Missouri State President Finding It Hard To Admit School’s Discrimination Against White Males Was Wrong
After challenge by Equal Protection Project, MSU says “[o]n an ongoing basis, such programs … will not be organized in cohorts on the basis of race, sex, or any other protected class,” but President Clif Smart still asserts “I still don’t think we did anything wrong.
As you may know, the Equal Protection Project (EqualProtect.org) of Legal Insurrection Foundation has challenged a business boot camp program at Missouri State University that excluded white males.
After wide publicity, Missouri state issued statements to the press that future boot camps would be open to everyone. So far, so good.
But what Missouri State gave with one hand in the interest of equal protection, it verbally took away when its Presiden Clif Smart denied that the exclusion of white males was wrong because there were other programs that did not exclude white males. That’s certainly an odd view, that discriminating in a course is not wrong because in other courses there was no discrimination.
Smart was was quoted as saying (emphasis added)
“Frankly, I still don’t think we did anything wrong … given that we have multiple cohorts of this going on and this was just one cohort that was limited. We won’t do that. We’ll do a better job on the marketing and information (and) dissemination side and review the process to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate, but we’re not going to exclude people.”
In a letter to the Missouri Attorney General, which never was copied to EPP and we have not seen, the Missouri State reportedly asserted:
In a response to the AG complaint, Smart sent a letter in late April. It stated, among other things, that the “university denies the allegation that it is, or has been, engaging in illegal discrimination on the basis of race or sex.”
“The efactory offers an Early-State Business Boot Camp Program on an ongoing basis that is open to small businesses irrespective of race, sex, or any other legally protected class,” he wrote.
Smart wrote that in addition to those programs, the university received external funding to offer the spring program in question, which was aimed at helping “women and/or minority-owned small businesses.” ….
“While the spring cohort has now completed the program, the efactory continues to make the Early-Stage Business Boot Camp Program available to additional cohorts of small-business owners — including white small-business owners,” Smart wrote.
“As with the spring cohort, the program continues to be offered at no cost to the small business owner and continues to include the same $3,000 stipend offered to the spring cohort.”
He concluded: “On an ongoing basis, such programs — and all other university programs and initiatives — are not and will not be organized in cohorts on the basis of race, sex, or any other protected class.”
Of course this is not a defense, any more than it would be a defense to speeding to say that you don’t usually speed.
I had a chance to explore this topic in an interview on Newsmax on Thursday, June 15, 2023:
Partial Transcript (auto generated, may contain transcription errors)
Katrina Szish (00:00):
Missouri State University is facing claims of racial discrimination this afternoon, the Equal Protection Project filing a complaint alleging the school barred white male students from taking an eight-week business bootcamp. Now the Early Stage Business Bootcamp was reportedly offered in the spring semester to students who were black, indigenous and persons of color or female.
Bob Sellers (00:23):
Joining us now to discuss why his organization filed the complaint is the founder of the Equal Protection Project, Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson. William, thank you for joining us. Give us more information about this. I mean, on its face, we’re not lawyers here, but certainly that looks like discrimination because if you’re white, you’re not allowed to take it.
Well, this was even narrower. It was white males who were not allowed to take it. Non-white or female, but not a white male. And so that’s a very targeted discrimination. It’s on its face. It’s shocking that a major public university would even do something like this, with all their bureaucracy devoted to fighting discrimination. It was open discrimination. And while they have announced in the future they won’t do it again. The president is unapologetic about it.
Do they have any explanation as to why they did this? Or do they try to explain how they don’t think it’s discriminatory?
Not really, not that I’ve seen. I think the best that we can discern from the public statements by the president is this was one piece of many programs. But it doesn’t matter because there were people who were excluded from this program. It doesn’t matter that your other programs are not discriminatory. This one was. So it’s inexplicable and really shocking that the President of Missouri State said we’re not going do it again, but we do not think we did anything wrong.
Yeah, and what’s interesting is couldn’t they couch this saying, you know, we’re focusing on minorities. Um, but it’s open to anyone, um, that, that gets ’em out of the problem. Right.
Well, depending how they say it, but you’re right. Generally speaking, there is nothing illegal about wanting to encourage minorities to participate. In fact, I think most people agree that’s a good thing. It’s how you do it. You can do it by additional outreach, additional information, a lot of different ways to do it. But the way you can’t do it is saying, we’re going have what amounts to a segregated program and we’re going to exclude people based on their race or their gender.
Well, we are going backwards. It a lot of times they like to call these progressive policies, but they’re actually regressive. They’re taking us back to a time when access to programs, access to facilities, access to public benefits were determined by the color of your skin. And we moved away from that. We’ve been moving away from that for 60 plus years, and we’ve achieved enormous amounts of equality, and they’d want to take us back to a time when the skin, your skin color dominated everything. And that has bled over into our politics, into our news coverage. It seems like now everything is turned into a racial issue when it’s not.
We live in the modern times. We live in 2023, we don’t live in 1953. And so that sort of racial discrimination is not acceptable anywhere, but it’s certainly not acceptable in 2023, regardless of the history of that university.
Do you think there’s anything that can be done to prevent other universities, potentially even other, other schools, other colleges from doing these similar things? Or do you think it’s going to be a situation where things like this keep happening and then someone like you and your organization have to keep identifying it and then running after it?
Well, unfortunately, and the attitude of the President of Missouri State leads me to think that this is something that is not frowned upon. This is not something that’s not viewed as wrong. And if they got caught, they’ll change their ways. So I think we’re going have to keep doing it, and that’s really why we created the Equal Protection Project. And we’ve received a lot of tips. This was a tip we received at our website, which is equalprotect.org. And so I think we’re gonna have to chase this all over the country because it’s become so embedded in our culture, particularly on campuses.
[W]hen you have the President of Missouri State saying, we do not believe we did anything wrong, then I think that’s a problem. And we are calling for a broader investigation of what is going on at Missouri State. Uh, this is not the only program they’ve ever had that is this way. There was a program a number of years before, and I think somebody needs to look at the full breadth of what is going on at Missouri State and are there other programs that we just haven’t received a tip about that are not so obvious on their website where this discrimination is going on. So I think Missouri State needs to be investigated by the US Department of Education, and frankly, I don’t know where the state leaders haven’t spoken up about this university.
All right. Well, William Jacobson, um, I’m sure that many people are happy that you are speaking up, and we really appreciate your insight….DONATE
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