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Middlebury College Alums Defend Free Speech on Campus

Middlebury College Alums Defend Free Speech on Campus

“we share a commitment to fundamental propositions about higher learning”

Former Middlebury College students have been watching what’s happening at their school. Some of them recently wrote a piece about the importance of free speech and respecting opposing views.

From Real Clear Politics:

Universities Should Be Safe Spaces — for Intellectual Diversity

As university professors and administrators, we are deeply concerned with escalating attacks on free speech and inquiry all across American higher education – and we believe that lessons of national import can be learned from the situation at our alma mater in Vermont. Middlebury College recently completed its public response to the physical intimidation and assault visited upon Charles Murray and Middlebury Professor Allison Stanger on March 2. Last week it issued a press release stating that 67 students had received sanctions “ranging from probation to official College discipline.” Middlebury also has appointed a special committee to “explore and discuss issues relating to” the incident.

This past semester featured episodes across the country of university and college students using physical intimidation to preempt or harass speakers; using similar tactics against professors who did not share their views on censoring speech; demanding control of faculty hiring to meet their demands for diversity; and demanding that regular disciplinary procedures to address all such extraordinary actions be suspended. The most recent incidents occurred at UCLA and Claremont McKenna College, Indiana University, Pomona College, and Evergreen State College. Because this educational crisis has spread to so many American campuses, we think Middlebury’s leaders have a responsibility to do more.

We write as grateful alumni of Middlebury College who were inspired by our education there to become professors. We hold diverse political views and teach at varied institutions – but we share a commitment to fundamental propositions about higher learning, especially that robust debate and diverse inquiry are essential to the search for truth. We are saddened that the college has failed to seize an opportunity to firmly defend these foundational principles.


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