Middlebury Professor and Speaker Assaulted By Protesters In Latest Attack On Free Speech On U.S. Campuses

allisonstangeriWe have been discussing the rising intolerance and violence on college campuses, particularly against conservative speakers.  The latest such example can be found at Middlebury College where Professor Allison Stanger was assaulted by protesters and injured after she merely accompanied a controversial speaker to campus. It was a disgraceful but increasingly common scene on our campuses as students fought to prevent others from hearing opposing views or speakers.

Stanger was accompanying Charles Murray, a political scientist and author of the controversial “The Bell Curve” ( asserted that different races has different intelligence levels).  Protesters succeeded in preventing his speaking at the original location on campus and he was moved to another location for a closed circuit broadcast.  However, when Stanger, Murray and a college administrator left McCullough Student Center after the event, they were “physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors,” according to Bill Burger, the college’s vice president for communications and marketing.

The three retreated to an administrator’s car but Burger said “The protestors then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus. At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. . . . During this confrontation outside McCullough, one of the demonstrators pulled Prof. Stanger’s hair and twisted her neck . . . She was attended to at Porter Hospital later and (on Friday) is wearing a neck brace.”

There is no indication however of a single arrest or a single disciplinary action against the protesters.  The College president admitted that some of those responsible were students and yet there was no effort to punish those responsible for silencing free speech or violently attacking the speaker and faculty member.

The chilling scene at Middlebury is the result of years of erosion of free speech principles and protections at academic institutions.  Faculty have led the effort to declare certain speech to be hostile or intolerant (and thus not protected).  They have taken campuses that were once bastions of free speech and turned them into towers of intolerance.  That ignoble legacy was more than evidence in the letter from 450 alumni who denounced the visit of Murray and rejected basic notions of free speech.  The letter shows the utter ease and comfort that students and alumni now display in simply declaring certain views as unworthy of protection. There was even a subtle dig at Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway:

However, in this case we find the principle does not apply, due to not only the nature, but also the quality, of Dr. Murray’s scholarship. . . .  If Dr. Murray’s scholarship is of blatantly dreadful quality — and we hold, along with so many of his colleagues, that it is — then what is the point of “debating” his views? How, and why, does one go about arguing in good faith with a scholar whose entire intellectual premise consists of what are now being called, incredibly, “alternative facts”?

Since Dr. Murray’s views are not worth engaging on these grounds, this can hardly be called an occasion for open, rigorous academic debate. His invitation to campus, then, is not an educational opportunity, but a threat. It is a message to every woman, every person of color, every first-generation student, every poor and working-class person, every disabled person and every queer person that not only their acceptance to and presence at Middlebury, but also their safety, their agency, their humanity and even their very right to exist are all up for “debate.”

So just hearing an opposing viewpoint is now a “threat” and categorically unworthy of debate or protection.  Of course, the threat that injured Professor Stanger was quite real and came from the very individuals claiming to be victimized by his exercise of free speech.  What is interesting is the tone of the coverage of the latest violence by protesters against conservatives or libertarians on campus.  The Boston Globe had a story of liberal protesters assaulting and injuring a professor in their effort to prevent the exercise of free speech.  The newspaper entitled its article “Protesters Aggressively Confront Controversial Speaker at Middlebury College.”   “Aggressively confront”?  They first moved to block anyone hearing his views and then assaulted the author and a faculty member.

Incidents like the one at Middlebury are shocking reminders that we are raising a generation of intolerant (and at times violent) censors.  We have taught students that free speech is no longer the value that we strive to preserve but the threat to their very existence.  As a result, they have developed a sense of entitlement in the silencing of opposing voices. Indeed, they now view the fight against free speech as a noble cause. They do that by simply claiming (as they do in this letter) that opposing speakers are not really engaging in free speech at all but rather incitement or hatred or the ill-defined “microaggressions.”  It is a license to silence others and to select what speech is worthy to be heard on campus.

Middlebury insists that it was shocked by the violence on campus.  If so, it should start by expelling students who refuse to allow opposing voices to be heard and take violent action when others do not yield to their demands.  As I discussed in an earlier column, a few schools (led by the University of Chicago) have stood firm in support of free speech and against the slippery slope of censorship advocated by many academics.  It may be the single greatest and defining moment of the American academy.

It will not be easy to regain the ground lost.  University administrators are not known for their steadfast fealty to principle when facing threats of protests or condemnations as microaggressors or advocates of white privilege.  There are also academics who actively teach how speech is a threat to equality and a tool for privilege.  Few academics want to be labeled as racially insensitive or reactionary.  However, it has been the silence of most academics that has allowed this trend to grow and mutate across our campuses.

 

172 thoughts on “Middlebury Professor and Speaker Assaulted By Protesters In Latest Attack On Free Speech On U.S. Campuses

  1. Well, if the students found the speech without merit, and unworthy of debate, then the civilized thing to do is not to attend. Go do something fun like see a movie or go for a walk, or hold a competing event in another location. We don’t allow people to hit someone because their words made them mad, or else domestic violence laws are going to do a 180.

    I am not familiar with Charles Murray, but if he is a genetic racism theorist, then I’d have no interest in wasting my time listening to him. However, one should always be ready and able to debate with such points of view, and certainly not afraid of facing it head on, with one’s brain, not one’s fists. Such violence implies that they are unable to either debate him or ignore him.

    Any student who committed violence on campus in an effort to terrorize an invited speaker should be held criminally liable, as well as punished by the school.

  2. I read the NYT account. From that, I think everybody was engaging in free speech up until the violence started.

  3. I attended two diversity sessions at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. After the first session they got to know me as hostile to the diversity agenda. At the second session, I raised my hand to speak. The facilitor recognized me and told me—“You Can’t Speak”.

    I’m a military veteran, told not to speak, while foreigners who are not even US citizens are allowed 3 to five minutes to speak! Western Michigan University has mainlined and legitimatized the Weather Underground. They are allowed to facilitate, plan, execute an agenda of Genocide by Ethnic Dilution—and I can’t fight back whatsoever. Our universities and colleges are nothing more than Marxist training camps. I wish them all evil.

    • “They are allowed to facilitate, plan, execute an agenda of Genocide by Ethnic Dilution—and I can’t fight back whatsoever.”

      Apart from what may be a completely flawed perception of the intentions of others attending these diversity sessions, I get the sense that you believe your military service gives you some additional knowledge and right to speak. Reintegration especially after a state of war for decades is unprecedented and difficult, made more so with the lack of a paycheck guaranteed every two weeks. Welcome home to the same world they live in.

      • “I get the sense that you believe your military service gives you some additional knowledge and right to speak.”

        *********************

        For my money, anybody who takes or dodges bullets meant for me gets to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. For most folks, that’s a sign of respect. For radical Leftists like Steve here, it inspires his ire. My guess is that Steve has never taken one real risk for his country and that is why he holds those who do in such little regard. Impugning a veteran like marine/polymath Lindsay Wheeler, who reenlisted to fight Desert Storm and participated in numerous dangerous maneuvers, says nothing about the brave warrior who expressed his chagrin at being muzzled by the government he protected and all you need to know about Steve Groen.

        • Lindsay, I was foreclosing the idea that military service allows some advanced knowledge and accompanying, superior right to speak, which is what I inferred from your comment. Flagg’s perpetual personal attacks on anyone who disputes his wisdom is a primary example. The “By God, I’m an American, and I know more than that you do” mentality is crap.

          If you are a former Marine, then semper fi. I am, too.

  4. This kind of situation arises at discussion forums on the JFK case. The argument is that since the evidence for a conspiracy is pretty much beyond any doubt – that it’s wrong to allow lone nutters to troll the discussions about various aspects and details of the conspiracy.

    • The ‘evidence for a conspiracy’ does not exist outside the imagination of people like James Fetzer.

  5. To me, this was the most revealing part of the statement:

    “His invitation to campus, then, is not an educational opportunity, but a threat. It is a message to every woman, every person of color, every first-generation student, every poor and working-class person, every disabled person and every queer person that not only their acceptance to and presence at Middlebury, but also their safety, their agency, their humanity and even their very right to exist are all up for “debate.”

    I guess all we need to do these days is play the protected class card to justify our actions. Even if there is no connection between the protected classes and the issue at hand. To take a word from the Trump playbook, “SAD.”

    • Of course, that statement is flat-out, lunatic fringe, nutcase crazy. The thing is, academic institutions generally have a corps of flat-out, lunatic fringe, nutcase crazy people on salary therein.

  6. Fewer than 3% of the alumni who signed that atrocious letter took their degrees prior to 2010. Fewer than 1% took their degrees prior to 2006. The signatories compose about 13% of the last 7 graduating classes and less than 0.1% of all previous classes. What happened to that place???

  7. Schulte, there is no conclusive evidence essential tremor is hereditary. For every doctor or researcher who says it is hereditary, there’s another disputing the claim.

  8. The students who do this kind of thing are a small minority. They are not disciplined because their dispositions are in tune with the faculty and administration who have a vigorous opinion. It’s likely true that a demographic majority of faculty and administrators have no time for this, but they’re basically poltroons who do nothing about it. The college president is a political ‘consensus-builder’ weasel-dame, not a leader.

    This small minority of students will go on to jobs in the media and higher education.

    • “The college president is a political ‘consensus-builder’ weasel-dame, not a leader. ”
      ***************
      Thanks for drawing this important distinction all too often glossed over. Building consensus has no place in times of crisis like this fiasco. Sometime you have to act as a leader without the chorus chiming in to validate you every move. Here the President froze and abdicated power to an unruly mob likely because she couldn’t take a vote on what to do.

  9. Middlebury is a private college, not the government, so first amendment rights don’t apply. What I see is young people who want to move forward, not back to a previous century. They have no tolerance for hate speech hidden as civil discourse of opposing views. Students at Berkeley ran off a pedophile apologist. Lots of hand-wringing here. Good move by them.

    • Every time you open your mouth, you reveal you haven’t one intelligent thought or decent impulse in your head.

    • Bettykath,
      Do you think that laws about assault and battery “apply” at Muddlebury and Beserkeley?
      Or are the attacks simply “Good moves by them”, as they are committed with such noble intentions?

    • Middlebury is on USA soil. First Amendment DOES apply. The only place it doesn’t apply is in the Russia and Chinese Embassies. etc.

      • Middlebury is not a state school. They’re bound by contractual obligation, not constitutional provisions. The thing is, academic institutions worth their salt have no problem with a broad public forum within the boundaries of advertised and explicit institutional orthodoxies. They also don’t allow small minorities of politically privileged students to prevent others from having a discussion. A cretinous creature like Bettykath is incapable of appreciating any dimension of this.

        • Whether Middlebury accepts or rejects federal funding is the issue determining whether it’s truly independent. Even if it is, ejecting students for a peaceful protest in a public forum would seem legally problematic.

          • The ‘peaceful protest’ is preventing the people gathered there from undertaking the business they’re there to conduct. It’s perfectly proper to eject them.

          • Steve G.
            The column mentions that the college president admitted that some involved in the attack were students, but that no action
            was taken against those students.
            THAT seems problematic.
            I agree that “ejecting students for a peaceful protest” would be legally problematic.
            I didn’t see that anyone suggested that, but I may have missed a particular comment that did.

            • “The column mentions that the college president admitted that some involved in the attack were students, but that no action was taken against those students.
              THAT seems problematic.”

              If true, I would agree, and it’s more problematic for the school than the violent students for putting up with it.

            • Nash, people did not arrive at the ampitheatre to listen to baby talk babble by SJWs. They went to hear a lecture by Charles Murray and ask questions of Charles Murray. There is no defensible principle of justice which says they’re not to be permitted to hear Charles Murray because some twit cotillion just has to has to chant stupid slogans at the top of their lungs. The fact that the twits did not throw any punches is immaterial. The ampitheatre is common property, not the property of the twits. If they cannot wait their turn to ask a question, it’s perfectly proper (not ‘problematic’) to tell them to get lost and invite their own outside speakers. Nothing prevents them from reserving the hall and inviting someone.

              • DSS…
                -Steve G. was using “ejecting” and “expelling” interchangably.
                If Murray had made it to the auditorium and was shouted down by protestors, they could be legally removed.
                I think the college could, or would, face lawsuits if they tried to expell those same students.

                • @tnash80hotmailcom: “I think the college could, or would, face lawsuits if they tried to expell those same students.”

                  So now we seem to have two very different points of view.

                  On the one hand, expressed earlier, this is a private university which has no obligation to allow freedom of speech.

                  An in the cited response above, the private university would face law suits if is dared to prevent students from expressing them selves by shouting down an invited speaker.

                  Poor college administrators! What ever should they do and how can they possibly manage to stay out of court?

                  • BF Mike,
                    Middlebury was recently involved in a lawsuit brought by an expelled student.
                    Diggerent circumstances, but privite colleges are targets of lawsuits …they aren’t totally insulated.

                    I think Mullbury could have legally removed students if Murray had been shouted down during his presentation…..they probably WOULDN’T remove them, but legally I think they could.

                    Trying to expel students who engaged in a “shoutdown would be a legal risk Mallbury would not take.

                    • Excuse the typos….the reply box is c. an eighth of an inch wide, and I can only see a few previous letters at a time….can’t “proofread” until it posts.
                      Happens often on my Smartphone.

                    • I think Mullbury could have legally removed students if Murray had been shouted down during his presentation….

                      What, you fancy it makes a difference that he was shouted down at the beginning of his presentation???

                • If Murray had made it to the auditorium and was shouted down by protestors, they could be legally removed. I think the college could, or would, face lawsuits if they tried to expell those same students.

                  You;’re drawing a distinction that is not Jesuitical. It is nonsenseical.

                  • DDS
                    – I’ll try to be more careful to distinquish “at the beginning” of his presentation “from “DURING his presentation in the hypotheticals about what the college mightvhave hypothetically done, IF the speaker had made it to the autitorium.

                    Sorry I did not make that distinqtion earlier, and that it disturbed you so much.
                    Any other chickens*** observations on this non-issue you’d care to make?

                  • Always good to have your judgement about what is “nonsenseical”.
                    No need to explain your snarky conclusions……your declaration and final jidgement as sucgient.
                    Not sure why you are repeatedly determined to undercut some good ideas you have by your compulsion to behave like an arrogant, superior, nitpickong ass.

          • What I see as problematic is people like you, Steve Groen, willing to falsely excuse felony level assault as “peaceful protest.”

            • Flagg, I didn’t write that the protest at Middlebury was peaceful, and you can’t say for sure that they weren’t because you weren’t there. The gist of what I wrote was that expelling students of a private school for engaging in peaceful protests in a public forum may lead to liability.

              • Again, cite the article of the LOAC, which I lived by, that says anything I’ve ever said or done excuses murder.

                You can’t do it. Please continue to lie about me. I’m used to it. In fact, it’s how you got Trump. You and the rest of the left have lied about so many people that no one believes your leg-humping MSM anymore.

  10. “And anyone who agrees with that crap ought to be tarred and feathered for the soulless excuses for human beings they’ve become.”

    So much for rigorous debate, eh Steve.

    • Olly: True, I’ve been through that debate before, and it’s as ideological as slavery and the continuous attempt to excuse it. There’s no sense in banging one’s head against the wall.

      • I’m curious if you ever condemned slavery in terms of the Arabic slave trade. Which began far earlier than the Atlantic slave trade, and was far more genocidal as it involved the castration of young boys and men for use as harem guards, the vast majority who did not survive the bush “surgery” or the forced march to the coast, and continued for well over a century after the Royal Navy and US Navy established anti-slaving patrols off the west coast of Africa.

          • I always make you run. Because you don’t know what you’re talking about and you know I can prove it.

            So as soon as I enter the conversation you invent a stupid nickname for me and head for the tall grass.

            • Stupid nickname for you? I think not. I’m a citizen of this rock we’re on, not just an insular citizen of the United States, Flagg. Besides, because you think you’re so tough it’s worth noting you’re a career intel guy like your namesake:

              • I am a career intel guy. I never made a secret of that. Which is why you know. I think that was my highest and best use. I’ve also never made it a secret that I served with far tougher guys than me.Who I wouldn’t f*** with. I’m reasonably tough, but by far not the toughest.

                So what are you?

      • If you’ve actually looked into the matter, then tell me what “Al Azl” means in Arabic, and what was the so-called prophet of Islam’s attitude toward it when it came to the treatment of captive and then enslaved women. It’s in the ahadith, now the main component of the Sunnah. And the vast majority of Muslims are Ahlus Sunnah or Sunni in English.

        • Neither Steve Groen or any other liar on behalf of Islam is going to answer. So I might as well answer my own question.

          Sahih Muslim – The Book of Marriage – (22) Chapter: The ruling on coitus interrupts (‘Azl)

          Suffice it to say you’ll find no “ruling” on al-Azl anywhere in the Bible should it discuss taking forced labor. And, oh by the way, the prophet of Allah said it didn’t matter how you raped your slave girls. You can look it up.

          • “the prophet of Allah said it didn’t matter how you raped your slave girls.”

            So that’s why we’re murdering so many people in the Middle East! Live and learn. I always thought it was to control the oil fields, pad the pockets of the MIC, and keep those Treasury Dept. printing presses rolling on behalf of the Federal Reserve board. Thanks for this information, Flagg.

  11. Barbara Boxer’s “I feared for my life!” at the Nevada Democratic Convention last year comes to mind. I’ll assume that there was physical violence at otherwise pleasant Middlebury College. Protest is one thing; physical violence is quite another on a college campus. I would agree with expulsion, but only after a criminal conviction and not after some lame campus administrative proceeding with varying degrees of political due process based on how much one’s parents have donated to the school.

    As for the reason for the protest – Murray – he should be ashamed of himself for his destructive attempt to catalog society by intelligence-quotient testing among other things. And anyone who agrees with that crap ought to be tarred and feathered for the soulless excuses for human beings they’ve become.

    • I take it then, you’ve never actually read “The Bell Curve.” Because if you had, you’d know he is not at all guilty of what he’s accused of.

      You just believe the leftist “Clift’s Notes” version of events.

      • I’m booked again, Flagg, but I did read about two-thirds of it back in the mid-90s. I was thoroughly disgusted with what it suggested at that point and couldn’t read the remainder of it. The authors’ conclusions were destructive in any way one looks at them in a civilized society.

  12. God made pistols for a reason. The right to bear arms implies the right to use them to protect oneself and others. These punks need to be shot. Not shot on sight but shot when they stop a car and pound it or assault and batter at person. Shoot em if ya gottem.

  13. Good thread, good debate. Speaking of debate, Instead of debate being a club activity, they should require it for high school graduation and it should be required for 1st semester freshmen.

  14. This incident is not too different from one of those all-too-common of episodes that we, unfortunately, encounter in our neighborhood malls. You know, where a three or four year old, on his back, in the middle of the mall, is screaming, kicking and having a meltdown. Mommy, of course, is leaning over Johnny, telling him, in a calm and soothing voice, to please, get up and behave. But, of course, it doesn’t work. Why would it? The time to begin setting guidelines for appropriate and acceptable conduct is not at 2:30 in the afternoon in the middle of the Galleria. Mommy has allowed Johnny to get away with this unacceptable behavior for so long, without any consequences, that Johnny feels that it is his right and privilege to behave in this manner.

    College and university campuses, where lawlessness and mayhem are allowed to flourish, are, in reality, not so indistinguishable from our precious Johnny. For years, administrators have allowed their campuses the unbridled ability to turn into bastions of hate and violence. Much like Johnny, there have been no unpleasant consequences for these tantrums, which, undeniably, explains why they persist. The same administrators should not be shocked when the very atmosphere, which has been fostered and encouraged, comes back to bite one of their own.

          • You guys are right, and yet the common term for Frankenstein’s monster is “Frankenstein”. It’s incorrect, but it’s set in stone in the vernacular.

            My favorite Frankenstein movie was with Gene Wilder. “Abby Normal, I think.” “Darling, what part of your wonderful brain did the creature get?”

            Geez, what did Mary Shelley call the creature? I cannot remember!

  15. Myself and other non-liberal commenters used to be verbally assaulted by fascists leftists who ran this blog, until JT become a righteous campus cop and ran them off this campus.

      • A distinction w/o a difference, mespo. By a gang of smug, leftist, cowards who ran off when I punched them in the nose after every assault. They were upper middle class bullies who picked on the wrong, blue collar, mofo!

          • I always said I held out hope for you, mespo. I could always see some honesty and righteousness in you and MikeA. And, I said it back then as well. What’s that Gene, who compared my deceased sister to Hitler, doing now? Selling used cars? Pontificating in his trailer park laundromat as his clothes dry?

            • Nick,
              I recall early on that MikeA would challenge me whenever I posted something regarding natural rights theory. I don’t know what his motivation was, but it came off as “I’m a really smart lawyer and you have no idea what you’re talking about”. It was good though as it forced me to present my argument better. He hasn’t commented on my posts in a very long time and while I would like to think my arguments are better, it’s more likely he finds it a waste of time. 😉

      • mespo – you forget the good ol days. I had two guys who spent their entire day responding only to my comments in a derogatory and insulting manner. I used to have to name the type of logic attack it was.

    • There’s no such thing as verbal assault. You sound like the snowflakes whining about how any presentation of alternative viewpoints on campus makes them feel so “unsafe.” Sticks and stones. Grow a pair.

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