The Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors had no idea when scheduling its annual “retreat “that it would end with one governor resigning and the others in full retreat.
And it all started because of a comment about the school mascot, the lion. Board member David Ansley, during a presentation by the athletic director about the school’s logo said, “We went from the fag lion to the ferocious lion.”
One of the dangers of these so-called “retreats,” is they encourage a level of informality that is not usually seen in regular meetings and sometimes that brings out the worst in officials.
And not just Ansley. The Joplin Globe reports that immediately after Ansley’s use of the slur against homosexuals:
Board President Rod Anderson looked at reporters who were covering the panel’s retreat meeting on Saturday at the university and said, “That’s off the record.”
The Globe article says two other board members, Charles McGinty and Sherry Buchanan, said the comment should not be printed.
If Globe reporter Greg Grisolano had any doubts about whether he should run the quote, those pleadings should have settled the matter. My old publisher at The Carthage Press, Jim Farley had a hard and fast rule- “If someone asks us not to run something, we put it one page one.” Especially when it is news.
And that is exactly what the Joplin Globe did. Earlier today, Ansley, who apologized for his statement before the retreat had concluded, resigned from the Board of Governors.
Ansley, a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney from Springfield, Missouri, made the right decision, one that was probably made easier by the fact that his term has already ended and he is only serving until Gov. Jay Nixon appoints a successor.
Of course, the outcries came immediately in the comment section of the Joplin Globe. Ansley was a victim of “political correctness,” one person after another said, with many adding their own anti-gay slurs, some of them apparently intending to be clever, but falling far short of the mark.
No, David Ansley was not a victim of political correctness, any more than George Allen was a victim of political correctness when he called an opposition campaign volunteer a macaca.
Our institutions of higher learning should set the example for today’s society. We no longer tolerate slurs of any kind. That is not political correctness; that is simple civility.