Category Archives: PC on Campus

You Can Send Kid to College, But You Can’t Make Him Think

After trying to learn more this weekend about the folks involved in the Million Student March student group, I learned you can send a kid to college, but you can’t make him think.

The decision to learn more about these young people came to me early Saturday morning while putting together my latest weekly recap which included a mention of a now-famous video of Neil Cavuto’s recent Fox Business interview of Keely Mullen, a young female college student identified as the national organizer of the Million Student March. Based upon her interview performance, I concluded she could not have been “the brains” behind the student group and decided to find out who else is at the heart of the misguided movement.

I started by visiting the ICANN WHOIS website where one can find details about who is responsible for a domain name or an IP address. There, I typed in the domain name for the group’s website (which I will not share because that’s my prerogative as owner of this website). Next, I filled in a Captcha blank and clicked on the “LOOKUP” button. Milliseconds later, I was shocked to find the personal information (i.e., phone number, physical address and email address) of the person who had registered the domain (which I will not share for the same reason).

After grabbing a few screenshots of the personal information, I concluded that I had two options:

1) I could expose this person’s personal information for all the world — including individuals previously unaware of the ICANN WHOIS website as well as potentially-violent folks on the opposite side of the philosophical arena — to see; or

2) I could use the person’s phone number to contact him and advise him to purchase private registration immediately. Why? So that he might avoid being found by the aforementioned “potentially-violent folks” who might wish to do him harm because they disagree with his political philosophy.

MY DECISION

Perhaps, because I can’t shake my fatherly instincts (I’ve put one son through college while a second is in college and a third is in the pipeline), I chose Option #2. Before exercising that option, however, I decided to learn more about this person and found the following:

• This person is co-founder with Mullen of the student activism group; he has given interviews to numerous national media outlets; and he has written at least one pro-communism article for at least one socialist online publication;

• This person is a third-year student at a very expensive and well-known university in New England;

• This person is under 21 years of age; and

• In addition to being a co-founder with Mullen, this person teamed up with her to create both the group’s website and the group’s Facebook page (links to which I will not share) as tools to call students nationwide to action.

THE CALL

I dialed this young person’s phone number at 12:48 p.m. Central Saturday afternoon, careful to block my own phone number from appearing in his Caller ID. After all, I didn’t know whether or not he was a genuine nut job or simply a misguided college student. After a technical glitch surfaced during the first attempt, he answered the second time I called and our brief conversation began.

I told him I was an investigative reporter who, while insisting on remaining anonymous, had something important to share with him. Having gotten his attention, I continued by telling him I wholeheartedly disagree with the philosophy embodied in the Million Student March, but felt obligated to offer some advice that might prevent him from enduring bodily harm.

My advice came out something like this: “You need to obtain private registration for your domain so that your personal information is not be visible on the ICANN WHOIS website for anyone, including those who might wish to do you harm, to find.”

I could sense he was paying very close attention while still a bit confused.

To emphasize how important it was for him to complete the recommended task, I reminded him I had reached him by dialing the very phone number listed on the ICANN WHOIS website. I hammered home my point by reading out loud to him the rest of his personal information I had found online, including his email address and a physical address — which I assume belongs to his parents or another relative in a state not too far away from where he attends school.

When he told me he had, indeed, received several threats as a result of his newfound notoriety, I recommended he move — at least until the situation settled down a bit — in case someone who didn’t have his best interests in mind had also found his personal information online.

Our short conversation ended with him thanking me. And that, I think, is the difference between a conservative and a socialist. A true conservative is willing to help safeguard the life of a young, impressionable and naive college student even if that student is pushing a political agenda that makes no sense whatsoever. But, per the headline above, the story does not end there.

When I finished writing my first version of this piece, it included his name, exact age, the university he attends and the domain for his group’s website, but it did not include his phone number or addresses — email and physical, that is. I planned to publish the piece Saturday afternoon after I was able to confirm this young person had taken my advice.

When I checked the ICANN WHOIS website Saturday at 2 p.m., the information was still visible on the site, indicating this young person had still not taken action to protect it.

When I checked later that night, nothing had changed.

Same thing Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Same thing Monday morning.

It seems as if this young person — half of the “brain trust” responsible for launching a student movement purported to be national in scope — doesn’t care whether or not his personal information is available to be found by anyone familiar with the ICANN WHOIS website.

Fully realizing it won’t take anyone long to figure out who this kid is, I feel as if I’ve done as much as I can to give him a chance. And now you understand the inspiration for the headline, atop this article.

UPDATE 11/17/2015 at 8:55 a.m. Central: As of two minutes ago, he still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info. smh

UPDATE 11/19/2015 at 8:15 a.m. Central: He still hasn’t acted to protect his personal info.

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Someone Else at Mizzou Should Resign or Be Fired ASAP

One day after the resignations of Timothy M. Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, and R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the system’s flagship campus in Columbia, I realized one more academic affiliated with the state’s largest university should resign or be fired immediately. Her name is Dr. Melissa Click.

An assistant professor of mass media who earned her doctorate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2009, Dr. Click is living out her “15 minutes of fame” in large part thanks to the video (above).

Throughout most of the video’s six and one-half minutes, Dr. Click doesn’t appear in the frame, but her voice can be heard clearly over others in the vicinity of Tim Tai, a Mizzou student and freelance journalist working for ESPN. Repeatedly, Dr. Click demands Tai leave the area student protesters (a.k.a., “Concerned Students 1950”) had designated as a so-called “safe zone” for the purpose of waging protests, sans journalists, against alleged racial inequalities on campus.

Only during the final 20 seconds of the video does Dr. Click finally appear, seeming almost apoplectic. A bespectacled redhead dressed in black, she again demands Tai leave the area. When he refuses, she turns away from him and shouts toward a crowd of students a short distance away: “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here. I need some muscle over here.”

Dr. Melissa Click

Dr. Melissa Click

Clearly, the actions of Dr. Click show she has failed to “click” — pun intended — with important elements of our freedom, such as the First Amendment of the Constitution. Likewise, this academic loose cannon’s actions — aimed at preventing a journalist from doing his job — reflect poorly upon the UM School of Journalism — one of the top journalism schools in the country, by the way — where she is listed as a faculty member. See update below!

As a result, I hope she takes my advice and resigns before returning to Amherst where, perhaps, she can work on furthering her education. According to her curriculum vitae on this page, her first doctoral dissertation was titled, “It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.”

I will not, however, hold my breath in anticipation of either her resignation or firing, because I doubt either will happen as “higher education” seems an oxymoron at Mizzou (a.k.a., “Ferguson West”).

UPDATE 11/10/2015 at 2:22 p.m. Central: It appears as if the folks at Mizzou might be listening to me. Sort of. According to a new article in the Columbia Missourian, Missouri School of Journalism faculty were voting today to revoke a courtesy appointment for Dr. Click that allows her to serve on the graduate committees of students from the School of Journalism while she teaches mass media in the Department of Communications, part of MU’s College of Arts & Science. Kind of confusing, but it’s a start. The fact she’s not a faculty member of the J-School restores my confidence in that school just a tiny bit.

UPDATE 11/11/2015 at 4:54 p.m. Central: Dr. Click resigned her “courtesy appointment” today and apologized. Sort. of. Details. In other news, today was Transgender Remembrance Day at Mizzou.

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