Many around the nation have been following the latest racially charged protests and demonstrations taking place on the campus of the University of Missouri. We’ve heard all the stories, from swastikas drawn in human feces to resignations and even death threats. Some of the claims wildly exaggerated and unsubstantiated and some of them at least credible if not verifiably accurate. The victims of the whole debacle include both those who have experienced inappropriate treatment because of their skin color and the administrators that were forced to resign without any sort of proof of wrong doing, among others.
This whole fiasco has gotten completely and totally out of control. But there are two other victims as a result of these recent events that will likely not receive any press; and, when years down the road, this moment in history is remembered, these forgotten victims will probably be lamented. But few, if any, will recognize their connection to what happened in recent days at Mizzou.
Due Process and the Rule of Law
The first unintended victim of this contravention of common sense and logic is the very basic principle of due process and/or the rule of law. Essentially what we are seeing happen at Mizzou is, the lynching of certain members of the administration and faculty at a once respected American university. The only missing ingredients are pitch forks, torches, and a noose.
The concept of “due process” first emerged from and developed out of clause 39 of the Magna Carta, which states; “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This concept, for 800 year has stood the test of time and most people, unless you are a radical socialist or communist dictator, believe it is a fundamental right of all humanity. Innocent until proven guilty is more than just a cliché.
In Missouri today there are 2 men who have been chased from their places of employment at the tips of figurative pitchforks. The student athletes of the Mizzou football team using insurance scam tactics and mafia like extortion drug these two men in to the courtyard threw a rope over a tree branch and held an execution for their careers as the shouting mob gathered with their torches to revel in the spectacle. No investigation was allowed to take place, no proof of wrong doing was offered, and the only court allowed to deliberate over the evidence was one of misinformed public opinion. Justice and the rule of law were aborted and the ignorant masses cheered gleefully. It truly is a sad day in our society and a tragically dangerous precedent has been set.
Irony and Education
The second unintended victim drowning in the murky waters of the Mizzou misadventure is quite simply education. Reports are coming in this morning of the resignation of Dr. Dale Brigham, an associate professor at Mizzou, who actually expected his students to come to class and take a test, HOW DARE HE! At the time of this writing it was unclear whether his resignation was accepted by the university but the fact that he was planning on resigning for actually performing the duties of the position for which he was hired is a tragic indictment on the state of our university system across the nation.
Therefore, in addition to the careers of President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor Bowen Loftin a third victim swinging from in a tree in Mizzou’s courtyard is the very education of the students are there obtain. The students of Dr. Brigham’s class have paid considerable tuition and student fees in exchange for information and instruction from him and the university. However due to the actions of a few, which are very likely based on a blatant lie, they have not only been robbed of that instruction but also possibly of the dollars spent for it. Depending on how long this treachery continues classes may have to be cancelled therefore forcing students to take the classes at a later date extending, unnecessarily, their career as students; potentially causing a litany of problems for them for years to come.
I understand that students should and must have the right to speak out, to peaceably assemble, and to petition for the redress of grievances. But there is a process through which these rights must be expressed. That process was and is currently being subverted in Missouri. If it is not brought back under control quickly and effectively we could be witnessing the beginning of the devastation of an institution created to perform one of the most basic functions of a civilized society, to educate our young people. Ironically, the education they should be receiving at this and other educational institutions across the country should be teaching them the very principles which would have helped them avoid this tragedy in the first place.