Letter to the Editor

Unsettling Mizzou

Friday, November 13, 2015

As a graduate student at Mizzou, I have witnessed many of the events that have transpired here this week. They are extremely unsettling and seem to mark a degeneration of the intellectual climate among students and faculty.

While I think very little of President Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin, I object to the way they were forced out by one student's hunger strike. No man should be told, "Either you quit your job, or my death will be on your hands." Furthermore, both men were targeted not for anything they did as individuals, but because of a general accusation of "systemic racism" at Mizzou, a charge that holds them responsible for others' actions, and is, by its very nature, almost impossible to disprove. There is no chance for rational discussion and a peaceful solution under these conditions.

Then on Monday, we saw photographers threatened by protesters who wanted to turn a designated "free-speech zone" into a "safe space" for themselves. For faculty and students at a university supposedly dedicated to intellectual freedom, especially one with a famous school of journalism, to harass the press in this way is unacceptable. As a historian, I am reminded of Stalin's or Mao's henchmen. It suggests that modern academia is concerned not with intellectual freedom, but rather with protection for its members' psyches and an amorphous "social justice."

Whatever the rightness of the protesters' cause, it will be impossible for the university to maintain its oldest and most important functions if this continues.

Travis Eakin, Bell City, Missouri