It's been almost two years since radical student activists at the University of Missouri cast their campus into chaos, staging melodramatic protests that lead to the resignation of their president and chancellor and made national news for weeks. But the real legacy of these protests appears to be a dramatic dip in enrollment and consequential staffing cuts at Mizzou, a pattern even the school itself concedes can be traced back to the turmoil of 2015.
In a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Jillian Melchior charted the school's decline:
As classes begin this week, freshmen enrollment is down 35% since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students, to 33,200. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service.
This steep dip in enrollment, Melchior notes, has lead the school to make significant staffing cuts. "The plummeting support has also cost jobs," she wrote. "In May, Mizzou announced it would lay off as many as 100 people and eliminate 300 more positions through retirement and attrition. Last year the university reduced its library staff and cut 50 cleaning and maintenance jobs."
The spotlight these misguided students invited onto their campus ended up laying bare the school's sympathy and support for radicalism, something many taxpayers suspect but never see in full bloom. Given other options, students don't want to be educated in that environment, nor do their parents want to fund it.
Thus, Mizzou's cadre of amateur activists cost at least dozens of cleaners and maintenance workers their jobs. Those aspiring champions of progressive values set in motion a process that had serious consequences for working class members of their community with families to feed and bills to pay. How's that for intersectionality?
Meanwhile, don't forget the protests' most prominent organizer, Jonathan Butler, was the son of a wealthy railroad executive who raked in $8.4 million the year before Mizzou descended into turmoil.
While the Mizzou student protesters were zealously engaging in the theater of extravagant activism, the people who would suffer real consequences were the workers who cleaned up after their rallies.
Was it worth it?
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.