“Notable & Quotable: John Siber” The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2015.
The recent turmoil at the University of Missouri with the president forced to resign and the football team threatening to strike reminds many of us of the campus disruptions of the 1960s when students occupied the administrative buildings with non-negotiable demands at Cornell, Berkley, and elsewhere.
Reminds The Wall Street Journal, too. Here is a quote they published from John Silber that he made ten years ago about student protests even earlier when he was president of Boston University.
. . . then they put up the shacks. I told the police, “Go ask them three questions: Do you have a title to the property? (They built them on our property, not theirs.) Do you have a building permit? We have to have building permits. Have you got a clearance with the historical commission, because this is a historical district?
If the answer is No to those three questions, then you tell them, “We’ll give you about 15 minutes to remove your shanty. And if you don’t, you’ll be arrested.”
I said, “Now, none of them are going to remove their shanty, so you’re going to have to arrest them. But I want you to be very gentle, and I want you to take them to the paddy wagon singing, ‘It’s just a shanty in old shanty town.’ ” Because one point I want to get across to these students is, I do not take them seriously. This is not some very deeply felt, high moral cause on their part; this is showboating of a very insincere kind by most of these students, and I want them to understand that I see through their pretensions.
Good point. Showboating is rampant everywhere today. However, I was encouraged by the football protest. The football program at many universities has grown to bizarre proportions and needs reform. (Lenny Moore was the star football player at Penn State when I was there. He was in one of my elective classes and sat in the back reading a newspaper for the hour. No one thought this was unusual. The professor ignored him and he ignored the professor. We ignored him. It all seemed unreal. But that was only for the first class. We did not see him after that.)
If I was the president of Missouri, I would have let the team go ahead and strike. I would have dismantled the entire football program and rescinded the player’s scholarships. Of course, I would have been fired the same day. They take football seriously in Missouri.
“Miz Lisa, Miz Lisa! De Showboat’s docked at the town wharf!” shouted Beauregard as he ran up the path to the old plantation house.