After months of turmoil and criticism, Simon Newman leaves, effective immediately. He calls recent controversy "too great of a distraction."The distractions are mostly self-inflicted, as Adam Steinbaugh of the Torch explains.
Newman’s transparent contempt for dissent and mild criticism—off-hand remarks about a plan that was never implemented—demonstrated an utter lack of appreciation for free speech and academic freedom.Plus evidence that even a short-fingered vulgarian can overreach.
Had Newman simply weathered the initial criticism and left his critics in place, he almost certainly wouldn’t be resigning now. There would have been little continuing attention from the public and likely no attention from MSMU’s accreditor. It wasn’t Newman’s “kill the bunnies” remark that doomed his presidency—it was his cynical attempt to quell criticism through terminations, risking the credibility of his university in the process.Better, though, to have worked with the faculty, respecting their stewardship of the curriculum.
An Alex Morey post at the Torch properly calls out the curators of the University of Missouri for caving too readily to legislators.
While FIRE has been critical of [fired assistant communication studies professor Melissa] Click’s actions during the Mizzou protests, it in no way lessens the importance of ensuring faculty members are afforded due process. A renewed commitment to procedural due process by Mizzou not only would comport with the institution’s promises to its faculty, it would also give students and faculty increased confidence that a fair and accurate result will be reached in every termination proceeding.It is up to the faculty to teach the controversies, to the students to grasp the subtleties of the complexities, and to the administrators and the trustees to provide an environment in which the sifting and winnowing can be continual and fearless.
Melissa Click—like everyone else—is entitled to nothing less.