My thoughts in Words
Framing the world through a unique lens to provoke different solutions. "The difficulty... is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish" - R. L. Stevenson
The situation and outcome at the University of Missouri has created quite the dialogue over the last few days. The University leaders did the numbers, and they were not willing to lose money, so the president and others had to resign.
Please note, however, his resignation was not admitting that he ignored the issues on campus, or that the University leaders “truly” admit wrongdoing, it was simply, “ We choose not to lose this money.” Bottom line. Let’s take a step back for a moment – to Montgomery, Alabama, and the bus boycott. This boycott was to protest segregated seating on the buses in Montgomery and took place from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, approximately 381 days. Blacks made up about 75% of the ridership of the buses in Montgomery. The leaders of that time attacked that system by affecting the bottom line. Media did play a part, but no as much as the amount of money that was being lost every day by blacks not riding on the buses.
The issue with boycotts is getting people on one accord. At the University of Missouri, the money is with athletics. The football team had the power and the University knew that. In our current society people are so “me” driven that they are often not willing to inconvenience themselves even for a couple of minutes to solve a bigger problem.
You have terrible cable providers, or you pay too much for Internet? What if you could get everybody to drop cable and get a lesser service for just two months in your city, town or state? You know what would happen? You would probably get whatever you demanded, because they are not willing to lose that kind of money. The next iPhone that is released or Samsung, organize a nation wide boycott to make them go down on the price…if you slump their sales, they will make adjustments because their stocks would start to fall, people would start selling shares…it is all about the money.
This past Wednesday students at Ithaca College staged a walkout, in protest of their president and racial events that students feel were not handled properly. Here is the thing, the whole school can walkout, and nobody in that administration is going to budge. But, if you can affect the bottom-line of the university, those in power will begin to listen. So if Ithaca College does not have a strong sports program that unite with the students, or can get a large donor to the college to side with them it may be hard for them to get the changes they want. Only time will tell.
This will not be the last set of boycotts, walkouts, hunger strikes, etc. These may actually become cyclical. If this was not football season the situation in Missouri may have ended up differently. Now, as we are headed into college basketball season, the power will be with the basketball teams, and then back with the football teams in the fall.
If these students or faculty do not have the support of the money machines of the campus, not much is going to change. But, if a basketball team says they will not play a nationally televised game, against a high ranking opponent…trust me the money that will be lost, is not worth it and the university will come to some compromise to keep from losing the money.
That being said, there may be one (because their always is one) university or college that is willing to lose the money, because they have enough deep pocket alumni who will support their cause of not “yielding to the students.”
Let me wrap this up. Within the US there are a lot of issues boiling on the surface. Some that are getting attention and some that are being ignored. I honestly believe we are still on the upward swing; we have not reached the crest of these issues. As we head into the holidays and into 2016, we will see more issues and concerns hit the fan.
This situation in Missouri is just the tip of the knife; we are going to see more economically focused protests and boycotts. If organized correctly, at least in the near future, it will tip the power scale in favor of the protestors.
The power is in the boycott…and things look like they are going to get messier and perhaps be that way for a bit.
Byron Washington, MPA is a Consultant, Youth Mentor, and Life Coach. He is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University and Princeton University. He currently resides in Shanghai, China with his family. - "Change Without Direction is Chaos"