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March 6 2017

Braced for Protests

by Charlotte Hays

The Addison (Vermont) Independent reports (via the Washington Post):

Middlebury College Professor Allison Stanger was injured by protesters Thursday evening as she was escorting a controversial speaker from campus. She was treated at Porter Hospital and released. …

As Stanger, [Charles] Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center last evening following [Murray’s speech] they were “physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors,” according to Bill Burger, the college’s vice president for communications and marketing.

Burger said college public safety officers managed to get Stanger and Murray into the administrator’s car.

“The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus,” he said. “At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus.

The New York Times reported:

When Mr. Murray rose to speak, he was shouted down by most of the more than 400 students packed into the room, several witnesses said. Many turned their backs to him and chanted slogans like “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray go away!”

After almost 20 minutes, it was clear that he would not be able to give his speech, said Mr. Burger, the [college] spokesman. Anticipating that such an outcry might happen, Mr. Murray was moved to a separate room equipped with a video camera so that Allison Stanger, a Middlebury professor of international politics and economics, could interview him over a live stream. Mr. Burger said the administration felt strongly that Mr. Murray’s right to free speech should be protected and that “no one should have the heckler’s veto.”

Once the interview began in the second room, protesters swarmed into the hallway, chanting and pulling fire alarms. Still, the interview was completed and officials, including Ms. Stanger, escorted Mr. Murray out the back of the building.

There, several masked protesters, who were believed to be outside agitators, began pushing and shoving Mr. Murray and Ms. Stanger, Mr. Burger said. “Someone grabbed Allison’s hair and twisted her neck,” he said.

After the two got into a car, Mr. Burger said, protesters pounded on it, rocked it back and forth, and jumped onto the hood. Ms. Stanger later went to a hospital, where she was put in a neck brace.

Tucker Carlson interviewed Carolyn Rouse, a Princeton professor who previously protested having Murray on that campus--and it was clear that Rouse hadn't the foggiest what she was protesting or what Murray has written. It was depressing or funny, take your pick.

Under questioning, Professor Rouse said that she had read Murray's Losing Ground, which she contended is about how black people are "culturally dysfunctional" and have "behaviors incompatible with democracy and capitalism."

That is not remotely the thesis of the book. Losing Ground, as its subtitle ("American Social Policy, 1950-1980") hints, is about the failure of social programs and it is key document in any discussion of welfare reform.

Murray's book Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (coauthored with the late Richard Herrnstein) presents a (to me) abstruse idea of how I.Q. is spread in society (the Bell Curve) and how this affects class structure, a preoccupation of Murray. It was controversial when it came out and disturbing to many people (including me), but it doesn't mark Murray as a racist. Professor Rouse did not deal cogently with it, to say the least.

Professor Rouse said that at Princeton Murray was not shouted down but that she simply led a walk-out when he tried to speak. And no one was injured!

Princeton set a low bar for Middlebury, but Middlebury, which costs $61,000 a year, according to Carlson, could not even meet that level of civility. I am wondering if anybody has considered the real reason iconoclastic speakers get shouted down instead of being debated: there is nobody on these fancy college campuses capable of engaging these speakers in the arena of ideas and facts? Alternate theory: there are people on campus capable of such debate but they do not care to risk bodily harm.

Michael Strain has a good piece on the disgrace at Middlebury on NRO. Strain links to Murray's account of the event.

 

 

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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