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An Apology from PoliSci Chair to the Community

Bert Johnson

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Earlier this year I, as chair of the political science department, offered a symbolic departmental co-sponsorship to the Charles Murray event in the same way that I had done with other events in the past: on my own, without wider consultation. This was a mistake.

Last week, I apologized to my departmental colleagues for this closed decisionmaking process, and I apologize now to the broader Middlebury community. The short amount of time between when the event became public and when it occurred gave all of us scant opportunity to listen to and understand alternative points of view. Most importantly, and to my deep regret, it contributed to a feeling of voicelessness that many already experience on this campus, and it contributed to the very real pain that many people – particularly people of color – have felt as a result of this event.

As we debate what to do next, I look forward to hearing from the college-wide committee on invited speakers that is currently taking shape, as well as from my departmental colleagues and our department’s student advisory committee. I thank all of the members of the college community who have shared their views with me, with the department, and with the college administration over the past few months. I will continue to listen.

Bertram Johnson is an associate professor of political science and chair of the department.

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The Student News Site of Middlebury College
An Apology from PoliSci Chair to the Community