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Following the violent protests at Middlebury College in Vermont that injured a professor during a speaking event by author Charles Murray last week, two professors issued a “statement of principles” in favor of free speech and expressing opposition to such violence. The following, only an excerpt, gives a flavor of the whole statement:
Exposure to controversial points of view does not constitute violence.
Students have the right to challenge and to protest non-disruptively the views of their professors and guest speakers.
A protest that prevents campus speakers from communicating with their audience is a coercive act.
No group of professors or students has the right to act as final arbiter of the opinions that students may entertain.
No group of professors or students has the right to determine for the entire community that a question is closed for discussion.
The purpose of college is not to make faculty or students comfortable in their opinions and prejudices.
So far 79 professors at Middlebury College have put their names to this document. What is interesting, however, is a list of those professors who have not signed this basic statement in favor of free speech. An academic at a different college took a close look at the signatories, and found not surprisingly that no teachers from certain departments had signed. Before you click to see, I am willing to bet you can guess many of the departments and their teachers who oppose the idea of free speech. There are surprises however:
African American Studies, African Studies, American Studies, Ara[bic, Comparative Literature, Dance, Education Studies, French, Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies, Global Health , Greek, Hebrew-Classical, Hebrew-Modern, International and Global Studies, International Politics and Economics, Latin, Linguistics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Physical Education, Physics, South Asian Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, Studio Art, and Theatre
Why any department that focuses on Hebrew studies should oppose this statement baffles me, but then, this is academia, where I would expect this department to be filled with anti-Israel leftists who think the Palestinians invented the Old Testament.
Regardless, the refusal to sign this statement reveals these departments and their teachers as individuals hostile to free speech and the free exchange of ideas. If you had plans to attend this college, or send your children there, be warned. If they wish to study in these fields they will be entering a fascist environment.