Education, recent

What I Saw at Middlebury College

“At a meeting last week at Middlebury College, students upset and angry that conservative Ryszard Legutko had been invited to speak on campus were calmed and reassured by three administrators who apologized to the students for their feelings of discomfort, agreed that they had every right to feel aggrieved, and assured them there’s steps underway to ensure controversial right-wing speakers are not easily invited to campus in the future,” reported Jennifer Kabbany of The College Fix this week. “That according to a 40-minute recording of the meeting recorded surreptitiously by a student in the room…who said the three administrators at the meeting were Sujata Moorti, the incoming dean of the faculty, as well as Dean of Students, Baishakhi Taylor, and Renee Wells, director of education for equity and inclusion.”

The “student in the room” cited in this report—that was me. But before I discuss the controversy over Legutko, let me offer a brief flashback to February 6, 2019.

At the time, I was beginning my first semester of college as what Middlebury calls a “Feb”: Along with about 80 or 90 classmates, I was beginning my college education a semester late. I moved in while most of the campus was away on break, and spent the week getting to know the other Feb freshmen. It was essentially a week full of fun activities and bonding on an idyllic private liberal-arts college campus in rural Vermont. Along with everyone else, I was encouraged to believe that this is what the whole Middlebury experience would be like. And maybe, in times of yore, it was. But not in this era, when students are encouraged to experience campus life as one long sequence of ideologically-inflicted psychic traumas.

The tenor of intellectual life was established in March, a few weeks after I arrived, when the student newspaper, The Middlebury Campus, published an article entitled, White Allies Asked to Support Eliminating White Supremacy in Curriculum, which described a standing-room only gathering of Middlebury students concerned about “the need to eliminate racial violence from the Middlebury curriculum.” The organizer told the crowd that “the academic institution is the greatest mobilizer of white supremacy.” The event called for the “decolonization” of the academic curriculum, and elicited testimonials such as “the violence we experience in the classrooms is truly across disciplines.”

A few weeks after that, we all got an email from the college President, informing us that a Middlebury chemistry professor had been placed on leave because he had asked students to calculate a lethal dose of hydrogen cyanide gas—the theory being that the subject had Nazi connotations. According to the email, these complaints had triggered “an inquiry into past examinations” administered by the same professor, which in turn uncovered a joking reference to the Ku Klux Klan. This was deemed to be “offensive,” if not racist “in effect.” Another professor is also being investigated for a cartoon that was posted in a slide, which featured characters rowing a large boat, with another man tied to the hull of the ship, alongside the words “the better equipped slave ships, of course, always carried a spare.”

These stories all attracted some measure of attention. But things went to another level earlier this month, in advance of an April 17 speaking engagement by the aforementioned socially conservative Polish professor, Ryszard Legutko, who’d been invited to talk about his recent book, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Tendencies in Free Societies.

In the days leading up to the event, the campus was in an uproar, with posters advertising the event vandalized with words such as “homophobe” and “bigot.” A group of students created a (now archived) Facebook group titled Ryszard Legutko is a f*cking homophobe (and racist and sexist). Their stated intention was to peacefully protest the event through various means, such as handing out pamphlets detailing Legutko’s socially conservative views, and hosting a pride rally outside the venue.

The administration, fearful of violent protest, changed the location of the venue three times. Ultimately, they cancelled it—something the Facebook protestors hadn’t even asked them to do—just hours before it was set to start, attributing the decision to “safety concerns.” Amazingly, the school sent this email out before informing Professor Legutko of the cancellation.

The cancellation caused the campus to erupt. I saw students literally celebrating in the halls, while others who wanted to listen to Legutko speak sent out angry text messages. About an hour later, I received a message from a friend, urging me to head to the college’s conference center as soon as possible. As I headed over, he explained that Professor Legutko was indeed on campus, and would be giving his talk to a political-science class. I learned that students in the class had unanimously voted in support of his appearance.

When I entered the room, there was probably about 25 students in attendance, but that number exceeded 40 by the time the event was over. (The numbers here are small, but the entire Middlebury student body consists of only about 2,500 students—the size of a large high school.) Eventually, someone at the campus newspaper got word of the event, and began to livestream it from a Facebook account. A professor told them to stop recording his class, and Professor Legutko subsequently left the conference room with a security detail as a crowd of about half a dozen student protestors looked on passively. He was then escorted off of campus.

As I was leaving the conference room, another text message came in—this one about an “emergency” meeting for students and administrators. Naively imagining that this might be an opportunity for students of all viewpoints to speak their mind about the episode, I walked over. Upon entering that room, however, I realized this would be a very different kind of meeting.

As my recording of the event shows, it was a call-and-response performance starring outraged protestors and three highly sympathetic administration members—two of them being both deans and gender studies professors. The whole thing resembled a modern day Struggle Session, with kids literally weeping over the “violence” that supposedly had been brought to campus through the vessel of Legutko. The response of the administrators was an endless expression of sympathy and guilt, as well as pledges to make things right. The students actually demanded that the administrators take notes. And like an obedient underling, one of the professors whipped out her phone to record every demand (all of which were subsequently published in manifesto form).

The three faculty members spoke openly about their desire to block speakers with certain viewpoints from coming to campus, and discussed plans for an extensive background-check scheme that would allow Middlebury officials to systematically analyze speakers beforehand. I recorded all of this because I’m passionate about free speech—and I felt it was my duty to show other students that members of their own administration were explicitly advocating for a system that would allow them to restrict speech on campus in accordance with their own privately held biases.

After about an hour, three more college officials entered the room, and students again jumped up to the whiteboard to list their demands. At this point, I felt I had seen enough and decided to go home, where I listened to the 40 minutes of audio I’d recorded. I was stunned by the realization that the school was no longer run according to any coherent set of ideas set down by the administration, but rather by the knee-jerk diktats of a small group of radicalized students operating in open alliance with like-minded staffers.

Fighting this madness meant exposing it, which is why I published the audio recording. As a first step, I sent the tape to “renegade” scholar James Lindsay and filmmaker Mike Nayna, who’d become well-known thanks to the 2017-2018 Sokal-Squared hoax. Nayna posted a short-form video on his YouTube account, which as of this writing has more than 35,000 views.

On Tuesday, Middebury’s Student Government Association (SGA) sent out a 13-point codified list of the demands that I’d first heard in the April 17 meeting I’d recorded. This included the demand that “a due diligence form” be required by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in regard to all speakers invited to campus—the purpose being to “determine whether a speaker’s beliefs align with Middlebury’s community standards.” The SGA also demanded “recurrent bias training to be provided to all hired staff, faculty, administrators, as well as all students,” with “the names of any faculty, staff, or administration members who do not participate in bias training to be made publicly available to all students.” (Also: “In this bias training, participants must learn about the importance of preferred gender pronouns. All faculty must ask students’ names and pronouns on the first day of each new semester, and preferred names and pronouns must be respected.”) Furthermore, the SGA insisted on “a strategic plan to hire more counselors who are femme, of color, and/or queer and provide a more robust health service for transitioning people to be created,” plus the “development of a Black Studies department,” with “appropriate funding allocated to the department, and sufficient tenure track positions.” The manifesto concluded with the pledge that “if tangible plans to implement these proposals are not released, a majority of SGA senators will resign such that the SGA Senate will no longer be able to quorum, effectively dissolving the body.”

Mead Memorial Chapel and Gifford Hall at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont—as rendered in faux-linen texture on a postcard thought to have been published between 1930 and 1945.

This is not the first time that Middlebury has been at the center of this sort of controversy: In 2017, a group of students shut down a speaking appearance by Charles Murray, generating a fracas that led to the injury of faculty member Allison Stranger and the disciplining of dozens of protestors. That happened while I was still in high school. But even during my short time at college, I have been shocked at the values that inform campus culture at Middlebury and other supposedly “elite” schools. When we lament the brainwashing and indoctrination that takes place in literary, activist and corporate circles—as well as on social media—it is important to remember that places such as Middlebury are where these authoritarian attitudes first germinate.

Putting aside the ideological and political attitudes at play, there is a social component as well: Never in my life have I witnessed so many arrogant, needy, spoiled brats on parade. And it is shocking to see these specimens presume to lecture the adults who run their school—and to do so successfully. My hope is that by helping to expose this phenomenon, I can help others find a way to fight the campus authoritarians and restore Middlebury—and the many other schools like it—to their proper role as places of education, not bullying and indoctrination.

 

Dominic Aiello is a member of the Middlebury College class of 2022.5.

Feature photo: Professor Ryszard Legutko photographed at Middlebury College. 

172 Comments

  1. Another one bites the dust! How soon before it gets easier to just list the North American colleges which have NOT gone to hell in a handbasket?

    • Sadly John, we’re already there — it was covertly seeded and has grown since the ’70s. Proponents have grown confident and are now overt with their demands and intentions.

      Even my alma mater, Boston University, one of the few bastions of rationality even into the late ’90s, has fallen.

      • Bulldust says

        Just look up interviews with Yuri Bezmenov to see how much of the demoralization started. I would argue that much of it was overt, rather than covert. It has spread to all western democracies now. One can only hope that repeated exposure such as this will help turn the tide eventually. Even in my workplace we have a inclusivity and diversity group … oddly the staff of 6-8 are exclusively female. Such diversity…

        • Please continue spreading Bezmenov and his “from the horses mouth” warnings. They never stopped when he defected; and I weep when modern media speaks of “Russian interference” as if its a new thing. They are the useful idiots, and nobody stoped them.

        • You’re on the right track–yes, the anti-Normal American belief system called Politically Correct Progressivism was inserted into our culture to destroy it.

          But, no “Bezmenov” doesn’t have details on “how it started.”

          The actual covert influence operation began in the early 1920’s, the brainchild of Willi Muenzenberg, of the Comintern.

          He created both the message (“Normal America is a hellhole that must be changed.”) and the strategy and tactics to infect American culture.

          Bezmenov was a Soviet journalist. He was useless as a defector, but found a profitable gig telling stories for John Birch. While he was not wrong, he was fake. “Fake but accurate” is probably not a good standard.

          For the real story, see my book, Willing Accomplices. A short video summary is here:

          http://willingaccomplices.com/willing_accomplices/videos

        • ALAN WHITE says

          History doesn’t usually work that way if free speech is suppressed. Look at what occurred during the episode of the Red Guards in Mao’s China

      • Mazzuchelli says

        William F. Buckley, God and Man at Yale, 1951. Commies, socialists, the left have occupied U.S. campuses since at least the ’30s.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      At the university where I used to teach, many research areas [such as rare manuscript rooms, animal care facilities, etc.] were protected by guard stations and CCTV cameras. Students and faculty had to show IDs to enter, and visitors had to wear a temporary badge. Other sensitive areas on campus were protected by alarms, card-swipe stations and other security measures. The university had a very visible campus police force and could call upon the city police and even state police when needed.

      The point is that Middlebury College [as a small-town undergrad college] doesn’t have any of those resources, so they ARE vulnerable to outsiders coming onto campus and causing problems. And Middlebury is located fairly close to larger towns and cities in CT, NY and MA.

      Given all of that, if the campus doesn’t have the manpower to handle even peaceful counter-protests [and as far as I can tell, there were no credible threats of violence against the speaker], they should probably just ditch the idea of inviting outside speakers. The benefits aren’t worth it, given the expected costs.

      • E. Olson says

        JBN – I am sure you are correct that there are security costs that are difficult for a small school to cover, but Middlebury did somehow manage to cover the costs of “diversity and inclusion” administration, whose head usually receives a solid six figure salary and typically requires several mid-high five figure assistants. These people end up being like the mafia because all they do is agitate racial and gender tensions on campus and organize protests against any Right leaning campus participation, and then demand “protection” money because it would be terrible if some angry mob were to destroy that pretty little campus of yours.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @E. Olson

          I’m not here to defend careerist college administrators–quite the opposite in fact. Administrators change jobs more frequently than professors, sometimes moving between academia and private industry. So generally they want to keep their resumes free of controversy, and that usually means giving in to students even against the wishes of faculty.

          There’s nothing ideological about this. At any large campus there will be administrators who are ‘in the pocket’ of the athletic department, or of the fraternity-sorority system, or of big-money donors and so on.

          Bottom Line–the only reason ideological issues stand out at a campus like Middlebury is that they lack big-time athletics, donors and fraternities, so SJW and PC controversies are all that’s left to get excited about.

          • chrisgar15 says

            That’s why these problems are isolated only to small colleges like Middlebury.

            Right ?

            Turning your back on freedom of speech and using $$ as the reason is really weak.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @chrisgar15

            ‘…Turning your back on freedom of speech and using $$ as the reason is really weak…’

            On campus, I’m a big believer in the Golden Rule–s/he who has the gold makes the rules. So the Legutko lecture at Middlebury would not have been FREE speech but PAID speech, paid by conservative billionaire donors like the Koch Bros. and Clifford Asness. See my comment below to @Joe for details.

            More generally, speech isn’t free, unless we are talking about protection from govt. censorship in the USA. People get blocked, muted or censored all the time on FB, on comments sections attached to various newspapers and webzines, on Twitter, etc. That’s just life.

            Bottom Line: don’t like Trump’s rule allowing private academic institutions to censor based on content? That’s not my fault!

          • Amin says

            @ Cary D Cotterman

            Don’t be a twat. If you are lying then you are lying. It is the whole fucking purpose of schooling… to procure the ability to build a solid argument. Do you often make up lies in your life, just becuase most of it is informal? Did you learn that off your parents?

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          I recall that the University of Michigan’s DIE staff numbers over 70 full time positions.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Ray Andrews

            UofM has about 36,000 full time staffers, so the number[s] you quoted are about 2% of the total.

            http://obp.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/pubdata/factsfigures/facstaff_umsystem_fa14-fa18.pdf

            The real question is not the relative or absolute numbers of diversity/inclusion/equity staffers but what their values are – corporate or academic?

            As I mentioned, there’s a revolving door for non-academic staff between academia and private industry.

            Corporate values include things like protecting the company image/brand and customer satisfaction.

            Academic values include things like tenure, academic freedom and [for public universities] constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly, and right to due process.

            At some large universities, it isn’t hard to find non-academic staff in HR and elsewhere who are shitting on academic values.

            This situation MIGHT improve if staff were accountable to, say, the faculty senate*, or if faculty were included on the relevant search committees. But the recent trend has been for power on campuses to flow away from faculty and toward non-academic staff, not the other way around.

            *In terms of things like annual performance evaluations.

        • Amin says

          @ E. Olson

          ” These people end up being like the mafia because all they do is agitate racial and gender tensions on campus and organize protests against any Right leaning campus participation”

          Prove your point with references. And make sure the links/evidence show exactly what you have claimed. Any old thing won’t do.

          • Northern Observer says

            Pedantic. Middlebury. Evergreen. Harvard. Yale. What more do you need blind man.

          • Amin says

            @ Northern Observer

            “Pedantic. Middlebury. Evergreen. Harvard. Yale. What more do you need blind man.”

            Look up the difference and relationship between cause and effect. Admin is effect and not the cause. This site has all these stories well covereed and cause is mainly students followed by the teachers.

          • Cary D Cotterman says

            These are informal comments, not term papers or theses. No one is obliged to provide references. Do your own research!

      • Dominic Aiello says

        Middlebury has a 1.1 billion dollar endowment for 2500 kids. In my opinion they should be more than able to hire proper security.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Jack B. Nimble

          Thanks. Yes we must keep these numbers in perspective.

          “Academic values include things like … it isn’t hard to find non-academic staff in HR and elsewhere who are shitting on academic values.”

          That’s an interesting thought. You make a dichotomy between the academics and the support staff. One might expect a direct conflict, but it would seem that at the very least the academics have rather caved in to the diktat of the admins if not outright supporting an agenda which, as you say, would seem to be the opposite of what academics are supposed to be about.

          “But the recent trend has been for power on campuses to flow away from faculty and toward non-academic staff, not the other way around.”

          That at least seems undeniable. I hope others expand on you comment.

      • Jennifer Gozlan says

        Students have the right to peaceful protest. They do not have the right to interfere with the learning of fellow students. If schools evicted kids for violent protest, they’d find a way to voice objection peacefully.

      • Joe says

        It would be a shame if it came to ditching outside speakers, and it may come to that. It denies students opportunities during their time at the college and it denies them a valuable lesson in how to deal, ironically, with genuine diversity by example. I suspect some colleges may move to webcasting from somewhere off campus with Q & A monitored by the speaker him/her self. As for the violence at certain universities, the calculation is to cause such cost for certain types of speakers so as to not invite them or force their sponsors to pay a security premium (sort of the first amendment equivalent of a poll tax).

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Joe

          We should remember that the 1st Amendment doesn’t apply to private institutions in the US, although in some circumstances civil rights acts DO apply. And the Trump admin. has given its ‘blessing’ to the idea that private schools CAN censor speakers for ideological or religious reasons.

          I personally don’t think that the students lost much by not hearing Legutko, and I have some concerns about the outfit that originally invited him to campus. See here, for example:

          Koch-Supported Entity Helped Fund Controversial Speaker at Middlebury, by Molly Walsh [https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2019/04/19/koch-supported-entity-helped-fund-controversial-speaker-at-middlebury , footnotes added]

          A Virginia-based think tank heavily funded by billionaire Charles Koch is among the financial backers of a Middlebury College lecture series that reignited an intense debate about campus free speech this week.

          Middlebury’s Alexander Hamilton Forum was to host a public talk by conservative Polish politician and writer Ryszard Legutko on Wednesday. College administrators canceled the lecture, citing security worries, as protestors who branded Legutko a homophobe prepared to demonstrate.

          The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University helps fund the Alexander Hamilton Forum, the forum’s director, Middlebury assistant professor Keegan Callanan, confirmed to Seven Days Friday. The Hamilton series is meant to broaden debate and inquiry at the highly selective private liberal arts college.

          Callanan, via email, said the grant came entirely from the institute’s free speech project, funded by the Asness Family Foundation. Clifford S. Asness is a billionaire hedge fund manager.[1] All grants, including the ones for the Hamilton Forum, are reviewed by college officials, Callanan said.

          Koch, a conservative political activist who Forbes magazine says is worth $52 billion, has given the institute millions of dollars. He serves on its board, as do two representatives of the Charles Koch Foundation.

          The institute gave the Alexander Hamilton Forum $15,000 this school year.
          Two other organizations also funded the series, according to Callanan: The J.P. Morgan Charitable Giving Fund gave $78,000, and the Jack Miller Center contributed $2,000.[2]”

          [1] Fortune magazine calls Clifford Asness ‘an outspoken critic of President Obama’ and ‘an active Republican donor.’

          [2] The Academic Council Chairman of the Jack Miller Center is James Ceaser, who gave a talk at Middlebury as part of the Alexander Hamilton Forum on Thursday, March 14, 2019. This seems like a quid pro quo–Miller Center contributes money to the Forum and the Forum then invites one of the Miller staff to give a talk as part of their lecture series. That’s not illegal, but it does raise questions about whether the choice of speakers is being driven by the outside funders.

          Note: The talk by Legutko was cosponsored by Middlebury’s Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, but all seven student members of the Rohatyn advisory board voted to OPPOSE the talk by Legutko.

          Bottom Line: Conservative-funded Forum invites mostly conservative and libertarian speakers to campus [Legutko, Bill Kristol, Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Michael Munger], along with the occasional leftist. Move along, nothing to see here.

          • Douglas Levene says

            “Bottom Line: Conservative-funded Forum invites mostly conservative and libertarian speakers to campus.” So what? Your bottom line is actually your premise, and no one except other leftists can see what conclusions you think should be drawn from it. The fact that conservative professors and students invite conservative speakers, sometimes with financial assistance from public spirited third parties, is evidence to me of a robust marketplace of ideas. There’s certainly no shortage of leftists speakers at Middlebury.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Douglas Levene

            ‘………students invite conservative speakers……’

            But the student advisory board of Middlebury’s Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs voted unanimously to OPPOSE Legutko’s visit.

            And you ignored the possible quid pro quo in having a staffer at the Miller Center [one of the funders of the lecture series] give a lecture as part of the series.

            ‘……evidence to me of a robust marketplace of ideas….’

            But the main theme of this thread is how hostile American liberal arts colleges are to any ideas that aren’t socialist or progressive. Conservatives can’t have it both ways!

            Bottom Line–It’s clear that the Alexander Hamilton Forum is NOT ideologically neutral and NOT independent of its donor base. If the ‘shoe’ were on the other foot [e.g., Soros in Hungary], conservatives would be up in arms over this.

          • Mike says

            Jack B. Nimble,

            You say “the Trump admin. has given its ‘blessing’ to the idea that private schools CAN censor speakers for ideological or religious reasons.” How/when did they do this? My understanding was that they had done just the opposite.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Mike

            “…..[ insidehighered.com , 3/21/2019 , emphasis added] White House executive order prods colleges on free speech, program-level data and risk sharing by Andrew Kreighbaum

            President Trump on Thursday delivered on his promise of an executive order that would hold colleges that receive federal research funding accountable for protecting free speech…..

            It directs 12 federal grant-making agencies to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget to certify that colleges receiving federal research funds comply with existing federal law and regulations involving free academic inquiry. While the administration expects public institutions to uphold the First Amendment, the order says, private colleges are expected to comply with their “stated institutional policies” on freedom of speech. The free-speech directive doesn’t apply to federal student aid programs.”

            So private colleges are expected to follow their own rules on speech or else…….. nothing? An evangelical university, for example, is perfectly free to suppress non-evangelical speech with Trump’s ‘blessing’, provided the speech rules are written down somewhere. But to avoid entanglement with the separation of church/state, a secular liberal university must also be free to suppress non-liberal speech, if it so desires and the rules are written down somewhere.

      • X. Citoyen says

        Claims about the cost of security are disingenuous. If the school announced that violent or disruptive protests would no longer be permitted on campus and that students participating in such protests would be expelled and off-campus participants arrested and charged, the turn-out would be halved the next time around. If the administration followed through on the threat and expelled and arrested violent protesters, that would be the end of it.

        After all, how come the cost of security is only ever used to justify cancelling speakers and never to justify expelling students and prosecuting outsiders? We’re given the excuse that controversial speakers cannot be invited because security costs too much. But administrators never defend expelling students and arresting outsiders for this reason.

        • E. Olson says

          X – I expect the administration is terrified that some of the arrested students would be the sons and daughters of wealthy donors who might withhold further gifts and/or members of “oppressed” minorities that would hurt the diversity statistics of the school if they were expelled.

          • X. Citoyen says

            EO,

            I don’t doubt that this is one of the many rationalizations they adopt to persuade themselves that they’re not risk-averse careerists who’ll burn their capital to get ahead. But the reality is that the college holds the cards once the student is enrolled. The conversation goes like this: “I understand you’re upset, but expulsions needn’t be for life. If a well-to-do parent wanted to pay ‘restitution’ on the child’s behalf, well, perhaps we could see our way to re-evaluating the case…” The bottom line is that the only thing forcing the non-ideologues in the administration is cowardice.

        • Mike Kelly says

          Readers might want to remember that UC Berkeley incurred expenses of around $350K for security several years ago when a right-winger was invited to speak on campus by a conservative campus group. The expected protesters were mostly non-students, and it was widely suspected that the invitation was primarily a political stunt to provoke “campus protests.” What we have here is a “campus group” funded by outside donations inviting a speaker to the campus whose primary goal appears to be fomenting opposition to his conservative views. I agree that such speakers have a right to their opinions, but many might question whether the primary goal is educational – or to cause a ruckus.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Mike Kelly

            The $350,000 figure is a good example of the negative externalities associated with controversial campus speech that I mentioned earlier today.

      • markbul says

        If they can’t defend free speech, they don’t deserve to exist. If it was a pride rally, they’d find the cops to protect it at all costs. Don’t be a simp.

      • ALAN WHITE says

        Surely Middlebury College is entitled to protection from outside rioters by the local and state authorities just as much as individual home owners. Or is every party required to maintain their own protective force?

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @ALAN WHITE

          Police investigate crimes on private property but generally don’t provide protective services unless there are specific credible threats [e.g., protection of synagogues and mosques]. That is why some bars, stores and homeowners associations hire private cops or off-duty cops to obtain that kind of protection from threats.

      • Cjones1 says

        Middlebury has a record of violent, counter protests. Just because the faculty allows students to mischaracterize and defame speakers does not mean such behavior is acceptable.
        They should not be able to scapegoat conservatives for actions committed in the past such as deathcamps run by Socialists/leftists or the slavery & segregation defended and maintained by the Democratic party.
        The action of the students protesting conservative speakers and ideas constitute an assault on the Vermont sons and daughters who defended freedom during the Revoultionary, Civil, and other wars that they distinguished themselves in.

      • Steve Simon says

        If you can afford a position of “Renee Wells, director of education for equity and inclusion.” Then I think you can afford security. Most of these kids would fold like a cheap suit if they were threatened with “real expulsion”. WE THE PARENTS who actually pay the freight have much more influence then we choose to exercise.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @Steve Simon

          After the “Murray affair” at Middlebury, some students were expelled, suspended or otherwise punished. And the campus referred some cases to the [town of] Middlebury PD, who was unable to make any arrests.

          The current ‘crop’ of students seems intent on avoiding past mistakes and keeping protests peaceful. I think that the admin over-reacted to the controversy surrounding the planned Legutko lecture and was primarily interested in avoiding more bad publicity–but I wasn’t there and don’t know if they made the right call.

          But here’s the thing about funding and the extra security that Middlebury College thought it needed, but didn’t have available at short notice:

          The Alexander Hamilton Forum is funded by donors with the explicit aim of promoting libertarian, limited-government and 1st amendment ideas [ http://sites.middlebury.edu/hamilton/about-us/ ]. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with that of course, although I wish that the program was more explicit about the funding. Why not say “This lecture is brought to you with generous support from the Charles Koch Foundation and the Asness Family Foundation”?

          By hosting controversial speakers, the Forum is imposing externalities on the rest of campus and the town of Middlebury, VT** [particularly the police dept.]. Charles Koch is worth over $50 billion, so he could offer to pay for extra security at Middlebury and not even notice the effect on his net worth.

          **erratum–in an earlier post, I located Middlebury College in CT, not VT.

      • I. M. Smart says

        Simple: Fire the ever-growing number of exorbitantly salaried inclusion and diversity administrators, and hire campus police. To stop this madness, alumni must close their wallets.

      • Ditching speakers is the only way to go, but what a shame that the snowflakes can utilize the heckler’s veto to shit-can hearing wonderful (or even not-so-wonderful) speakers for everyone. If they had any balls they’d let students know that preventing a guest from giving his/her talk would result in that student being expelled. Period.

    • DNY says

      The list is fairly short: the 49 that get a Green LIght rating from FIRE. They may have lunatic snowflakes active on campus, but they haven’t translated their demands into policy.

    • Mack says

      Why is there a handbasket? Is a handbasket a requisite for eternal separation of God?

    • m1shu says

      This is racketeering straight up. I don’t believe these people are injured for a minute. It reminds me of basketball players and soccer players who would flop on the ground, feigning injury in order to draw a foul. Notice how they are demanding that they hire staff that they want. This is straight out of the mafia.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Penn State recently hosted Charlie Kirk and Donald Trump Jr. A few protesters were escorted out after a few heckles.

  2. Nakatomi Plaza says

    Most administrators and professors don’t have a lot of options here. You cannot push back against the accusations of the students, no matter how stupid and unsubstantiated. You’ll be labeled a racist and a Trump supporter (Yes, this is a real threat that will be used against you), and you’ll wish to god you’d never opened your mouth. The student are calling the shots, which is a little ironic because they’re often paying a fortune for shitty educations. As a matter of self-preservation, it’s easiest to just put up with the bullshit and wait for the inevitable collapse.

    At one of my schools there was a big stink about not hiring a minority to fill an open faculty position. The #1 choice was a black candidate who didn’t take the job because it didn’t pay enough. There were no qualified minority candidates after that. Of course, that didn’t stop the complaints of racism and institutional bias.

    • E. Olson says

      NP – the rot starts at the top. If the President and Board announced a “free speech and no snow flake” policy similar to the U. of Chicago, and politely invited all students, faculty, and staff who disagreed to leave, this nonsense would stop. Another positive step would be a presidential announcement about the termination of all grievance studies departments and majors (as they have done in Hungary). And finally, an announcement that race, religion, sexual preferences and identities, and other “victim” markers would NOT be used for admission or hiring, and that only the most qualified people would be admitted/hired.

      Of course the rot throughout so many institutions of “higher learning” will likely mean that such announcements would lead to massive faculty and student protests and might pressure the President and board to resign (as Lawrence Summers found out at Harvard), but they should resist and stand their ground. I can guarantee that any school that would adopt such policies (particularly a higher status school) would see student applications increase, alumni donations increase, and an increase in the quality of applications for faculty positions.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        It’s probably too soon to see if Evergreen will survive, but I found this:

        “But it’s way worse than that. An update at Heterodox Academy (HA) by Mike Paros, another TESC biology professor, and one sympathetic to Weinstein and Heying, suggests enrollment may be much lower than expected:

        This fall, we expect less than 300 freshmen to attend Evergreen, a fifty percent drop from two years ago. It is the only four year institution in the state of Washington that has seen a decrease in applications, and is currently publicly funded for 4200 students, far greater than this year’s anticipated total attending class of 2800."

        Really, however much the kids enjoy their virtue performances, who really is going to actually pay money to attend such an institution?

        • K. Dershem says

          True-believer SJW students may be beyond hope, but perhaps parents who are footing the bill will realize that these colleges are out of control and refuse to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their children there.

          • Lightning Rose says

            And remember . . . 45% of CT voted for Trump.

        • E. Olson says

          Ray – Evergreen is toast. Weak leadership who still haven’t admitted to any mistakes in how things were handled, but has continued to add administrative overhead with more diversity and inclusion hires. I bet any faculty with decent records are actively looking for new positions elsewhere.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @K. Dershem
            @E. Olson

            NIce to see you gentlemen in substantive agreement. It seems that the unchecked rise in tuition has finally started to get parents asking questions. That, combined with the above will surely result in a shakeout. Perhaps when the wokest colleges start to fail, the whole of academia will awaken from this nightmare. It’s one of those not rare situations where the free market can and will solve the problem eventually.

      • Amin says

        @ E. Olson

        “Another positive step would be a presidential announcement about the termination of all grievance studies departments and majors (as they have done in Hungary).”

        It would be a negative and authoritarian step. And would be greatly harmful. One needs to improve courses and not destroy them by the order of some authoritarian governance. And yes – a course half based in science and the other based in the arts – gender studies – would be a very worthy course.

        “(as they have done in Hungary)”

        Or not.

        https://www.elte.hu/en/faculties/humanities

        “I can guarantee”

        How? And on what basis can “you” personally guarantee? What powers do you possess?

    • GrumpyBear says

      ” Most administrators and professors don’t have a lot of options here.”

      Short term, maybe true. Longer term, I don’t think so.

      MIddlebury rejects 4 applicants for every one that they accept. They don’t need to worry about falling enrollment like Evergreen. If they have a student body full of entitled, self-absorbed, whining snowflakes, it is entirely their fault for offering admission to those students. Their administration decides who to accept, which professors to hire, who to reward and punish, how the D&E department operates, etc.

      Admittedly without evidence, I’d guess that the administrators and professors do what they do because they agree with the protesters. It won’t change until the pain of caving in to demands exceeds the pain of standing firm – except in rare cases (UArts with Paglia and George Mason with Kavanaugh) I can only see that happening if there’s a financial crisis triggered by a donor rebellion or some other outside force.

    • @Nakatomi, I agree that professors feel the pressure, but I think you are wrong to say “the students are calling the shots.” That may be the perception but that is 100% because the admin is letting a tiny minority of students have inordinate power. And believe me, it’s not nearly as large a proportion as professors seem to believe. We’re talking about probably fewer than 5% of the student population, and that’s in a liberal college.

      There is zero reason admin needs to listen to them; they could just as easily say, ‘Sorry, three students don’t get to change the university’s entire code of conduct without even a discussion with the board, a vote amongst students, and so on.” But they don’t. They always cave. Look at Yale after that insane student shrieked and cursed at a well regarded professor for daring to have a wife who dared to say that students might be able to choose Halloween costumes themselves as opposed to having Yale choose for them. What happened? Was the student reprimanded? Far from it. She was rewarded the next year. The professor and his wife quit, but the student was given an award by Yale. So the message is quite clear–insane unbalanced students are given inordinate power by admin. Other students have to shut up and tow the line, for if a tenured professor could be driven out because of his wife, imagine what would happen to a lowly student, particularly a non-rich one. So most students walk around afraid of speaking.

      From the perspective of a college student, it’s the professors and the admin that are the ones in charge of this insanity. Don’t forget that students are all young and are very easily manipulated. They also have no real power; the only power they have is what adults give them. It’s more that the admin is posturing for other admin, professors are posturing for other professors, and all are posturing for Twitter and mainstream media.Admins calculate that it’s easier to cave to 3 students and other crazy admin than to speak out forcefully, But that’s just cowardice. Look at the UArts dean and how he spoke out protecting Paglia and nothing bad happened. It’s also that they themselves – particularly the equity people – are neo Maoists and believe this stuff and are using the students as tools and mouthpieces to lend themselves authority and credentials. So it’s a confluence of dogma and cowardice on the part of the adults in the room.

      My own kids are totally non-SJW and experience hands down the most indoctrination from the professors themselves, not the students. It is impossible to speak out in class, or you will get a bad grade. This has happened to my kids and others’ kids many times, not in “Gender studies” classes, but in classes you wouldn’t expect, eg a German language class (‘we do not use the word ‘illegal immigrant’ here. no person is illegal. In your essays you may not use the phrase ‘illegal immigration.’), or in poly sci or sociology. Professors make sweeping assertions that they treat as fact (eg fact: “Trump is a racist” or fact: “People who support Trump are largely white racists” or fact: “Immigrants have lower crime rates than non immigrants so if you’re against ‘undocumented workers” you are a racist and bigot–these are literally all assertions from professors in my kids’ classes). The students not only have to listen to this but they have to parrot back the talking points in subjectively graded essays or risk a D. This isn’t teaching at all.

      I’m tired of pundits blaming students. This has nothing to do with students. They are young and easily manipulated. This is adults here–professors, admin, parents, politicians, media. If students didn’t believe that if they say x or y, grown ups wouldn’t go belly up, they wouldn’t say x or y.

      • James Lee says

        Good comment D per usual.

        I’d like to share a recent “insight” which is pretty banal. Two intelligent friends of one of my close friends, both of whom have struggled for years with mental health and drug abuse issues, now spend an inordinate amount of time on social media making political rants, mostly about Trump. These people are not emotionally or psychologically healthy.

        It just reminds me that some of the loudest voices spewing the most vitriolic bullshit are seriously disturbed people who receive dubious forms of social rewards and amplification in our current social media and clickbait corporate media environment. The level of emotional immaturity and psychological pathology on display during the Yale event, the Evergreen State College meltdown, and the crucifixion of the Covington Catholic HS kids is astounding. The more emotional and outrageous the pathology one can express, the greater the social rewards, often coming from “caring” administrators.

        I think Rod Dreher is onto something with his idea of the Benedict Option. We may need to begin to develop islands of sanity organized around sets of higher principles. Some islands could perhaps be secular, some religious. Ideally all would highlight the core principles of the West- due process, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, freedom from coercion by the State (and increasingly, freedom from coercion from corporate tech oligopolies who are often in partnership with the State).

        Modern Western culture has become homogenized, corporatized, and toxic. It is centered around the lowest common denominator, who appears to be an emotionally disturbed 12 year old, prone to frequent screaming fits. And many of the “responsible adults” are doing their best to look hip and gain the approval of all those 12 year olds.

        I wonder if any human society in any culture has ever exhibited such characteristics. I doubt it. It takes an enormous lack of contact with survival pressures to get this insane.

        • K. Dershem says

          *We may need to begin to develop islands of sanity organized around sets of higher principles. Some islands could perhaps be secular, some religious. Ideally all would highlight the core principles of the West- due process, presumption of innocence, freedom of speech, freedom from coercion by the State.”

          Sadly, this is exactly what colleges and universities were once intended to be. A growing number of campuses have adopted the University of Chicago’s free speech principles — hopefully these institutions will thrive while regressive ones will falter.

        • Polly styrene says

          Exactly- result of too much distance from the base layer of the hierarchy of needs. A few years of working for the energy sucking corporate overlords will put an end to invented trials and tribulations.

      • Nakatomi Plaza says

        This has nothing to do with students? Please. It doesn’t begin with the students, but it is manifested through them on campus. Just try challenging a black student about racism or a Latin student about immigration. Try doing so in front of a class of young people who have been trained to think that nothing is ever their fault and see how quickly you lose the class. It isn’t worth the trouble. Students are customers now, so don’t give me shit about how we just need to be tough on them and ignore their nonsense. We’re playing the hand we’ve been dealt.

        I’m skeptical of your claims about your kids’ schools, too. That sort of relentless politicizing doesn’t match my experiences and sounds an awful lot like your agenda poking through.

        • @Nakatomi, why are you so emotional in your response? Why are you saying “don’t give me shit,” and talking about “relentless politicizing” and “agenda” when I shared my own experience?

          I’m assuming you’re a professor? (I hope you don’t get this angry in class too!) I’m a teacher now, but was a professor for several years, and am friends with many. My own kids have gone to ‘elite’ colleges that are often on the Most Egregious lists here, and as a teacher and parent, I’ve heard many stories.

          Now, I’ll definitely allow that my own take on this is based merely on a collection of anecdotes and logical inferences I infer from these–not based on research or data with controls or at least surveys. Neither, however, is your take. We have drawn different conclusions. That doesn’t call for you to be overly emotional or to insult me by accusing me of an ‘agenda’ while, presumably, you are clean as the driven snow and your motives are pure.

          What frustrates me is that your response is very typical of many professors, who, based on their experience in the classroom with explicit and implicit threats emanating from their own admin, conclude from this that the extreme student behavior is far more widespread and powerful than it is, and that students have far more power than they really do. I think this is a fallacy and encourages tenured professors to be more afraid of students than they should be. Again I definitely think professors have something to fear, but I think they risk having their focus in the wrong place.

          Think about this. To take your example, if you “challenge” a black kid about racism (I’m assuming by this you mean, try a discussion that doesn’t toe the strict Narrative) where is your fear coming from? Yes, a spoiled entitled kid can go to admin. But it’s admin that has the power, not the kid. If the kid went to admin and accused you, there is no reason for admin to listen. Kids go to admin all the time, mostly for grades. They rarely listen (unless you’re in a terribly run college/department). It’s only in the Social Justice arena that admin gives the students the power. A student can scream till they’re blue in the face that they deserve to have a B not an F, and rarely will anything come of it. But the second they say, “Professor Bob said a racist thing” especially if they go the social media route, admin jumps and lends the student enormous power. In other words, they use the student as a proxy to bully and intimidate professors who might not want to tow the line. This is not the same thing at all as students having the power.

          Don’t commit the fallacy of thinking that just because 5% of students are spoiled children encouraged by adults to be little Maoists, that means the other 95% are the same. In our overall population, I believe only 8% are SJWs, and fewer are so extreme as to turn people in and be the SJW unelected police.

          My own kids have been quite miserable in their respective colleges – in this area, not in all areas – and the vast majority of their misery has come from professors and admin, not at all from fellow students. Yes some of the students are really extreme. But most are normal kids who just want to learn, party, and also on. On an on-the-ground level, they see the most radicalism from admin – particularly the presidents who regularly tweet radicalized views eg on ‘migrants’ or who spout ‘diversity equity and inclusion’ in every other tweet – and also professors, who, it must be said, also hold power over the students. All of my kids have had classes in which they dared not speak out. In many classes, the coursework itself is SJWish even in classes in which that shouldn’t come in – eg, writing classes in which they read only SJW authors who rail against White people; assignments in which all of the ‘choices’ are SJW choices, eg a sociology class in which the only essay choices are about Trans people, racism, Trump’s fascism, and so on; history classes which casually throw in capitalism’s ‘evils’ and literally ignore anything about critiques on communism even in a modern history class on Russia. All this has held true in all the colleges my kids have gone to. IT has gotten worse, far worse, in the 12 years since my kids started college.

          Again I’m more than open to a scientific study on this. I wish someone would do it. But I do object to being accused of ‘agendas’ and ‘politicizing’ simply for taking a point of view you disagree with and which you personally don’t experience.

        • When schools were state paid experiences, one mostly towed the line, at least acted reasonably, when sober. Customers, on the other hand, are always right (even when not).

      • Marshal says

        I agree that professors feel the pressure, but I think you are wrong to say “the students are calling the shots.”

        Completely agree. Radical faculty and administrators can’t act as these students do without risking their own standing within the institution. So they train student allies to do what they cannot and then claim to have a responsibility to support them. Thus they never have to admit personal inability to deal with life – it’s always on behalf of others. Similar to how everyone must reference “underprivileged” or “at-risk” groups in other settings to ensure no one thinks the mental weakness is their own.

        This is all orchestrated including by senior university officials who hired and support the radical faculty and administrators in the first place.

  3. Shamrock says

    Lord of the Flies comes to mind.

    If this is what western civilization is destined to become, perhaps it is for the best if it ends.

    • JAB says

      I’m pretty sure this is exactly what the postmodernists want you to say.

  4. Sander Malschaert says

    Well done Dominic, the world needs to see this. Personally I would also abuse the rules and insist all staff address you as Your Highness at all times.

  5. Peter from Oz says

    It’s interesting how Americans refer to colleges as “schools”. It seems like many of the snowflakes who attend them are really still like schoolchildren rather than undergraduates.

  6. Heike says

    This is a struggle session straight out of Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. All that’s missing are the dunce caps and airplaning the professors. The students are the Red Guards.

    All the other elements are there. Humiliating the teachers, blaming them for imaginary problems, a radical Left that sees enemies everywhere, and above all the desire to oppress and punish.

    Time was, we could laugh at these things and relax, sure in the knowledge that free speech and the exchange of ideas kept us safe. But no longer. Imagine these Red Guards 20 years from now: instead of being betrayed to the barren countryside to learn from ignorant people, they have all of their wrongs validated by graduating cum laude.

  7. Geary Johansen says

    As someone who went to uni in the 90’s, I would like to nominate my generation as the second greatest generation.

    When we were at college, professors actively bemoaned the fact that we were the most politically apathetic generation in history. We were more interested in going to raves than protesting. Amongst my friends, the politically active on campus were referred to as ‘the silly hat brigade’, seen as pretentious and whilst many of us may have held liberal views on legalising weed, talking about it was boring and perceived as unlikely to illicit any real change.

    Plus, whilst it may have been the generation before us who ran the greatest economic, social and technological transformation in history- feeding the world, providing it with medicine and raising standards of living almost universally- it was us who actually did the work. We were the key demographic that shifted public policy on all manner of issues, perhaps most significantly in relation to gay marriage and the belief that government has no business going into peoples bedroom and deciding who can or can’t get married.

    It is with general sense of alarmed bemusement that we see the generations that follow us, inviting government back in- with nonsensical ideas like affirmative consent or the concept that if a husband and wife go out for a romantic dinner, drink a few glasses of wine together and consequently make love- they are raping each other.

    What utter nonsense!

    But what really hurts is the sheer lunacy of political polarisation and the idea that socialism is going to fix everything- especially given that fact it has never worked, and only ever ended in catastrophe. What does work is socialised systems within free market capitalist economies. If you look at any of the scandinavian countries, they are free market economies with larger social safety nets- they actually get really, really annoyed when left wing politicians in other countries try to suggest otherwise. In fact, in order to pay for their socialised systems, they have had to deregulate, farm out public services to the private sector, lower corporation taxes and raise consumption taxes- they actually rank higher on indexes of economic liberty than countries further to the right, in terms of the Overton Window.

    For anyone wishing to learn more, please check out Johan Norberg’s excellent Sweden: Lessons for America- it really is an informative watch on Youtube.

    The tragedy is if only half of young people had read Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’, they would have ample ammunition to critique the West constructively. On literally the first page, he identifies the productive utilisation of a nations labour as key to a nation’s ability to thrive- something that is clearly not happening in many western countries. As a principle critic of the East India Trading Company for its size, unaccountability and tendency to require taxpayer bail outs, he would be appalled by the over-corporatisation of key sectors in many economies, particularly the banking sector and the way the American government has systemically encouraged finance to take on unsustainable risks on the promise of future bail outs. He would have actively encouraged the growth of a labour rich, competitive small business economy, providing niche products and services.

    With graduate contribution schemes for higher education, it might actually be possible to provide a low cost, accountable university system. Get actuaries involved, with a $10k allowance for gender studies courses, and $40k allowance for engineering graduates it might actually be possible to push young people towards courses that might actually get them well-paying job. With a mixed public and private health system, with a libertarian view towards commisioning, and the simple innovation of pay us when you’re dead (with government eating bad debt)- it might be possible for men in there 40’s and 50’s to an actual physio to fix their backs and for women in their 60’s to not have to wait two years in agony for a hip replacement. By commissioning out public services like bin collection and recycling to the private sector, it might actually be possible to redeploy labour into higher productivity, higher paid work, and not send plastics and glass half way round the world to be recycled, only to have it buried in landfill.

    Increasingly, citizen of the world should start to look at Happiness, Small Business and Labour Participation Indexes to see how other countries rate and why. Whilst it may have sound good when Kennedy said over half a century ago ‘Ask not what your country…’, but perhaps a more appropriate question these days, is what have you done for me lately or do I feel shafted?

    • E. Olson says

      GJ – either you attended an engineering school, or you didn’t attend classes to get properly “indoctrinated” on victomology and the joys of socialism, because the Leftist crazies have been running most non-engineering school campuses for at least 25 years.

      • Amin says

        @ E. Olson

        I don’t think you personally have ever been to university. And your indoctirnation happens here… ’tis why so often you end up making lying [making things up].

        • K. Dershem says

          Amin, I don’t support E. Olson’s polemical approach (in fact, I no longer read his comments at all), but if you choose to engage with him I don’t think insults are the best approach. If you think a commenter making false statements, I would encourage you to explain why and provide evidence for your claims. You’re very unlikely to persuade the person in question if he or she is committed to their ideology, but you might influence people reading the exchange.

          • Amin says

            @ K. Dershem

            “I don’t think insults are the best approach”

            Sure. But that is you and not me. Used properly and insult does its job… oh and just about everyone does it too.

            “I would encourage you to explain why and provide evidence for your claims.”

            What claims? I simply challenge his BS. That isn’t making a positive claim.

            ” You’re very unlikely to persuade the person in question if he or she is committed to their ideology”

            Rarely interested in changing people’s mind off their ideology. Not my problem at all.

          • K. Dershem says

            Amin – fair enough. Everyone has their own reason for commenting. It’s true that insults and ad hominem attacks are extremely common online, but I’m more interested in having constructive conversations (which is why I avoid reading and interacting with commenters who are incapable or unwilling to engage in good-faith dialogue). You obviously have different goals, and I wish you the best.

          • Amin says

            @ Northern Observer.

            “Amin is a dumb cunt ”

            Yet managed to exert a massive influence over you so very quickly!

            I can do this all day long…

        • Denny Sinnoh says

          Imitating Homer Simpson:
          “Amin is a stupid head”

          • Amin says

            @ Denny Sinnoh

            Yes. Completely dumb. So dumb that if I wish to insult someone I am very direct. I will just outright call you a cunt and be done with it.

          • Northern Observer. says

            Amin is a dumb cunt with pretensions of nobility and bravery. Probably a Canadian high school teacher.

      • Defenstrator says

        I disagree. I also went to university in the 90s and the professors did bemoan that all the students were so boring. We went to class or socialized, and didn’t do any screaming it ranting about things, and the stupid was confined to Gender Studies, which the other Liberal Arts students, of which I was one, looked down upon as a quisling, and not to be taken seriously.

  8. Barney Doran says

    Who the hell would spend gargantuan sums of money and send their kids to these ‘elite’ mental cesspools? And what self-respecting alumni would go on donating to them? Stop applying, stop giving. Starve these monsters before they devour our children and vomit them back up as far left clockwork drones.

  9. the gardner says

    Mr Aiello, get out now, don’t waste your money at this “school”.

    It is time schools be required to publish how many on staff— faculty and admin—are part of the diversity/equality/gender cabal and how much of their course work is oriented this way. I bet there is a causal relationship between tuition costs and the appearance of such programs and the headcount associated with them. What a waste.

  10. Rev. Wazoo! says

    Mr Aiello,

    Thanks for your forthright actions and lucid prose shining a spotlight on the se events and the context in they occurred. It’s especially valuable that you’ve directed attention to the open alliance between activist students with certain administrators/faculty – remembering that the Diversity Industry as sideline provides many faculty with a well-paid part-time sinecure.

    Forgive me if I lament that you didn’t capture the whole meeting (if only for historical purposes) but I fully understand your inability to stomach any more of it. I commend you for recording that portion, releasing it and now for accepting responsibility for doing so. Great kudos are due you for your public service which I hope will inspire others to do likewise.

    At the risk of seeming to succumb to the victimhood contagion, let me point out that it’s not so much an alliance between the Diversity Industry and the student activists but an intentional manipulation of the latter by the former. Undergrads are soon replaced but increases in the administrative fiefdoms endure.

    This shows the lopsidedness of the “alliance” because most of the students’ demands are to increase the revenue streams and institutional power of those “allies” who put them up to it. The main elements of the demands fit in this category: hiring more counsellors, creating a Black Studies center etc are designed to benefit those in the Diversity Industry for long after the students demanding them have left.

    We now see students tansparently coached to demand more money for the people coaching them.

  11. Dominic Allaway says

    Well done for being so clear sighted and brave – in stark contrast it seems to the college staff. Shameful.

    Your record of what is happening at Middlebury is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying.

    Who on earth would want to to send their kids to places like this??? And to pay for it???

      • Andrew Roddy says

        Possibly hoping to see some action on the frontline of the culture wars. Does it not seem like he is enjoying it immensely? All this could be great CV depending on your projected career path. He has already had his chest adorned with virtual online medals for gallantry. Already talk of a commission.

  12. House of Shards says

    One can’t help but wonder what kind of education would be available to these pious simpletons should the “whiteness” be erased from the curriculum.

    I suggest that the professors and administrators comply for, say, a week. Nothing that white people have done will be discussed on campus for a week.

    This would leave…what?

    (Side note: I seem to be garnering, unfortunately, that much of what “people of color” bring to academia is an obsession with “whiteness.” I wish they had more to offer, and admittedly, the evidence seems confined to videos of situations like these — for example, the classics conference wherein persons of color were appeased with catering to grievances, rather than discussing — shock! CLASSICS…the black “academic” who announced spending his time recording how few blacks are published in the field (rather than writing something of substance and getting it published)

    Another side note: As long as white people cater to this idiocy, by “listening” to the grievances, rather than just pushing to get along with the actual subjects, there won’t be anything to learn but GRIEVANCE…

    or have we already arrived at this?

    Give them what they want. Let them pay …. for nothing.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @House of Shards

      Indeed, let’s have a university that is certified to have been completely decolonized. A university that has been purged of any trace of whiteness. It would surely be interesting to watch it flourish.

  13. Bryan says

    Another shining example of the inmates taking over the asylum. Perhaps the entire country should follow Evergreen’s lead and encourage all white males not to show up for work for a week as soldiers, pilots, policemen, professors, plumbers, contractors, physicians, and truck drivers and see if it has any detrimental impact on the lives of the snowflakes in this country.

  14. luysii says

    Yes the squeaking wheel does get the grease, but what percentage of the student body does Mr. Aiello think these people represent?

    The Princeton Open Campus Coalition fought this sort of thing in 2015 fairly effectively. It helped that one of their leaders (Solveig Gold) was academically at the top of her class. They were aided by a prof from Romania who said that various forms of mandatory training proposed by the professionally aggreived reminded him of re-eductation back in the bad old days.

    • Dominic Aiello says

      I would estimate around 15%. About 330 kids out of 2500 students signed up for the protest, which is 13% of the student body. Accounting for those who maybe had other commitments, and likely 15-20% of the students would’ve protested. A larger percentage would’ve rather he not come to campus, however I do not have an estimate.

  15. Farris says

    Two observations regard these statements in the article:
    “….the purpose being to “determine whether a speaker’s beliefs align with Middlebury’s community standards.”
    Statements like these are often cited as the reason those wishing to suppress free speech give. This reasoning could not be any less authoritarian. It basically states agree with us or don’t speak.

    “The SGA also demanded “recurrent bias training to be provided to all hired staff, faculty, administrators, as well as all students,” with “the names of any faculty, staff, or administration members who do not participate in bias training to be made publicly available to all students.”
    It the lethal dose of hydrogen cyanide gas has Nazi connotations, this statement has segregationist connotations. Segregationist frequently demanded membership lists of civil rights organizations for the purpose of determining who best to target.

    Free Speech, freedom of association and other basic civil rights appear dead at Middlebury College appear dead, fortunately it the death was for a good cause.

  16. bob says

    Dude, transfer NOW! One of my friends left and said he couldn’t be happier. You’ll just have three more years of this dreck and it will only get worse.

  17. GrumpyBear says

    Good lord, when did college students become “kids”? An 18 to 21 year old human is legally an adult and should be treated accordingly. I would have been insulted to have been treated as a child when I was in college.

    My twin boys will start college this fall. Whenever someone from the university says “we’re going to take good care of you”, I turn to them and say, “no, you are going to take care of yourselves.”

    • Polly styrene says

      Thank you for raising children with an expectation of self-sufficiency.

  18. candyman says

    Good job Dom, although you have shown the brave strength to critique the insanity at this worthless “crazy institution” your real lifelong teaching moment will be the intuitive strength to walk away. That will be the character builder.

  19. TheSnark says

    As a Middlebury alum (class of ’76), I can say that I did receive a solid liberal arts education there. But even back then you could see the trends. Most of the young professors were draft dodgers and well to the left of center. A few years later they kicked ROTC off campus. A few years after that they banned fraternities for being “exclusive”. And so on. I stopped donating to the college fund in 1980.

    But the most absurd thing was always their “commitment” to “diversity”. Middlebury town and college are by far and away the Whitest place I have ever lived. The inner city kids they recruited while I was there to meet their self-imposed quotas could not compete academically, and culturally had nothing in common with the well-off white kids who made up 95% of the students. They had even less in common with working-class white townies. Most dropped out after a year or two. But the school loved to point to them to prove how progressive they were.

    The demographics seem to be much the same now, it is still a place for rich white kids (ok, today there are some rich Asians, too). But the past vague PC feelings have morphed into an aggressively sanctimonious guilt complex that seems to have taken over part of the student body, and most of the administration.

    But from the article, it sounds like there is still a constituency for sanity at the college. But for that sanity to come back will require the board to grow a spine. If they do, I might start donating again.

    • Dominic Aiello says

      Thank you very much for your insight. I sure hope that you and any other alums reading this would be able to somehow voice your concerns to the school to help protect free speech. At this point, the Alexander Hamilton Forum, which is the organization that brings these speakers, seems to be the last chance of providing viewpoint diversity, and that is only if the school does not begin to censor who they bring.

      • Donald Summers (Middlebury '90) says

        Dominic– you are correct, but you don’t go far enough. The guilt there is deep, and it’s by design.

        Midd’s admissions policy consistently admits only 10% from low-income families. It is intentionally rich and white. It freaked me out when I was there in the late 1980’s, and it still does.

        I’ve corresponded with President Laurie Patton on the subject after national statistics showed that it is still… the richest, whitest campus in the nation… but while President Patton will mouth a lot of good-sounding words, she’s zero plans to increase the proportion of poor students on campus. Check to see if they’ve an actionable, measurable target in their plans. Last time I checked? Zero.

        So. Anyone on that campus who even mutters a word in support of social justice or equality is totally full of the worst kind of horseshit. The entire community is complicit. Props to you for fighting on the inside– and please up the skewed admissions policy as proof the entire campus is a hypocrite parade.

        PS Transfer to Amherst. They’ve increased the proportion of low-income students from 10% to 25% in under a decade. It’s totally possible– but this is a corrupt place.

        • Andrew Roddy says

          Dominic, I believe I read online a short essay of yours from a couple of years ago. The theme was frustration with social polarisation and how it sabotages communication between people with opposing views. You seemed to have a determination not to accept that status quo. In spite of your recent experiences I hope you manage to preserve that passionate instinct for bridge-building. That, more than anything, may be what is needed. Good man.

  20. If all there is is grievance. Then in the end to keep the mob busy, they will push “violent revenge”.

  21. “As I headed over, he explained that Professor Legutko was indeed on campus, and would be giving his talk to a political-science class. I learned that students in the class had unanimously voted in support of his appearance.”
    Unanimously! There’s hope…

  22. JFSullivan says

    According to Heather MacDonald, author of “The Diversity Delusion,” a major issue feeding this insanity on campus is the existence of race and gender quotas. She gives the example of herself scoring 650 on SAT Math and being admitted to MIT where she would need to compete against 800 scoring males who would simply outperform her. If a student cannot compete even in a rudimentary fashion in reading, math, science, etc., they will resort to grievance studies and protests. If colleges did away with race and gender quotas and only admitted the best students, campus grievance culture and coddling would become unnecessary.

  23. hail to none says

    Very good piece. It illustrates that the rot starts at the top– the Deans model behavior and the students amplify it. The Deans are ideologues who are unfit to promote the principal purpose of universities, which is to foster an environment of open inquiry and pursuit of knowledge.

  24. Sydney says

    “…the school was no longer run according to any coherent set of ideas set down the administration, but rather by the knee-jerk diktats of a small group of radicalized students operating in open alliance with like-minded staffers.”

    Absolutely.

    By the time these these wrongly politicized brats get to college/university they already KNOW that they have far-left adult ‘allies,’ because their K-12 teachers indoctrinated them with these backwards ideas in the first place. They know they have adults on their side. The far-left colleges and universities taught their K-12 teachers.

    It makes me consider their parents. Instead of ‘The Greatest Generation’ of people who sacrificed for their nations, Boomer-era parents have been ‘The Greatest Disappointment Generation.’

  25. “Dominic Aiello is a member of the Middlebury College class of 2022.5.”

    Dominic, you’re willingness to speak the truth is truly courageous. However, you surely know that, having exposed that the Emperor’s nakedness, he will never allow you to graduate. Someone will accuse you of something in the next 3 years, and a college administrative hearing will decide you should be expelled.

    If you’re not already, start looking for a new university. They don’t want you; and to be fair, why would you want them? Why are they worth your money?

    • Mike says

      Quick, run to U of Chicago, the Winterfell of intellectual free thought and campus sanity.

  26. Dan Flehmen says

    The author showed great courage in writing this and will no doubt pay a heavy price as a Middlebury student.

  27. Gringo says

    ” The organizer told the crowd that “the academic institution is the greatest mobilizer of white supremacy.”

    Just look at the very large KKK student chapters on college campuses! 🙂
    (sarc, sarc)

  28. @Sander Malschaert “Your Highness” is MY new preferred pronoun!

  29. This essay is filled with many mistakes whether deliberate or through willful ignorance, I can’t say. But for example, here is the actual question the Chem Prof asked on his exam:
    “Hydrogen gas (HCN) is a poisonous gas, which Nazi Germany used to horrific ends in gas chambers during the Holocaust. The lethal dose for humans is approximately 300 mg of HCN gas per kilogram of air when inhaled. 1. If a room measured … cubic feet what mass of air would if have in g if the density of air at … degrees C is … ? (10 point question)

    So so many other errors too.

    • Stephanie says

      Morton, are you suggesting that not spending a paragraph quoting the full question is an error? You said nothing that wasn’t sufficiently covered in the piece.

    • Luis and JoAnne Howard says

      provide the “So [sic] so many other errors”

  30. Defenstrator says

    I fear the author is not being cynical enough when he lectures the staff on giving in to entitled students. I think it more likely that the students are the excuse which allows a small group of radical staff to push through changes that would otherwise not happen.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @defenestrator
      Yes, indeed and in cooperation with senior administrators oversee more funds and headcount while relishing the latitude to intimidate everyone else with big, arbitrary stick of Diversity&safety.

  31. Northern Observer says

    The Gold Standard reference for this are the YouTube video documents, interviews and essays produced by former Evergreen College alum Benjamin A Boyce. I am glad that such a level headed and kind soul has taken on the task of telling the truth about the crisis of the modern University.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm13xHVNFVwzHzK3QHSaZ3Q

  32. Bab says

    Its worth noting that this sort of posturing is mainly confined to elite, privately funded colleges in the US and elsewhere. As Claire Lehmann herself has noted, the universities in places like Australia, where tertiary education is still publicly funded and accessible to working class people to a large extent, there hasnt been anywhere near the level of excess.

  33. SerenityNow says

    Conservative-funded forum invites mostly conservative and libertarian speakers? The horror! Of course they do. But you would have them banned from speaking because they don’t align with your worldview?

    That’s a very authoritarian viewpoint to have.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @SerenityNow

      If you are replying to my comments above, whereTF did you get the idea that I support banning such speakers from campus?

      I AM in favor of transparency in academia, as in politics.

      As is common in philanthropy, it would be a good idea–IMO–to have an acknowledgement in all publicity material that the speaker series is funded by outside donors.

      And I would also like to see a disclaimer somewhere that ‘the views expressed are not necessarily those of Middlebury College, its faculty or its students.’

      That’s not too difficult, is it? And it is hardly ‘authoritarian’.

  34. Hestia says

    I teach at a liberal arts college and have decided: my kids will go to a community college and learn a trade. I don’t want them to turn into liberal mindless monkeys, like most of my students and colleagues.

  35. Geary Johansen says

    @ E. Olsen

    I dropped out of a English and Philosophy degree after a nasty car accident coming over a humpback bridge, in my second year. Even if this hadn’t happened, I probably would have had to repeat a year, because I was thoroughly aimless and complacent at the time.

    It was only later, in my thirties, that I found out that I was in the top 1% for engineering aptitude, according to a Morrisby test. I had just finished working as a manufacturing superuser for a PVC windows and doors company. Knowing that I could have been an engineer, a barrister or a science officer for a library service might have been a useful thing to know at 18, and might have led me to apply myself with greater diligence.

    I entered the workforce in ’92, so I might have missed the worst of the ideological takeover of the universities.

  36. John Boyle says

    Parents are eventually going to refuse to pay a fortune for this nonsense. But the market won’t solve the problem because the Bolsheviks will get their “free college for all” scam in place just in time to save these ivy gulag re-education camps. In fact, this is the real reason behind that particular policy give-away.

  37. Geary Johansen says

    It’s also worth checking out the story of Alice Dreger. The corporatisation of universities is a major factor, given that students are now customers, boycotts cost money to companies affiliating with universities and the authoritarian left is most likely to mobilise outrage mobs.

  38. krishnan says

    The (un)Civil war we are witnessing began sometime in 2015 (?) when we saw that Halloween Costume problem at Yale – it was shocking to see the students yelling and screaming at the Faculty Resident. What I am surprised is that schools like Middlebury and Yale and Harvard and all those do not (yet) have a line in their application forms that asks “Are you a conservative?” (i.e. do you refuse to believe what we are demanding you believe in?). It may actually be better if they make their selection criteria clear – “We do not want anyone who dares think for themselves or think what we do not believe in to be amongst us” – atleast then we will know to avoid such schools. I suspect however that there is self-selection underway – and a few years hence, we will see the full impact of such idiocy on such schools. As someone who chose to come to the US, I am shocked and saddened by how far we have fallen – it seems many of today’s students do not understand nor appreciate the amazing country we have – the free speech rights we enjoy and how we have an amazing collection of people with diverse opinions who help us understand the world by what they write or speak about (agree or disagree)

  39. Jay Salhi says

    I salute the author but caution him about the possibility of retribution. The fascist administrators won’t take kindly to being exposed.

  40. Pingback: What I Saw at Middlebury College | TrumpsMinutemen

  41. Lightning Rose says

    Middlebury, like all other colleges and universities, are part of the Marketplace of Education. You get to pay for the product you want. If people (parents) are unwilling to pay for leftist radical indoctrination masquerading as preparation for the world, they’ll take their children, tuition and patronage to those institutions who’ll teach without this bias. Leading to winners and losers among said institutions. This is what’s STILL GREAT about America. Vote with your feet!

  42. FreedomFan says

    How long before employers stop paying a premium to hire such brainless, reactionary “scholars” as the author describes?

  43. Mack says

    Some years ago I spent a wonderful summer at Bread Loaf courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American taxpayer. I especially remember David Hadass, of happy memory.

    I perceive that he might not now be welcome.

  44. David Van says

    Regarding the “Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” whose purpose is to “determine whether a speaker’s beliefs align with Middlebury’s community standards” – I know it’s over-used, but this is an Orwellian name: its purpose is to enforce conformity by unfairly excluding any speaker it deems undesirable. The exact opposite of what its name implies.

    Goebbels would be impressed.

  45. lorantritt says

    A sweet young freshman with no apparent bullshit detector gets his first lesson in life. Good on ya’ Middlebury! Go Panthers.

    • Andrew Roddy says

      @Iorantritt

      ‘A sweet young freshman with no apparent bullshit detector.’

      That seems to be how the narrative is framed. Does it pass the bullshit detector?

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  47. lloyd1927 says

    Those idiots who claim to be fighting “white supremacy” at liberal colleges are cowards. If they truly want to fight real white supremacists, the real things are not hard to find. The problem is that they are often violent and will strike back. It’s far easier to sally forth into battle against terrified liberals who will surrender at every opportunity and NOT strike back.

  48. Picktheredpill says

    Keep up the great work and the great writing!

  49. James Quigley says

    Not sure why you went to this school, since you already knew it was a looney bin.

  50. Geoff says

    Why do I keep thinking about the Red Guards and the insanity that infected China in the 60s ?

    so sad.

  51. cathy c says

    So glad my daughter didn’t go there..she applied but went to Harvard instead…so glad she missed this bullet

    • Luis and JoAnne Howard says

      harvard is not better, don’t kid yourself, it might be worse

  52. I attended one of the “other” NESCAC schools ( the others include Williams, Amherst, Hamilton, Tufts, Bates, Wesleyan, Trinity and Bowdoin). College administrators at Middlebury and its NESCAC sisters must grow up and act like adults and and take control away from the adolescents attending these colleges. The schools should be clear and upfront: show up at a speaking engagement and act like a fool and you will be IMMEDATELY expelled. Then and only then will private liberal arts colleges again resemble some semblance of their original charter. The list of students wishing to attend these schools is a long one. The schools do not need the tuition money that some of these students remit.

  53. “It takes an enormous lack of contact with survival pressures to get this insane.” Brilliant. Related question: in recorded history, has another people ever set about trying to make themselves and their offspring more vulnerable, fragile, and anxious?

  54. Somebody needs to teach spoiled brat liberal students the meaning of the First Amendment and the guarantees of the Constitution.

  55. Smarg Jones says

    Why would any white parent send their child to this alt-Left fascist pigsty??

    White, Christian, heterosexual students are not safe on the Middlebury campus.

  56. Pingback: They pay 70k+ a year to go to this “Elite School”, what a joke. Although this student is based and an excellent writer. | Prime Patriot

  57. Andrew Dicks says

    The era of policical correctness denies due democratice process and needs to be stopped.

    “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) Against Nazism

  58. chowderhead says

    Is it true that the Middlebury mascot is a giant pussy?

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  60. Asenath Waite says

    One of the only good things about being middle-aged is that at least I got through college before all this stuff really escalated. It sounds like such a miserable experience nowadays.

    • Janet W. says

      Yeah, we’ll what frightens me is that these “students” are the people who will run the show and that we will have to depend on in our senior years. What kind of world and quality of life will that be like?

      • Asenath Waite says

        @Janet W.

        Hopefully by then I will have dementia and believe that I’m Julius Caesar. Hey, perhaps it will even be law at that point that they have to validate this identity and actually treat me like a Roman emperor. This might not be so bad after all.

  61. Asenath Waite says

    I guess humanities education is just completely ruined at this point. That’s pretty tragic.

  62. Pingback: Middlebury College | Transterrestrial Musings

  63. Demoson says

    Dominic,
    My heartfelt sympathies to have to endure that environment. I am a Midd grad (‘79), and no longer have any sense of connection to the college. I live in Vermont and am surrounded by the groupthink you are confronted with. I have benefited personally because it has made me a critical thinker as an outsider, constantly re-evaluating my own perspectives, which are under constant assault. I’ve come to the conclusion that politics has taken way too central a role in modern life and I try to limit it personally by focusing on other things. One of those is the great outdoors, which Middlebury has in spades. Avail yourself of that, and you’ll survive!

  64. Janet Wilberg says

    I am, many of us, are grateful for this article. The facts, the truth of a matter are indispensable to good living and a healthy society. If you really want insight on a deeper level, of how this started decades ago, read an article, “The Comprachicos” by the late philosopher, Ayn Rand. How educational institutions have become mind destroying. And comments on how to overcome this. We can’t let this get to the point that it takes over the internet as well. They will do that if they can get away with it.

  65. Marc Baker says

    Hello Dominic, As an alumni, I’m sorry to say that my recommendation is that you leave Middlebury. This has been going on long enough to make it clear that you are not dealing with a small group of zealous radicals. This is who the college is, and it goes all the way up to the board of trustees. You don’t want to waste another $210,000 on this nonsense and, more importantly, possibly having your own reputation tarnished by association with this group. Go somewhere that will teach you something useful. There’s still time.

    Marc Baker. ‘80

  66. tommy mc donnell says

    political correctness is liberalspeak for totalitarianism.

  67. scribblerg says

    How can he be surprised by this? Why on earth did he apply to and decide to attend this school? How could he be so misinformed and ignorant of the political culture at Middlebury?

    When are we going to stop “clutching our pearls” at each new experience of Leftist political viciousness and illiberalism? I really cannot take the constant gasping – it’s 2019. The Left has been at this project for 100 years by now and have been lying and sliming all opponents the entire time.

    Don’t believe me? Go read Blacklisted by History, the true story of how the Left dishonestly destroyed Joe McCarthy, and then erased all actual history and factual accounts of his actions and the anti-communist movement. What you’ll see is that ever single person on McCarthy’s list was a Soviet agent or an agent of influence. This was all confirmed by the “Venona decrypts” and the brief period of time in the ’90s when the Soviet KGB archives were opened.

    You’ll see the exact same tactics that are occurring today. And you’ll realize just how deeply the Communists penetrated our govt and larger society. You’ll be unable to avoid seeing the arc of Socialism/Marxism/Communism and how it subverted the classical liberal order of our society.

    And then maybe, finally, you won’t be surprised when Leftists behave like hateful thugs, and are dishonest and impossible to deal with civilly. They always have been.

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