Image 01 Image 03

Which was worse: Middlebury 9/11 flag-grabbing or Oberlin racism hoax? (Reader Poll)

Which was worse: Middlebury 9/11 flag-grabbing or Oberlin racism hoax? (Reader Poll)

(Reader Poll at bottom of post.)

The Oberlin racism hoax was pretty bad.  Two liberal students had the campus and the nation believing the campus was stalked by the KKK and neo-Nazis, and the Oberlin administration played along and never told anyone it was a “trolling” exercise to get a reaction.

But it was a different sort of bad compared to what happened at Middlebury College in Vermont.  (Reader Poll at bottom of post.)

I attended Middlebury’s Russian Language School in the summers during college, and went on Middlebury’s program in Moscow for a semester.  Back in the day, Middlebury was considered a fairly traditional, non-nonsense academic institution.  But as with my alma mater Hamilton College, that was then and this is now.

We reported this at College Insurrection, Middlebury College Student Destroys 9/11 Memorial.

(Flags being removed at Middlebury College on 9-11-2013)

(Flags being removed at Middlebury College on 9-11-2013)

Here’s the short version of the story, via MiddBeat blog, Flags commemorating 9/11 taken down as political statement:

ORIGINAL: At around 2:45PM this afternoon a group of people took down the American flags placed in front of Mead Chapel by the College Republicans and Democrats (Updated 8:45PM) to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Four women and one man piled them into garbage bags and took them away….

UPDATE (9/11/13 11:44PM): Anna Shireman-Grabowski ’15.5 has come forward to confirm her involvement in disposing of the American flags and that she is the person kneeling in the picture. She also said that the other individuals were “non-Middlebury students.” In a written statement she wrote [full statement at the link]:

My intention was not to cause pain but to visibilize [sic] the necessity of honoring all human life and to help a friend heal from the violence of genocide that she carries with her on a daily basis as an indigenous person. While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder. As a settler on stolen land, I do not have the luxury of grieving without an eye to power. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism.

The emails filling my inbox indicate that this was not a productive way to start a dialogue about American imperialism. Nor did I imagine that it would be. Please understand that I am grappling with my complicity in the overwhelming legacy of settler colonialism. Part of this process for me is honoring the feelings and wishes of people who find themselves on the other side of this history….

Today I chose to act in solidarity with my friend, an Indigenous woman and a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy who was appalled to see the burial grounds of another Indigenous nation desecrated by piercing the ground that their remains lay beneath. I understand that this action is confusing and painful for many in my community. I don’t pretend to know if every action I take is right or justified—this process is multi-layered and nuanced. I do know that colonialism has been—and continues to be—a real and destructive force in the world that we live in. And for me, to honor life is to support those who struggle against it.

UPDATE (9/12/13 10:50AM): President Ronald D. Liebowitz has addressed the matter in an all-school email. He says he was ”deeply disturbed by the insensitivity” of “this selfish act of protest” and that “[t]he College has begun a disciplinary investigation of this incident.”

The “friend” with whom she was acting in solidarity, Amanda Lickers, issued her own statement on a website called Climate Connections.  It reads in part (all lower case in original):

yesterday i went to occupied abenaki territory. i was invited to middlebury college to facilitate a workshop on settler responsibility and decolonization. i walked across this campus whose stone wall structures weigh heavy on the landscape. the history of eugenics, genocide and colonial violence permeate that space so fully like a ghost everywhere descending. it was my understanding that this site is occupying an abenaki burial ground; a sacred site.

walking through the campus i saw thousands of small american flags. tho my natural disdain for the occupying colonial state came to surface, in the quickest moment of decision making, in my heart, i understood that lands where our dead lay must not be desecrated. in my community, we do not pierce the earth. it disturbs the spirits there, it is important for me to respect their presence, their want for rest.

my heart swelled and i knew in my core that thousands of american flags should not penetrate the earth where my abenaki brothers and sisters sleep. we have all survived so much – and as a visitor on their territories i took action to respect them and began pulling up all of the flags.

HuffPo notes that this is the first time anyone has claimed that the yard at Middlebury supposedly is a Native American burial ground:

That said, Middlebury does not seem to have proof that the memorial had been placed on top of a burial site.

“It has never before been suggested that this is a Native American burial ground,” Sarah Ray, the school’s director of public affairs, told The Huffington Post via email.

Ms. Shireman-Grabowski is no stranger to protest, having been a leader in a fight against a natural gas pipeline in Vermont:

Anna Shireman-Grabowski

Which was worse, the Oberlin racism hoax, or the Middlebury flag-grabbing?

Poll open until Midnight (Eastern) on Saturday, September 14:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Oberlin was worse because it involved official misconduct. Middlebury involved four individual dumbasses.

    Anchovy in reply to myiq2xu. | September 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The Oberlin officials may also qualify as dumbasses. However, I agree…. official dumbasses are a more serious problem than unofficial dumbasses.

      I would say tat both incidents are equally disturbing. But the Official sanction of such behavior is the ultimate disturbing meme here. The use of the hoax to inflict new rules on “tolerance and behavior” is thus the worst. Since that falls under the purview of the hoax, that gets my vote.

Oberlin administration is still in denial and Middlebury administration has recognized that the flag grabbing was seriously over the line.

Your poll is a tough one. A choice between bad or worse.

That said, I would have to pick Oberlin as worse. As noted not only was the school involved but it was weeks before any sort of explanation or (smarmy, faux) apology was issued. In the Middlebury incident, the people involved were quickly identified, issued their (smarmy, faux) explanations/apologies and the school appears to be on the side of decency as far as consequences for the student(s) involved.

    I voted Oberlin for essentially the same reasons. The other was just an act of ridiculous vandalism by some idiotic individuals.

Oberlin because of the involvement of the Administration and the pernicious use of race to reinforce division.

This is a “which is worse, cholera or dysentery?” sort of question.

Oberlin was a one-shot, in that I wouldn’t expect the perps, now that they’ve had their fun, to continue their pranks. The worst thing they’ll do for the rest of their lives will be continuing to vote Socialist.

Middlebury, though, is the work of a malevolent dwarf who has found an artificial excuse for her depredations. It isn’t even HER excuse; she had to take on somebody else’s. How convenient. The Indian friend is just a loon who can be trusted to suffer her bizarre paranoia in peace. But the actual perp is the sort of person who will find it very easy in future to escalate her perversions, to the point of – oh, I don’t know, maybe releasing poison gases in subways. Maybe setting fire to historical buildings, preferably occupied by oppressive conqueror types. Poisoning reservoirs. Whatever, just so long as it can be called a political statement. Unless severe action is taken, she will remain a menace, in her small way, to civilization.

Would her ‘friend’ happen to be this loony activist from Canada?

Amanda Lickers

Amanda Lickers is a queer, cis, Seneca Haudenosaunee woman and organizer. As a member of the turtle clan of the Onondowaga nation, she uses her experiences as an indigenous woman to speak about bio-centrism as anti-oppression, and how earth liberation is about intergenerational healing – honoring ancestors who have come before us, and those who are yet to come.

    Anchovy in reply to Joy. | September 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    My favorite ancestors are those that are yet to come.

    Does one not take them flowers on memorial day?

    L.N. Smithee in reply to Joy. | September 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    That’s the one! Here’s more footage of the reflexively profane Ms. Lickers defining the cause of “decolonization”:

    You can also find Ms. Lickers with a red dye job swearing up a storm in a violent protest outside a University of Toronto conference held by advocates of men’s rights. Not making it up. (Language warning)

    rantbot in reply to Joy. | September 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    What is an Onondowaga? As a “nation” presumably they were numerous enough to leave a historical footprint. Or maybe it’s one of those Symbionese Liberation Army things, well-known only to themselves.

    My interest is that some (many? most?) tribes and nations were notorious in the colonial period for their remarkable devotion to pain and suffering. The opportunity to capture harmless farmers and their families and torture them to death was the big selling point used by both French and British officers to recruit Indian allies during the French and Indian War and (by Britain alone) the Revolution. Alcohol and gunpowder were good trade goods, too, but captives were the best, bringing in recruits from as far as the Dakotas. This culture was eventually destroyed by smallpox and American firepower, and most of us are better off for that.

      rantbot in reply to rantbot. | September 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Hmmm. Onondowaga is apparently semi-synonomous with the Onondaga, Seneca and maybe Mingos. Big on torture, though they don’t talk about it much nowadays.

      I wondered about that too because I couldn’t find any connection to the ‘First Nation’ tribes in Canada.

      It’s what the Seneca Nation in Western N.Y. call themselves in their native language.

      Anchovy in reply to rantbot. | September 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      What the ever lovely and delightfully named Amanda Lickers fails to realize is that prior to the invasion of the evil white man, most of the other tribes viewed her tribe as, in the best case, a source of slaves and, in the worst case, a source of protein.

PersonFromPorlock | September 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Those who do not wish to cause pain don’t use non-words (or even words) like “visibilize.”

legacyrepublican | September 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

For whatever reason the two women acted at Middlebury, they acted alone.

Oberlin is using fabricated events to justify their becoming thought police with harsh penalties to those who oppose them and to enforce re-education for those who surrender.

I vote Present. If I do that about a hundred times I can be President of the United States!

Snark aside, the Oberlin incident was by far the worst. The Oberlin administration was involved and exploited it for political gain. The “noble lie” — something straight out of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union — is a practice that is common on the far Left.

Middlebury seems worse for the simple reason that you can read their justifications. It leaves no room for benefit of the doubt. It’s mind boggling to see what the academy pushes.

MouseTheLuckyDog | September 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Before I vote, I have a question is Middlebury pressing charges?

Not one patriot.

I don’t know what 9/11 represents to you. But many Americans have learned how the saud’s snookered Dubya into two wars, which we’ve lost.

Then, more recently, we sent Tomahawks into Libya, this time killing Gaddafi. And, each Tomahawk enriches the industry that sells them, by two-million dollars.

Kids? Same types of teenagers we’ve always had. Maybe, a bit more sexually savvy? Hard to say. Given that teenagers used to be married off. And, they’d start having kids. As long as the couple had sex, they’d have a kid a year.

This “issue” bloomed over at the Supreme Court, back in the early 1950’s. On a case that dealt with condoms. Condoms were once hidden away by pharmacists. Unlike, today, where you can buy them at the supermarket. The blue noses lost that Connecticut case back in the early 1950’s.

These days we’ve got thieves and liars representing us. Bought and paid for by “big money” …

Today, Dianne Feinstink decided the Congress should add an ammendment to our Constitution that lets the Department of Justice “define” what a journalist is.

Drudge posted this as a headline. In red. He points out he doesn’t meet Feinstink’s definition of being a journalist.

Given how much of a Constitution has been ripped up, why not go for the remaining end pieces? The powers in charge hate the people.

And, it costs too much to run as a candidate. Besides, if you wanted to run? Do you know how much money you need for lawyers? There’s special paperwork that requires millions of dollars to lawyers, so that you’re in “compliance.”

Still, here, the professor thinks he can insult what kids do. Race baiting at its finest.

Once, when families was large in size, it was hard to stay a teenager. Life pushed you into adulthood.

Today’s lawyers, however, are still all children.

    L.N. Smithee in reply to Carol Herman. | September 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Oh, brother.

    1. Tomahawks didn’t kill Gaddafi, rebels tracked him down and slaughtered him. Some video footage suggests he was sodomized with a knife. You obviously didn’t know that, because once you know it, you can never forget it. No, I won’t link the video. Google it.

    2. Not sure what you mean by “race baiting at its finest.” Which professor do you believe is “race baiting”? If you mean Dr. Jacobson, you’re full of it.

      “No, I won’t link the video.”

      Even in the Internet age, a little class is always appropriate, and sometimes even recognized. Thank you.

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to L.N. Smithee. | September 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Foreign powers attacked his convoy then field agents directed the local militia to the scene. We never saw everyone in the crowd .

      Hillary seemed particularly pleased. Then the demons took over& she hit the bottle into meltdown.

      She is like a serial killer – first the thrill then the letdown for which she must kill again & again.

      Watch out!

    Not one Patriot?

    Carol, you continually display an astounding lack of coherence in your logic.

    Usually, you start well, and the devolve into incoherence, but this time you start up right off the bat.

    If, because the vandals disturbed a 9/11 display, makes you want to run a tangential diatribe about W’s “snookering” by the Saudis and Supreme court decisions of the 1950’s, resulting in “Big Money” thieves and liars in congress, then perhaps you should really take a look at some basic critical thinking texts, and learn how to argue persuasively?

    This thread is discussing which event should be considered worse, a hoax perpetrated by students and perpetuated by a college administration.


    A couple of vandals defacing a 9/11 memorial using laughable reasons to justify their criminal behavior.

    Care to comment on either of these choices?

      Carol Herman in reply to Paul. | September 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm


      Up to hijinks. They’ll grow out of it.

      I’ll bet there are law professors who have figured out the harms that have been done to our US Constitution. But they can’t talk up, or they’ll get buried by their academic cohorts.

      Ed Snowden spilled the beans.

      Yes. The N.S.A. has been handing details over on individuals on information that came together through data mining. No warrants. Plus, a “secret court.” Imagine getting gagged, and you’re not even allowed to discuss anything with your attorney.

      That’s pretty serious stuff.

        NeoConScum in reply to Carol Herman. | September 14, 2013 at 8:37 am

        Paul: “Coherence” and “LOGIC” for poor Carol rank right up there with her Critical(COUGH!!)Thinking.

        Allow me a small poem illustrating:

        Roses are red,
        Violets are blue,
        It’s raining outside,
        I have a lawnmower.

I sure hope the taxpayers are not paying for this disgusting woman’s ‘education’.

President Liebowitz should just expel her (unless what they really want is another 15 minutes of fame). Or President Liebowitz could order her to put the flags back, wouldn’t you love to see that on her Facebook page..

I’m not participating in the poll since both instances should result in the expulsion of the idiots involved. As for these ignorant and idiological female twits, if they want back in to the university next semester then they should be forced to volunteer in their local VA hospital………And if I were their parents, well, lets just say they wouldn’t have been pulling that stupid crap……..

My intention was not to cause pain but to visibilize [sic]..

No, your intention was to make yourself the center of attention, but in a manner that wouldn’t go against your useful idiot indoctrination. Which is why you didn’t hold a protest in memory of Native American genocide against other Native Americans, or the Cherokee nation’s late disowning of the descendents of their black slaves, or the mass murder Turkish Muslims visited upon the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Christians, which gave us the term “genocide”, or the ongoing terrorizing and murder of Buddhists by Muslims in Indochina, or the millions upon millions of victims of Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, or other great Marxist leaders and the socialist states they led.

You did the safe thing, the easy thing, the thing that you knew wouldn’t be frowned upon by your professors or your similarly vacuous and deluded peers, the thing that wouldn’t cause you any worry about anyone declaring a fatwa upon your head: You spat on the dead, but only the dead of a culture which enshrines freedom of expression, and which frowns upon killing people out of hand. A society, in other words, that unlike all those others you could have protested, you knew would let you live.

I could swear I have seen this story before.

A despicable act that could be construed as making a statement on one hand versus an orchestrated effort to manipulate and define acceptable speech on the other hand. Oberlin wins the bottom of the barrel…for today. I’m sure someone will replace them by tomorrow morning.

I wish her lily white ass was dropped in Afghanistan. Maybe she would come home respecting the rights of others just a little more.

    NeoConScum in reply to dacama. | September 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    May I suggest specifically a Taliban women’s stoning pit?

    AAaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…Such pinheads they are. Such moral slime they spout. The clarity of a pile of al-Queda dung.

Well, the liberal arts educators are doing a bang-up job, I see. Pure, raw, rudderless, inane emotional drivel.

9thDistrictNeighbor | September 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Bubble dwelling liberal arts fools: one set following in the fine footsteps of Tawana Brawley, and the second pair desecrating a memorial to three thousand souls who were murdered by people who don’t want them to feel the sun on their faces.

Oberlin was bad for all the reasons outlined by the other commenters.

Pulling the flags out of the ground was spitting on the graves of the people who died on 9/11.

I vote Middlebury.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm

If I were writing a novel about a politico psycho killer I would have her starting out in public life like this . Then I would have her being a lesbian man hater but marrying a clever but charming manipulator . Then the bodies pile up as they rise to the top of society .

What a better & more credible opening chapter ? Torturing puppies is out – pulling up 2995 memorial sticks has everything.

I voted Middlebury because these idiots posted statements that said the citizens of the US are usurpers and have stolen this country from the indians. Technically this is true but what is the use of even talking about it? We are not going to give it back. They just want reparations. Money is usually what everything boils down to. I resent these two basically saying all this while enjoying the freebies this country gives them. These supposedly educated twits don’t seem to realize that history is full of conquering armies taking over other people’s lands. Look at Engand. Also, it would be impossible to return the land to the “original settlers” because they are probably extinct if we even knew who they were. The history of this country’s fights with indians is pretty gross on both sides but the blame game is moot.

A sick, sick generation of young people has been produced. We’ll have our hands full with these bozos.

We need to show them just what push-back is.

I wonder if, for the sake of argument, she would remove a bunch of Palestine Liberation Organization flags if they were in her front yard, or Hizbullah flags, or People’s Republic of China flags, or Soviet flags?

I suspect we already know the answer.

Cliché filled dogmatic left-wing rhetoric followed by consequence free law-breaking can sometimes be a cover for serious mental illness.

The Other Andrew B | September 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm

So, let me see if I understand correctly–a member of the Seneca tribe is terribly offended by the “desecration” of an ancient “burial ground” of the Abenaki…her tribes’ hated enemies.

The Seneca, of the Iroquois Confederacy, frequently made war on the Algonkian-speaking Abenaki. In fact, captive from other tribes would be ritually tortured and then, on occasion, eaten by the Seneca.

If Amanda Lickers can forgive her ancestral enemy, the Abenaki, perhaps she can do the same for the colonists of New England circa 1750. Or maybe not.