William E. Cooper has left the presidency of the University of Richmond among mounting criticism over his conduct, specifically over a comment he made in October.
"The remark that set off the furor came in a 'state of the university' address in which he talked about the need to recruit talented students. “The entering quality of our student body needs to be much higher if we are going to transform bright minds into great achievers instead of transforming mush into mush,” Cooper said."
So, instead of debating whether or not that is indeed the situation at Richmond (quite likely. It was thought to be when I was an undergrad at W&M down the street), a group of alumni started a campaign to get Cooper fired, which worked. The horrible simple-mindedness of the campaign, which would seem to prove Cooper's point, could be easily mistaken for righteous willfulness, if it wasn't aimed at piling on and taking him down, those highest of aspirations for this generation. Better to drag the other lobsters back into the pot than try to climb out yourself.
"Much of the criticism extended beyond “mush” alone to broader questions about Richmond’s mission. Cooper pushed for tougher admissions standards, higher tuition, a more national student body, and a shift to an athletic conference where sports scholarships are not awarded. These ideas appealed to some faculty members and alumni, and Cooper was able to point to progress both in fund raising and in academics. Last year, for the first time in 50 years, a Richmond student was named a Rhodes Scholar. But Cooper’s ambitions upset many others..."
The widespread resistance against being held to any sort of standard is just incredible, isn't it?