COMMENTARY By Guy Page
Last Wednesday, Marxist and two-party system opponent Angela Davis was an honored featured speaker at Middlebury College. Hundreds attended via zoom. In February, another large, peaceful, approving crowd gathered at the Addison County private liberal arts college to hear anti-Founder, anti-Constitution 1619 Project editor and socialist Nikole Hannah-Jones bash Vermont and America as historically violent and racist.
Contrast the academic bouquets strewn before these two with the college’s rough treatment of author Charles Murray, as described on the college website:
“Charles Murray, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was scheduled to speak at the College on March 2, 2017, by invitation of the student American Enterprise Institute Club. A crowd of more than 400, most of them students, filled Wilson Hall in McCullough Student Center. Many carried signs.
“When protestors disrupted the talk with 20 minutes of loud chanting, Murray and Middlebury College Professor Allison Stanger, who was to moderate the Q & A, moved to a video studio that had been set up for the occasion so that Murray could give his talk with questions to follow by Stanger.
“Following the conclusion of the talk, as Murray and Stanger walked to a waiting car, they were surrounded by protesters, who tried to block their path. Professor Stanger was injured during the encounter and required medical treatment for a concussion.”
Left out is Stanger’s report that she was injured while shielding Murray, who was about to be pushed to the ground.
Nice bastion of freedom, tolerance and diversity you got there, Middlebury. To be fair, college officials “sanctioned” some students for their role in the Murray episode. But no criminal charges were filed. The Vermont press and Legislature were spectacularly uninterested in any communal ‘mea culpa,’ declining to either report or vote on a proffered House resolution condemning the harsh treatment of Murray.
There were no signs saying “I am Charlie Murray.”
What’s worse, Middlebury College remained unwilling to defend free speech and academic freedom. In April 2019 it caved to threats and cancelled the scheduled lecture by world-renowned Polish diplomat Rysgard Legutko, saying: “In the interest of ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff and community members, the lecture by Ryszard Legutko scheduled for later today will not take place. The decision was not taken lightly. It was based on an assessment of our ability to respond effectively to potential security and safety risks for both the lecture and the event students had planned in response.”
“In the interests of safety.” It seems the Antifa wannabes had threatened to do unto Legutko what they had done to Murray. Rather than enforce its own anti-harrassment policy for speakers, Middlebury College punished Legutko and the Alexander Hamilton Forum that had invited him.
This isn’t just ancient history. This is Vermont’s future if the party that ignored the violence done by BLM and Antifa in U.S. cities this summer comes to power in tomorrow’s election.
Think “it couldn’t happen here?” It already has. The current administration has threatened to withhold federal funding from universities that fail to fully observe the First Amendment within its confines. If Harris, Biden, and AOC are running the show, the only political or cultural speech defended in Washington will be theirs.