversity and inclusion criteria of our university by hiring more faculty members committed to the values of truth, honesty, civility, and freedom. This will result in the addition of scholars who espouse ideals on which our country was based, classical liberalism, constitutionalism, and all the freedoms those principles entail. Without question, such initiatives will bolster our standing throughout the country, a goal with which I’m sure you will agree.
Fifth, the administration and board of trustees will not entertain any complaints based on so-called “micro-aggressions,” or “hurt feelings,” or the failure to provide “trigger warnings” or “safe spaces,” all of which are expressions of individuals too immature and pusillanimous to be at this university. Finally, the concept of a “free speech zone,” is abhorrent to the First Amendment to the Constitution, and indeed, to the foundations of this country. The whole university is a free speech zone and will be defended vigorously.
I conclude by pledging myself to conduct the duties of the office of university president to the fullest of my abilities. I shall work on your behalf for the betterment of your souls, the enrichment of your learning, and the enhancement of your life’s many prospects. I shall strive every day to succeed in the grandest, most noble endeavor any nation can have for its citizens, and that is to impart to our sons and daughters the highest ideals to which we aspire. For it is a civilization we are bequeathing, not just a list of fresh resumes. It is to these commitments I pledge my life, my work, and my sacred honor.
Thank you very much,
Your New University President