Prominent Fox News host Tucker Carlson and conservative pundit and podcaster Michael Knowles lambasted UMKC in a television segment last Friday. The two were expressing their ire over protests against Knowles during his speech on campus last Thursday. During the event, one protestor, who was subsequently arrested, sprayed a combination of non-toxic household chemicals at Knowles.
Knowles was unharmed.
Knowles, venting his anger at UMKC, minced no words.
“Chancellor Agrawal is a disgrace to higher education. I woke up this morning expecting an apology… Instead I was smeared baselessly as a bigot,” Knowles said, referring to a statement by the chancellor which said Knowles’ opinions, “…do not align with [the school’s] commitment to diversity and inclusion and our goal of providing a welcoming environment to all people.”
Knowles had few kind words for the UMKC student body as well, saying they had been let down by parents who “raised them without manners” and by educators who “gave them no education.”
Carlson proposed a drastic solution.
“It is a publicly funded university that takes tax dollars, our tax dollars, and we don’t say anything about it,” he said. “We should shut it down immediately.”
Though he made his opinion of UMKC clear, Carlson had kinder words for Knowles, who is a regular Fox News contributor.
“I mean, you are basically taking the Galileo position here,” said Carlson, comparing Knowles to the famous 17th-century scientist. “You’re arguing for science in the face of a hysterical mob who wants to hurt you for saying it.”
Knowles agreed, calling UMKC students an intolerant group that would resort to bullying and violence to shut down any dissenting opinions.
“Places like this are wrecking our country; we should shut it down,” Carlson reiterated.
Luckily for current UMKC students and staff, it is highly unlikely the university will shut down at any point in the near future.
Carlson, Knowles and the Fox News channel do not stand alone in their criticism of UMKC. Many conservatives, from online commenters to outlets such as The Daily Wire, are pointing to Thursday’s events as evidence of a concerted effort by liberal college students to intimidate and oppress opposing viewpoints.
“This was a warning shot to conservatives,” claimed Knowles. “If you don’t kowtow to leftist orthodoxy you will be bullied.”
However, others say this portrayal of UMKC students as an angry mob enabled by a malicious university administration is inconsistent with the actual course of events on Thursday.
Students point to the fact that only one protester was arrested for assaulting Knowles and was subsequently disavowed in the statement by Agrawal. Other student protesters had staged a peaceful walkout during Knowles’ speech, making no violent actions.
Nonetheless, the arrested individual’s actions have been taken to reflect the attitudes of the entire student body at UMKC and other colleges around the country.
Many commentators online have echoed Carlson’s sentiments, calling for UMKC, as well as other public educational institutions, to be defunded or shut down entirely.
Though a total shutdown is off the table, it is predicted that the Thursday incident will lead to changes in UMKC policies regarding student groups and campus events.
The permanent effects the arrested protester’s actions will have on UMKC’s reputation remain to be seen.