Middlebury College was the scene of one of the moments that summed up the problems with free speech on college campuses when a professor was assaulted while walking next to Charles Murray after his aborted talk on the campus. Now, the college has taken steps to make sure that never happens again…by empowering the heckler’s veto so that someone like Murray will never be allowed to speak again.
The college has essentially established a policy that encourages student violence against speakers they don’t particularly care for.
The administration has released an “interim” policy for “scheduling events and invited speakers” that incentivizes violent protests against speakers who are invited to campus.
Following a section that lays out a “risk assessment” to be performed and reviewed in the event that a speaker is likely to be confronted with “threats or violence,” the policy says:
In those exceptional cases where this review indicates significant risk to the community, the president and senior administration will work with event sponsors to determine measures to maximize safety and mitigate risk. Only in cases of imminent and credible threat to the community that cannot be mitigated by revisions to the event plan would the president and senior administration consider canceling the event.
This practically “rewards the heckler’s veto,” according to Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush and Middlebury alum, who spoke on campus last year.
Let me explain, in simple terms, what this policy will mean to students who believe Antifa has the right idea. They will see this as a policy that can be used to effectively ban speakers who have uncomfortable ideas. They will look at this policy and make certain the school knows violence will happen if the unpopular speaker is permitted on the campus.
I get where Middlebury is coming from, but by saying under what circumstances they will cancel events, they are giving some people victory conditions and a roadmap on how to achieve it. If the collegiate left has shown us anything over the last year or so, it’s their willingness to embrace violence in service to their cause.
That means injuring professors, burning buildings, or anything else as long as they succeed in stifling someone else’s right to speak.
Not a single person was punished for the violence that broke out when Charles Murray tried to speak.
Nice job, Middlebury. Nice job.