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Student Activists Outraged as Williams College Tries to Adopt Pro-Free Speech Policy

Student Activists Outraged as Williams College Tries to Adopt Pro-Free Speech Policy

“students were disruptive and eventually started yelling at white, male professors to sit down and “acknowledge their privilege”

Williams College in Massachusetts is trying to embrace the free speech policy put forth by the University of Chicago. It’s a widely respected position on the issue which has even been endorsed by FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).

The move has sparked protests from student activists who claimed “free speech harms.”

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf reports at Inside Higher Ed:

Free Speech ‘Meltdown’

A faculty petition at Williams College to adopt the Chicago principles, which many free speech advocates consider the gold standard of free speech philosophy, has divided the campus and pushed administrators to review the college’s policies.

Williams is in “meltdown,” said Luana S. Maroja, an associate professor of biology and one of the faculty members who led the charge for the college to endorse the Chicago principles, known formally as the University of Chicago’s “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression.” At least 60 entities — including colleges, universities and higher education systems — have embraced the Chicago principles since they were first introduced four years ago.

The growing support for the principles is due in part to a promotional campaign by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties watchdog group. Those who disagree with basing policies on the Chicago principles don’t dispute the importance of free expression, especially in academe. But these critics say that reliance on the principles alone can ignore the role of a college in promoting inclusivity and diversity.

This all began when Reza Aslan, who was fired from CNN for vile remarks about President Trump, visited the school and suggested only some forms of speech should be allowed:

The problems at the Massachusetts institution began in September with a panel discussion on free expression in which a well-known religious scholar took part. The scholar was Reza Aslan, a best-selling author and professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. Maroja, who attended the event, said Aslan dominated the conversation and made statements that baffled her, including that administrators should dictate what can and cannot be said on college campuses, and that only “factual talks” had a place in higher education. She said students cheered these remarks.

“This nonsense was met with intense student applause,” Maroja wrote in a blog post about the roundtable. “It was appalling.”

After the talk, she and a couple of other professors decided to start the petition for Williams to adopt the Chicago principles…

After professors drafted a petition calling for the adoption of the Chicago principles, student activists began objecting immediately:

After the professors drafted the faculty petition, which Maroja said about half of the college’s roughly 400 professors signed, they scheduled a meeting in November to discuss the proposal. Maroja said a formal vote on the petition was not scheduled to take place at this meeting.

She said a group of about 20 students showed up, some carrying signs proclaiming “free speech harms” and other similar sentiments. Maroja said the students were disruptive and eventually started yelling at white, male professors to sit down and “acknowledge their privilege.” Maroja said she attempted to engage the students — as a Hispanic woman, she said she understood prejudice — and told them that shutting down speech they find offensive would only invigorate bigoted speakers.

A handful of black student activists also crashed a student government meeting and went off in a profanity laced tirade. Greg Piper writes at the College Fix:

Williams College asks students not to invite speakers who ‘would offend minority students’

Black student activists at Williams College are no shrinking violets. They took over a recent student government meeting, unloading a string of vulgarities against elected student leaders for allegedly favoring white students with more funding than black students get.

They used anti-gay and even anti-black language, if you can believe it: “to be here [at Williams] is like sucking white dick every fucking day.” “We want some money to fucking cook some fried fucking chicken and be niggers.”

This was live-streamed, by the way.

Here’s a video of that incident. NOTE: Not safe for work, extremely strong language warning:

How do you solve a problem like this? Where do you even begin?

Featured image via YouTube.


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How do you solve a problem like that? Expel the miscreants. But that would require an administration that isn’t on their side on the issue.

    UnCivilServant in reply to ttl. | April 25, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    If we’re going to be pouring millions of taxpayer dollars into these places, we should simply make it that any school which accepts government funding is required to respect the constitutional rights of the students or face unlimited civil libaility, that means free speech, bearing arms, due process, etc. they can choose between ideology and lucre.

      Agreed. And “accepting government funding” should also include accepting any student loan that is backed by the government (i.e. virtually all of them).

stevewhitemd | April 25, 2019 at 7:09 pm

I’m a professor at the University of Chicago, and I whole-heartedly endorse the free speech document.

Now then, how to begin? I’m a simple person (for a professor), so for me the answer is easy: suspend the trouble-makers (20 of them, right? Won’t harm the budget). Then invite them to attend a regional state university closer to home. They can explain it to their parents.

Be sure to hit the non-students who are on campus to help the outrage machine as well. They get no-trespass orders and the next time they show up, they get arrested. Don’t drop the charges and lean on the prosecutor.

Do this a time or two and, I predict, you’ll see more civil behavior from the students. The large majority of students are already civil, so you’re just setting the proper boundaries for discourse and behavior, much as one does for a toddler.

You get more of what you reward. Fail to penalize these students and you’re rewarding them.

Dantzig93101 | April 25, 2019 at 7:27 pm

You begin by expelling the students who have no business being in college in the first place. Then you expel the students who disrupt university functions and intimidate others on campus.

That will thin the herd quite a bit. Any remaining malcontents might be persuaded that their parents’ money and the taxpayers’ subsidies would be better spent if they tried studying instead of just being a nuisance.

Unfortunately this is how it is at most universities today where the inmates are running the asylum with the help of a predominately liberal teaching staff.

It would help if some of the other students had the spine to call the race activists out for their lies. Whites have an easier time “creating space” for their racially segregated activities than blacks do??? Whites can’t create ANY race-based space, not that they want to, while the blacks at Williams are allowed to do whatever racially themed stuff they want and they seem to be big on doing it. Maybe Williams ought to stop admitting the most racist blacks they can find. Lying should also count negatively, not positively, in the admission process.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | April 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm

Those Dictatorship Sucking Students must be on Sandy OC’s campaign committee………

“Observe as I use the power of White Privilege to shut you up!”
(pause while idiots continue to rattle)
“Since it did not work, that proves that I possess none of this ‘White Privilege’ that you claim, so we now will proceed with the lesson. Any continuing disruptions will be met by ‘Teacher Privilege’ in which disruptive students are given failing grades, and non-students are removed by college police.”

Any person as articulate as that first speaker is never going to get much done in life.

The corrupt fascist useful idiots getting themselves deep in debt to this stupid school are getting what they’re paying for: nothing.

If this doesn’t de-incentivize us to address the student loan issue, nothing does.

The engineering university I attended had no dry powder fire extinguishers on the premises, preferring CO2 extinguishers. The reason was simple: engineering students had no tolerance for this kind of bollocks and would respond by hosing the interlopers down with a stream of frigid compressed gas. Dry powder was a pain to clean up; CO2 leaves no mess behind.

Do what Mitch Daniels did at Purdue by pre-empting all the BS by letting everyone know it’s a free speech campus. Mic-drop. This country really took a hit when Daniels decided not to run for president; he was the absolute goat as governor.

Acute misandry with a diversity enhancement. #HateLovesAbortion

Most of these activists are the scions of wealthy familes. They are just like the terrorists who bombed the Christian churches in Sri Lanka. If they thought they could get away with it, they would be bombing places where free speech is allowed. They got away with berating mommy and daddy all of their lives wben they didn’t get their way; so why should acting up in college be any different?

Ignore the children and go about the business of teaching, that’s how you handle this garbage!

I guess no one remembers what it means to EDUCATING!

Mike LaChance, please provide an update regarding the college’s response to this.

I am a bit surprised no one stood up to shut down the rant. They could have recessed the meeting and all walked out or they could have forced them out of the room and locked the door.

“hotshot political wrangler”

Wrangler suggests someone who is both competent and clever in solving problems. LBJ was neither; rather his method was to use blunt force trauma to anything that stood in your way.

Steal elections. Manipulate federal contracts to become rich. Murder a sitting president. It’s all good. For LBJ.

Just wait until these activists discover that there are “hurtful books” in their school’s libraries!

Although it wouldn’t be surprising if activists are already quietly disappearing books they dislike, and either no one has noticed or librarians and patrons just figure it’s best not to talk about what’s in the catalog yet never available.

At least electronic resources are probably more robust against casual censorship.

Of course, one could always avoid distress by not going to hear speakers one dislikes, but, the operating principle seems to be that just knowing that someone, somewhere might be expressing non-PC thoughts is deeply hurtful (and therefore must be suppressed By Any Means Necessary).

    Eskyman in reply to Albigensian. | April 26, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Books are being purged, right now, and it’s not just Amazon that is removing books and blacklisting them, it’s libraries as well. This is deeply concerning.

    “…as students abandon the stacks in favor of online reference material, university libraries are unloading millions of unread volumes in a nationwide purge that has some print-loving scholars deeply unsettled.”

    Hey, it’s only knowledge, so we can do without it, right? After all, Google knows everything, and if some old book says something that isn’t approved by Google then who needs it?

When will the tribal blacktivist types realize that it is only they that feel the need to carve out exclusivity in public spaces these days.

That’s part of a bygone era of mistakes, admittedly by whites (whites only public facilities), that the blacktivists want to resurrect. We ALL share public spaces…you don’t need to beg for a space and you aren’t begging to use a space. You are begging to exclude others from a public space to push a twisted ideology. You do so under the guise of “civil rights”.

This video also reeks of “pound the table” when you have nothing of substance…in fact, he literally pounds the table at one point.

casualobserver | April 26, 2019 at 11:03 am

Not my observation but it seems believable >> It was said in an article (can’t find it again) that a recent study concluded that students are more convinced now that even 5 years ago that “feeling safe” and words are integral. That study included surveys and interviews, and found that students entering college in just the last 2 years rank “feeling safe” in the top 3 important criteria of either their choices or in their satisfaction once at college.

So, they are even being “trained” to demand this totalitarian speech policing at every earlier ages.

what is a bit confusing is the video doesn’t line up well with the reporting. The video is only mentioned at the end of the article.

Fine. Williams can limit the “free speech” of the agitators. And if they continue to disrupt, kick them out. It will work wonders. Instantly. As the hardest liberal arts college in the nation to gain admission, the expulsion of a student will send shock waves through the campus.