An Apology from PoliSci Chair to the Community

By Bert Johnson

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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140 Responses to “An Apology from PoliSci Chair to the Community”

  1. Midd Alum on April 21st, 2017 10:28 am

    Thank you for this.

  2. A former on April 21st, 2017 1:12 pm

    Mr. Johnson, you stood up for free speech until you didn’t. Congratulations, you are exactly what you are.

  3. Concerned Midd Alum 2010 on April 21st, 2017 1:25 pm
  4. Anonymous on April 21st, 2017 1:36 pm

    Sir, you are a cuck.

  5. Ellesia Blaque on April 21st, 2017 2:07 pm

    Why did you apologize for practicing the First Amendment? Why aren’t you, instead apologizing to your colleague for not having a secure environment for the Murray talk? She is the one attacked by a MOB; the constitutionality of Murray’s right to speak & your colleague’s right to invite him to speak was questioned by MON violence. For me, you now owe all of academia an apology for solidifying the false premise that professors serve the immature, often misguided will of the student body. Our role is to disseminate all data from both sides of ideological coins and to teach our students how to critically think and conduct credible research so they can decide issues independently. Not a good look professor. Not a good look at all.

  6. harold schulz on April 21st, 2017 2:20 pm

    You caved .So you hurt someone’s feelings ,so what .We need to build citizens .What would Socrates think..

  7. Christopher Halkides on April 21st, 2017 4:40 pm

    “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.” This is an absurd statement about a pernicious phenomenon. How does one person’s speaking silence someone else? An academic talk is a fine place to make one’s voice heard in the form of spirited, yet civil questions. Moreover, nothing prevents those who disagree with writing letters or editorials. When one group claims to be being silenced or to feeling unsafe, this is coded language for their real meaning which is: “I don’t like your point of view; therefore, your speech is not protected.”

  8. Mike Perry on April 21st, 2017 5:07 pm

    Really? No apology to your colleague, who was injured by rioters? No apology to a distinguished visitor to your a campus, who was the target of that violence?

  9. Robert Weisbuch on April 21st, 2017 5:12 pm

    These are extremely difficult decisions to make, especially when a speaker plays knowingly upon the borders between legitimate debate and mean bigotry. This is a very kind and handsome apology and it reinforces my sense that everyone involved should forgive each other.

  10. JV on April 21st, 2017 6:58 pm

    I don’t agree with many of Murray’s views, but the man was physically attacked for attempting to exercise his Constitutional right to express those views. Some of the attackers were Middlebury students, and yet there have been no consequences for them. This is outrageous, and this apology, more than likely coerced, is a renunciation of the First Amendment.

  11. Phinius Figglebottom on April 21st, 2017 7:00 pm

    Pretty pathetic, the people who should be apologizing are the violent protesters who assaulted a professor and have such weak minded views that they cannot even listen to another.

  12. Tyler Easley on April 21st, 2017 7:23 pm


  13. Walter L. Taylor on April 21st, 2017 7:29 pm

    How ironic it is that the box in which I am to type this message says, “Speak your mind,” when that is precisely what Middlebury College does NOT want anyone to do if that person contradicts the dominating discourse of the college. This announcement by Professor Johnson shows what an overpriced mockery of higher education Middlebury has become. Middlebury is no long about “education,” but “re-education.”

  14. Jeff Klumpp on April 21st, 2017 7:45 pm

    Ah, I see. So free speech in America is only free if it doesn’t happen to offend someone – maybe someone we feel as less privileged. So, from now on, your University will select and edit all free speech; in order to decide which is free and which is not, which might be offensive and what’s not, Hmmm. Kinda sounds like England a few hundred years ago [& why we got here in the first place]. Gonna start on the library next? Burning the books tht might be offensive (particularly to people of color – or atheists, or agnostics) or whoever you decide may be offensive. Thank you, ‘Offensive Police’! Jesus, and one in college in the 1960’s and 1970’s would be outraged at your decision and this post. Just give the dissenters another date to speak, because after all, free speech is what we’re after, and for God’s sake what you are teaching, right?!? Christ.

  15. Amy Anderson on April 21st, 2017 8:51 pm

    This is a terrifying public confession a la Mao before the Middlebury “community” . God help you, your nightmarish campus full of ignorant fascist students, and the spineless faculty and administration that has allowed this nonsense to continue.

  16. JR on April 21st, 2017 9:03 pm

    Good grief. you now want to experience opposing views by shutting one out?

  17. Jake Herman on April 21st, 2017 9:10 pm

    So… you let the postmodern idealogues corrupt your morals with their feelings of outrage. I pity you.

  18. Gary on April 21st, 2017 9:24 pm

    This is utterly pathetic.

    You’re siding with violent thugs. What the hell is the matter with you?

  19. Paul Crowley on April 21st, 2017 9:29 pm

    You are a Quisling.

  20. Bobby on April 21st, 2017 9:52 pm

    You have done well in your Struggle Session, comrade. Your apology is accepted and we can welcome you back now.

  21. Robert F McFarlane on April 21st, 2017 9:54 pm

    It is heartwarming to see such an eloquent example of eloquent feckless pusillanimity displayed in publicly without evident shame. The notochords are taking over. It is sweet that they feel strong enough to come out of the shadows. I brake for them.

    You should too.

  22. Nicolas Martin on April 21st, 2017 9:56 pm

    This is very sad to read. Character is scarce in academe.

  23. Alejandro on April 21st, 2017 10:12 pm

    A sniveling coward apologizes for not listening to and understanding “alternative points of view” – to a bunch of know-nothing fascists who violently silenced an alternative point of view.

  24. Justa Guy on April 21st, 2017 10:12 pm

    Middlebury is going downhill. PC has destroyed higher ed. Students are 1000x dumber when they graduate
    That is all

  25. Santiago Matamoros on April 21st, 2017 11:01 pm

    “As we debate what to do next”

    Delete your “college”.

  26. David Kennerly on April 21st, 2017 11:27 pm

    Now on to the “punishment phase” of this servile confession to the Maoist Struggle-Session leaders.

  27. Pete Patel on April 21st, 2017 11:37 pm

    Complete cowardice and submission to an unruly mob on your end. You’ll have to tell me what selling out on principles to win a popularity contest feels like. My oldest was considering applying to Middlebury – thanks for making our decision easier. You’re not doing these kids any favors by coddling them from any viewpoints that hurt their fragile feelings.

  28. Lorraine Lidher on April 22nd, 2017 12:15 am

    cowards. I

  29. Caleb Powell on April 22nd, 2017 12:24 am

    I hope your cowardice is exposed to the world, Mr. Johnson. You have sided with the weak and regressive.

    (I realize this is Middlebury, aka Safe Space U., and no comments are printed. But at least one doofus will read this, and that’s enough.)

  30. Denmother6 on April 22nd, 2017 12:59 am

    You are a coward, unfit for academia. We used to debate ideas, not silence them because our “feelings might get hurt”. I’m encouraging all I know to never support your college, including hiring any of your graduates, who clearly have the coping mechanisms of 3 year olds. Enjoy your expensive echo chamber and may your college die a slow and painful death.

  31. Ronald Darvis on April 22nd, 2017 1:31 am

    This is a joke, right? “Debate”…doesn’t seem like the students or faculty at Middlebury have the ability to engage opposing points of view intelligently–thus the use of violence and intimidation to silence a visiting speaker. Also, enough of this condescending racism towards “POC”! They are human beings of the same potential as yourself–if you can handle a different perspective than surely they too possess that potential.

  32. survivor on April 22nd, 2017 2:10 am

    Dear Bert

    with all the good intentions that are probably behind this letter, this all starts to smack of maoist reeducation. Is this what we are supposed to do now at Midd?


    an untenured colleague who is starting to wonder – and to be afraid of signing messages with own name

  33. Steve Sailer on April 22nd, 2017 2:35 am

    “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.”

    What about the extremely real pain of Professor Alison Stanger from getting a concussion from the Science Denialist mob?

  34. Nick Kuntz on April 22nd, 2017 2:41 am

    WTF!! This is something a cowardly college will do. Allow students to hear dissenting positions from their own. It’s the only way they can grow as a people and as a community. Free speech is something that should be encouraged and not shut down. Middleburu should be ashamed to have such a large group of cowards running it. Imagine what the founders of the school would think of this type of action.

  35. Ron on April 22nd, 2017 2:58 am

    No apology should be necessary or should have been offered. College is not a daycare center or an asylum to be run by the inmates.

  36. Clinton Wilcox on April 22nd, 2017 2:58 am

    In other words, Bert Johnson is a spineless coward. If Middlebury oppresses free speech, it has no business calling itself an institution of higher learning. Very disappointed in this whole situation.

  37. TheRestoftheWorld on April 22nd, 2017 4:42 am

    Good god. Someone save these people. It’s like dispatches from inside Jonestown. Do you realize how isolated from reality you’ve become? Do you see how sick this looks to the rest of us?

    You live in an extraordinarily unhealthy environment. What you don’t realize -and what most in cult-type cultures don’t realize- is all you have to do is get up and walk away. Once you’re out the door they really can’t hurt you anymore.

    Please, take your minds, souls and spines back.

  38. Irate Citizen on April 22nd, 2017 6:33 am

    What a complete load of horse shit – you are apologizing when you should be accusing. I would kick your ass if I could meet you.

  39. Svegx on April 22nd, 2017 7:09 am

    You may want to have your T’ count checked.
    Then grow your balls back.

  40. Mick Heins on April 22nd, 2017 7:33 am

    All of you at Middlebury should be ashamed of yourself. Especially you, Mr. Johnson, for doing this cowardly apology. Unless, of course, you were sent to a re-education camp to have it extracted…

  41. Luke on April 22nd, 2017 8:49 am

    This text box ironically says “speak your mind”. I’ll just keep it to myself and vote accordingly.

  42. David Curtin on April 22nd, 2017 9:07 am

    “Voicelessness”…. so, preventing people from speaking is a bad thing, right?

  43. Fellow Academic on April 22nd, 2017 9:09 am

    Dear Professor Johnson,

    Though cushy academic jobs like yours may be hard to find, it shouldn’t come at the price of your dignity. Please try to grow a spine. Then, instead of groveling like you’re doing in this opinion piece, you should explain to the latter day Red Guards who forced you to write this where they can stick their “very real pain.” Then walk away. If you stay at this school for not-quite-Ivy-material rich kids, you will hate yourself for the rest of your life.

    Please try to recover your self-respect. This is an embarrassment.


  44. Richard Arsenault on April 22nd, 2017 9:45 am

    It’s speech you fools. Middlebury’s cowardice is reprehensible.

  45. aelfheld on April 22nd, 2017 9:46 am

    The Cultural Revolution has found a new home.

  46. Christopher Halkides on April 22nd, 2017 10:08 am

    So far I don’t see anyone apologizing for a professor’s ending up with a neck brace. That is absolutely unacceptable behavior anywhere, but it goes double for a college campus.

  47. Eric rasmusen on April 22nd, 2017 10:30 am

    Middle bury has made it clear: conservative phds are not welcome as profs nor are conservative high schoolers as students. That’s your right as a private college. But you must live with the results.

  48. James George on April 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

    I hope those kids get expelled we are still free to speak I hope if not our schools are communist breeding ground and should be shut down

  49. Kid Glock on April 22nd, 2017 12:23 pm

    What are you talking about? How about explaining why inviting Murray was a mistake?

    Get off drugs, you dope.

  50. Chris Post on April 22nd, 2017 12:54 pm

    Portrait of Courage #sarcasm

  51. Chad on April 22nd, 2017 1:04 pm

    This is an embarrassment. Middlebury, is no longer an institution of higher learning.

  52. Chris Bray on April 22nd, 2017 1:07 pm


  53. Human Being on April 22nd, 2017 1:09 pm

    You are pathetic and unworthy of being an educator

  54. Ken on April 22nd, 2017 1:21 pm

    It’s sad and pathetic to see professors prostrate themselves to violent thugs who violently shut down debate. Rather than apologizing, you should be condemning those thugs’ actions and you should be taking aggressive action to expel any student involved in such despicable display.

    You make it ever clearer how you’ve taken advantage of the good will of the American people who finance these institutions by hiring and fostering such fundamentally anti-American views that the department chair of political science defers to those who violently undermine the first amendment. All taxpayer funding should be removed from Middlebury, including access to Pell grants, federal student loans, etc.

  55. Everett Kenyon on April 22nd, 2017 1:21 pm

    As an alumnus I am ashamed to associate myself with this college, not for reasons professor. Johnson outlines above, but because of the lock-step, thuggish progressive dominance that seems to have taken hold of the college since my graduation many years ago. I am ashamed that scholarly viewpoints contrasting to liberal orthodoxy are simply shouted down, as witnessed by Charles Murray not being even allowed to give a talk back a couple months ago. What this shows is an utter intellectual laziness on the part of students and professors, many of whom simply protested or encouraged the protest while at the same time admitting they have never read a word of Murray’s many books. That’s pathetic.

    I will not be contributing financially again to Middlebury if I don’t see very clear steps toward restoring open and free speech on campus, including evidence that the thugs involved in Dr. Murray’s visit have been properly disciplined. I will also be discouraging my dad’s going through with sizable giving that was going to come to Middlebury out my late mother’s charitable remainder trust. Middlebury is not alone in showing violent disdain toward dissenting views in recent times, but it sure seems to be proud in helping lead the way. If a college campus is not a place where contrasting, even radically contrasting viewpoints can’t be listened to, then where has free speech gone in our country?

    Thank you for listening.

    -Everett Kenyon (class of ’84)

  56. tgage on August 21st, 2017 4:04 am

    Excellent commentary !

  57. Cole Gentles on April 22nd, 2017 2:01 pm

    He essentially saying: “We need to take the opportunity to listen to and understand alternative points of view so that we can prevent people from having the opportunity to listen to and understand alternative points of view”.

  58. Reality on April 22nd, 2017 2:17 pm

    You should be ashamed of yourself, but not for the vacuous reasons outlined here. Your sympathies should lie with your violently assaulted and injured colleague, not with the angry mob of protestors who attacked her. The answer to speech, however offensive, is more speech. Not censorship and physical abuse. How can you see yourself as fit to teach these woefully misguided students? You have failed, and, worse, you have learned completely the wrong lesson from your mistake.

  59. Jesus Malena on April 22nd, 2017 2:24 pm

    Hi Prof,

    To think that in this day and age a grown person like me would be trying to teach a professor of political science about freedom of speech is kind of backwards. You write in your piece, “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. ” Debate is what you want to call it? I promise you that you will be met with demands and you will submit to them. As a professor, I would have thought that you of all would know better than to coward away at the fascist methods of these children, but instead it seems the children are running the school. What is the point of you being a professor? Please answer this question.

  60. Brian Durocher on April 22nd, 2017 2:45 pm

    A shameful apology to the mob that assaulted a speaker. This is a Maoist shaming reminiscent of North Korea. What a terrible wrong this does.

  61. Jim Savage on April 22nd, 2017 3:50 pm

    Pathetic. You, ostensibly an educated adult, groveling before these kiddies, seeking their approval rather than standing up for real freedom of speech and the physical safety of your guests and co-workers.

    These children may learn, albeit the hard way, that there are real repercussions and individual pain for their kind of behavior once out in the larger world. You, however, have voluntarily abandoned any principles, and so here you are.

  62. Joyce Matthews on April 22nd, 2017 3:53 pm

    No apology needed sir. The Middlebury campus owes you one.

  63. Kale on April 22nd, 2017 4:02 pm

    This is an evil cessation to mob violence. Do not confuse ecumenism with cowardice.

  64. Ken Windheim on April 22nd, 2017 4:51 pm

    Coming Apart was an important book. He was spot on in his characterization of the underclass in the Philadelphia neighborhood. Students and faculty could have learned something if they had let Charles Murray speak. I was not shocked that the students had not read his books but it is pathetic that the professors had not read his book either. You should be apologizing for the behavior of the University and not yourself. I think this incident has brought dishonor upon Middlebury.

  65. Mike Bliss on April 22nd, 2017 4:53 pm

    Never apologize once you have made your decision. Just deal with it. Apologizing is a sign of extreme weakness.

  66. Ted Meehan on April 22nd, 2017 5:00 pm

    “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Thomas Jefferson as he opened the University of Virginia.

    I sympathize with your discomfort. But it is misplaced. Charles Murray is not a racist, or anything close to a racist. He is a social scientist, who collects and comments on data about social trends. Those students or faculty members likely never read any of his books, which are accomplished and disciplined works. Like deToqueville, Murray seeks to provide snapshots of American culture and social development. His contribution to a serious academic inquiry is valuable to any serious student. Much of his presentation is data driven, some includes his interpretation. Institutions of higher learning must NOT become hostages to intolerance from the Left or the Right. Your apology seems to reinforce the effort to silence this speaker, rather than demand Academic Freedom.

    The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom. Follow the principle of Jefferson. Discourage the impulse to follow truth wherever it leads. Instill in your undergrads the intellectual integrity to listen and question. Absorb information and knowledge – independent of political purity.

    The damage to Middlebury’s reputation comes from the toleration of the totalitarian behavior by students with a book-burning mentality. It was enhanced by the invitation of Murray. His silencing was a direct assault upon the rights of all students to hear contrasting points of view. Those who acted badly joule have been disciplined. Their actions are based in the insecurity of their own intellectual competence to express where they disagree. Instead, they assume that they would disagree, and so they riot to prevent the presentation! Barbaric! Uncivilized!

    I hope you will urge your institution to deal forcefully with such ignorance in the future. You were not the one who should have apologized. Your apology is counterproductive in that it distracts from the true misdeed.

    Ted Meehan

  67. Jay Rock on April 22nd, 2017 5:03 pm

    Read the constitution, perhaps.

  68. David Sierman on April 22nd, 2017 5:15 pm

    That’s the biggest pile of garbage I’ve ever read!!

  69. herschel lieberman hyphen bergblattstein on April 22nd, 2017 5:32 pm

    imagine being this much of a pansy

  70. Ed on April 22nd, 2017 5:49 pm

    Reads like a forced confession at a witch trial. A purification will follow.

  71. Jim Cox on April 22nd, 2017 5:57 pm

    It’s hard to believe that an academic in the 21st century on a university campus would validate the opinion that minorities ‘feel voiceless’. Never in our history have they had so ‘loud’ a platform. Kudos to our society, majority and minority alike, for making this a reality. But, alas, victimhood is the new religion and we are all learning (as evidenced here by your apology) to bow appropriately before the god of ‘rights before freedoms’.

    I have no idea whether Charles Murray is “a racist” or not. But guess what, neither do you or anyone else on the Middlebury campus, because you were bulleyed into silencing him. Now I know you didn’t come right out and call the man a racist but you are certainly now endorsing the opinions of those who do. People whom I would suspect have never read a single piece of his work.

    If, after inviting him, you were alerted to suspicions of ‘racism’ or the like, you were then personally responsible for investingaing and, if necessary, confronting these suspicions head on. Debate, not cowardice in the guise of ‘social justice’, is the only mechanism we have for exposing hypocrisy and ignorance.

  72. Lawrence Winston on April 22nd, 2017 5:58 pm

    WHAT A Complete DOFUS! Sure happy neither me or any of my children had to be subjected to his genuinely uninformed. Mindless and just plain stupid teaching!
    Spent 30 Yeats defending his right to be stupid, but ………honestly???!#!


  73. Anthony Hebert on April 22nd, 2017 5:59 pm

    Wow! This is a wonderfully pathetic excuse for wasting the energy required to write and post it!

    My greatest concern as a member of the human race is not who does and doesn’t whine, bitch, moan, groan, and cry about all the perceived slights, disrespect, etc. People love to whine about an amazing array of imaginary pain! Rather, my ultimate concern is how is it possible to truly provide an excellent, well-rounded education which ultimately develops high-level problem solving skills to all Middlebury students when the faculty goon squad refuses to properly present all of the pertinent arguments to any and all political problems?

    Believe me, none of Middlebury’s attacks against the constitution in general and “free speech” in particular is happening in a vacuum! To be sure, all of the disproportionately foolish actions of the faculty goon squad are being very carefully observed under that big microscope called 24 hour cable news. We see what you are doing and the reputation of your university has been irreparably damaged by your amazing display of shortsightedness.

    With that in mind however, what bothers me much, much more, are the vulnerable young men and women attending Middlebury. And my sincere question is: will these young people from Middlebury be prepared to take leadership roles in business, government, and society? I would venture to say that, because of the “progressive” faculty goon squad’s recent actions, millions of Americans would agree that the education currently provided by Middlebury falls far short of society’s expectations.

    Perhaps you, more than anyone else, has the ability to speak the truth and enact change at Middlebury that will usher in a new era of education that embraces an open-minded and fair approach to political dialogue and adequately prepares your students to think “outside the box” and equips them with top notch problem-solving skills which thy will certainly need in the future. Because unfortunately, our world is beset by extraordinarily difficult problems and, if this planet is to survive, society really needs the best and the brightest young problem solvers to step forward land make their mark.

    Best regards,
    Anthony Hebert
    Sparks, Nevada

  74. Rrr on April 22nd, 2017 6:03 pm

    You should be ashamed of yourself for apologizing

  75. Hank on April 22nd, 2017 6:04 pm

    What a pathetic excuse for a man you are, Bertram Johnson. Your colleague was attacked and injured and you are trying to appease the criminal element.

  76. Richard on April 22nd, 2017 6:11 pm


  77. champ on April 22nd, 2017 6:39 pm

    What a friggin’ tool this professor is…

  78. Oddbjørn Johnsen on April 22nd, 2017 6:40 pm

    Yeah, let’s not let the Universities degrade into institutions where differing opinions and ideas can be discussed openly.

  79. R. W. Minor on April 22nd, 2017 6:44 pm

    This woman is a moron.

  80. Peter Jones on April 22nd, 2017 7:07 pm


  81. Kevin Callahan on April 22nd, 2017 8:14 pm

    As an alumnus of Middlebury College, I find this apology so completely misplaced, as to be ridiculous. Professor Johnson ought to resign as Chair of the PoliSci Department, not because of his supposed error in judgement, but for sheer cowardice to uphold the right of free speech.

    What should happen next is the determination as to whether any of those who perpetrated violence were students, and if they were holding them to appropriate sanction, both in terms of civil justice and academia (i.e. prosecution, suspension or expulsion, as is appropriate).

    As an alumnus, I deplore this incident and Middlebury’s response.

    Kevin Callahan ’78

  82. Bill Kleinman on April 22nd, 2017 11:14 pm

    You sound like a baby sitter afraid to hurt the feelings of your hot house 20 year olds. You have made Middlebury into an academic farce.

    Grow a spine, find some convictions and stand up for them like an actual intellectual in possession of an outsized share of mental fortitude. That’s what the real world expects of an intellectual leader.

  83. Johnathan on April 22nd, 2017 11:28 pm

    What a coward. Standing up to facists means opposing those who would restrict speech, not feeling on your sword to support them. Pathetic.

  84. John McAdams on April 22nd, 2017 11:32 pm

    “Alternative points of view?” You mean the views of people who wanted to shut up a speaker?

    “very real pain that many people – particularly people of color – have felt as a result of this event.”

    You mean the “pain” people feel hearing views they disagree with? But wait! Nobody was required to go to the talk. So the “pain” was merely pain at knowing people were allowed to say things that the authoritarians disapproved of.

  85. Leo Chappelle on April 22nd, 2017 11:35 pm

    Don’t be ridiculous. If you can’t produce adults capable of dealing with the minor adversity of a disagreeable point of view why are you there?

  86. ertdfg on April 23rd, 2017 1:15 am

    Good to know the college is thinking of the real victims.
    AKA Violent protesters.
    The people they harmed and assaulted should be ashamed at whatever they did to make people attack them.

    Next, lets write some apologies to rapists and blame rape victims for whatever they did to inflame the desire of these poor souls.

    What? Oh only SOME victims are to blame for the crimes committed against them?
    That seems like an odd metric. How does one apply that? And when?

    How can one know when to blame a victim of violence and when not to?
    Oh, you can always knows based solely on partisan politics and nothing else?
    Well that’s certainly convenient. I’m glad we got that sorted out.

  87. Nicholas Stix on April 23rd, 2017 4:09 am

    Shame on you.

  88. Jack Wagon on April 23rd, 2017 6:41 am

    The death of intellectual discourse at the expense of alt left fascism in the name of misguided virtue signaling.

    Middle bury is pathetic and Bert Johnson, you’ve surrendered to the mob.

  89. David on April 23rd, 2017 7:04 am

    So you are submitting to violent student behavior on campus? Yet you are not apologizing to the victim(s) of violent student behavior?

    Lastly, how can a mere associate professor be a chairman of anything?

  90. Zev Simpser on April 23rd, 2017 8:08 am

    This is an embarrassment

    The victim apologizing to the mob.

    Quit Prof. Johnson. Now.

  91. George O'Har on April 23rd, 2017 8:36 am


    You are a contemptible coward and fool.

    George O’Har

  92. Kurt on April 23rd, 2017 10:24 am

    What a snivelingcoward you are. When do the arrests and expulsions of the thugs that sent your professor to the hospital start? Never it seems. Beyond shameful. You are no better than the moronic thugs you are genuflecting to.

  93. Michael on April 23rd, 2017 10:42 am

    Where is your hairshirt?

  94. Dave on April 23rd, 2017 11:11 am

    What a fucking chickenshit tool.

  95. Mark Milligan on April 23rd, 2017 12:02 pm

    I do not understand your apology. Middlebury can have speakers on a range of topics, and both sides. As you debate what to do next, I hope Middlebury takes a hard line towards violence and freedom of speech and less about whether a topic is off limits.

  96. Jenny scott on April 23rd, 2017 12:06 pm

    I appreciate your letter. Our daughter who was raised to be sensitive to those less fortunate, she spent her life making a difference in our small town in Florida. She, along with her sisters spent holidays working at the shelter in naples Florida serving meals and stocking food pantries, was the type of child who made an effort to include the less popular students at her school, invited the “whole” grade instead of cliques for any event at our home, as did her sisters. She raised money to make flower arrangements for the hospitalized, helped us rescue multiple dogs from pending death, helped us work at the grace ministry and had to work in our office for any spending money from the age of six and had to give 15% to the less fortunate right off the top. Spoiled she was not, hardworking and independent-she was raised.

    She was raised to speak up for the voiceless and actively be inclusive at all times. Our family culture while raising three daughters was one of inclusivity and walking the walk. Our family never ever practiced exclusivity and my husband and i ensure from their first week in pre school that all students were welcome in our home and our children were never allowed to actively exclude or hurt their classmates. They were raised to be accountable for their actions at ALL times.

    As a result of her chidlhood we were not surprised that she protested the speech by Charles Murray. She was raised to actively help other children when in need and was passionate about her classmates whether black, white, Asian, Muslim, Jewish etc. She was raised to be sensitive to those around her and be the first to reach out and include someone left out.

    She was a leader at her school while she played football as the sole girl in the catholic school system and used her leadership to support her fellow students- there was never an “i” in team! We raised her as parents to be solid, loyal, to speak her mind and that actions spoke louder than words always. When the media interviewed her all four years she always included her teammates and black white and brown were brothers in her eyes.

    At the time the 2017 speech was announce and our daughter told us how Murray treated the black students at Middlebury when he spoke before, Telling them they should be at a community college and were the equivalent of “losers” we supported her right to free speech in protest.

    While we did not appreciate her more “animated and unmannerly ” approach, we understood that we raised her to have passion for those less fortunate and our family motto of “having the courage of your own convictions,” and to walk the walk not talk the talk. She knows that actions have consequences. Her passion clouded her expectations of administrative response in an environment where she felt included and encouraged.

    Our daughter is walking the walk in her passion for the rights of others. she is applying to work for the High commission on refugees next summer and spent last summer working for free – in the Syracuse ghetto helping refugees to assimilate to the US. Because of her standing up to the injustice of this speaker on her “campus” that has “talked the talk” of inclusiveness and social justice, her future is uncertain.

    She has a pending permanent disaplinary action being threatened. The black mark that administration wants to place on her permanent record could negatively effect her ability to obtain a federal security clearance, her internship and hopes of working for international agencies relating to refugees and counter terrorism programs.

    The college did have a responsibility to spell out in advance a reminder that if you protest it should be under these guidelines. Instead all of you – stuck your heads in the collective sands and made the assumption that the gallvanizing student body would think twice before risking expulsion, suspension and permanent disaplenary actions.

    Well i have run many businesses over my professional career. When i thought my employees needed a reminder of “our policies” i spoke out verbally and in writing what the limitations were on their behavior and the consequences. As CEO’s and COO’s you have a responsibility to sometimes remind those beneath you in the food chain what is risked by behavior. There was no such action on the part of you nor Laurie Patton or her staff.

    Sometimes, the administration has to set the tone in ADVANCE as a reminder of what the costs of those actions will be. That to me is leadership. Taking the risk and being the leader means being the unpopular person and setting limits with consequences means you are not the “friend to all” but the leader of all and ultimately as leaders you are where the buck stops. I did not see or hear anything of the sort. As a leader in my business world i hold YOU leaders also fully accountable for the out of control circumstances as you took NO leadership prior to the escalating furor prior to the speech.

    Not one memo or item was on the web site or communicated to our increasingly upset and agitated daughter. Although we tried to counsel her in advance she reminded us that we raised her to stick up for the rights of others. We did tell her that she needed to be careful and in the end we did tell her we were proud of her willingness to walk the walk but we did NOT like how she did it and that she could have participated in a much less spirited yet effective manner.

    I feel that since you recognize that you brought someone to campus who should have spoken OFF campus and without Laurie Patton’s introduction endorsing the speech, you have a role in helping prevent career limiting punishments against those students who passionately stood up for their classmates.
    In recognizing that you had 100% responsibility for bringing him to campus amidst a rising vocal hysteria prior to the speech there were actions you could have taken.

    The organizers of the protest have gotten off scott free and clean, the kids who protested are getting probation and the 40 kids that squirmed into the student center before public safety locked the 88 out are getting permanent disciplinary marks on their records which will be forever a black mark in their professional lives.

    Why can’t you recognize that ALL -including you- have learned a lesson. All involved in the protest yes, should be made accountable for their actions. Our daughter included- which she admits fully and has taken responsibility for.

    But just because only 40 got in out of the 88 locked out- those students should have their professional futures possibly negatively hampered?

    My husband and i hope that you will speak out on the 40 who were still caught up in their anger and protest and that you can convince the administration that singling out this group instead of the organizers and all those who had the passion to protest is selective enforcement and the punishments exceed the “loss of face” that middlebury experienced because of a bad decision and action to bring Charles Murray to campus to begin with.
    Thank you,

    Jenny Scott
    Gainesville, Florida

  97. John McAdams on August 6th, 2017 11:17 pm

    Yes, sometimes it seems parents teach intolerance to their kids. Jenny Scott did.

  98. Lynn Waller on April 23rd, 2017 1:33 pm

    You said you should “listen to and understand alternative points of view.” True. Yet that is what Middlebury did. Refused to hear another point of view.

  99. Bert Johnson on April 23rd, 2017 2:19 pm

    This letter evidently requires more explanation, so see my Twitter thread here:

  100. Bill Burns on April 23rd, 2017 3:04 pm

    Honest to God, youre issuing an apology for inviting someone with contrarian views to speak at your college? What pray tell do you think college is for? One more endless alogorithim feeding entitled twits more of what they already believe about the world? People get hurt feelngs every day. How about teaching tolerance of differences, engaging contrarian notions, instead of coddling snowflakes? God help us.

  101. Rick on April 23rd, 2017 7:28 pm

    The only people on college campuses whose voices aren’t obnoxious and deafening are those of the right. Surely that’s what you’re referring to

  102. Frank Dudley Berry Jr on April 24th, 2017 12:37 am

    Some very, very basic political science.

    Persons who commit violence on others of sufficient gravity to require hospitalization. have perpetrated aggravated assault.

    These acts can be and should be, charged as felonies.

    Enrollment in a prestigious college does not confer immunity from culpability from generally applicable criminal statutes.

  103. Patricia Peterson Jamison on April 24th, 2017 3:15 am

    I am deeply disturbed and disappointed by this communique . Through many, many connections in my young years, Middlebury College had always been a bastion of academic excellence, with just enough touch of Yankee independent thrown in to suffer no fools. I was ecstatic to be recruited to take on the Director of Financial Aid there years later during a pivotal transition time for that department. Accordingly, with two outstanding ‘bosses’ in Dave Ginevan and Steven Rockefeller, we made great strides in widening the reach and scope of the office-for both donors and recipients. I have always said working there was the greatest job I ever had.

    For an academic institution that used to cherish diversity and the intellectual exercise of weighing and balancing diverse opinions, I am horrified and appalled that you would not only not support, but actively apologize, for bringing in a brilliant and highly respected voice from “the other side”. How dare you coddle and ‘shield’ this generation from diversity of thought!

    Woe to my association with Middlebury College. You have become an embarrassment.

  104. kimock on April 24th, 2017 7:46 am

    This strikes me as a rather broad definition of very real pain, which notably does not include neck injuries.

  105. Principled on April 24th, 2017 9:24 am

    What a coward you are. And those who cry “violence!” “Voiceslessness!” “Patriarchy!” “Systemic discrimination!” at so much as an uttering of an idea they don’t like are, somehow, even bigger cowards. Shame on all of you.

  106. The Alumni on April 24th, 2017 11:14 am

    Maybe the biggest embarrassment in this whole affair. Don’t apologize Prof. Johnson. Resign. You are obviously not up to the rigors of higher learning. Maybe challenging students is no longer an integral part of the Middlebury experience. Maybe Alumni giving isn’t either.

  107. Saml Adams on April 24th, 2017 3:23 pm

    Normally the ad hominem is the weakest of all arguments. But truly, sir, you are an idiot. And in the intelligence scale sense, not that of the Greek polis. May your chains rest lightly on your shoulders.

  108. Mike Gaskey on April 24th, 2017 3:57 pm

    Gotta protect those snowflakes, gawd help them when they hit the real world.

  109. Seth B. Weinshenker on April 24th, 2017 4:01 pm

    Mr. Johnson:

    You obviously are not well versed in something called the First Amendment. It is scary that you are teaching young children, which is perhaps one reason why they cannot cope with view points that don’t reflect their own, and need safe spaces with stuffed animals to calm their nerves frazzled from somebody saying things. Do you realize that outside of your little cocoon on campus, that most clear thinking people consider you a pandering fool, who has lost his way??? You have apologized to the wrong people. Suppressing speech is an unmistakable attribute of communist and socialist dictatorships. Don’t you know this? Good grief.

  110. Dave McOmie on April 24th, 2017 4:14 pm

    The text of Murray’s speech is online in various places. SJWs should read it before they succumb to mindless Groupthink. Then they should turn to Mill’s On Liberty and take its core message to heart before they turn over another car or punch another professor.

    In other words, grow up.

  111. Mickey Logan on April 24th, 2017 4:28 pm

    You unmitigated pussy. Stop abdicating your responsibility to expose young minds to new ideas.

  112. Stephen B Jamison on April 24th, 2017 4:50 pm

    It is ironic and astonishingly illogical to, at once apologize for having “scant opportunity to listen to and understand alternative points of view” while simultaneously affirming the exclusion of a speaker because he may articulate arguments on which others may hold “alternate points of view”. It is the height of hypocrisy to lay claim to intellectual integrity while eschewing all opinions with which one disagrees. Nay, far worse, when that suppression of dialogue is effected through raw, brute force, for which no apology has been made.

  113. Stephen B Jamison, MD on April 24th, 2017 4:55 pm

    It is ironic and astonishingly illogical to, at once apologize for having “scant opportunity to listen to and understand alternative points of view” while simultaneously affirming the exclusion of a speaker because he may articulate arguments on which others may hold “alternate points of view”. It is the height of hypocrisy to lay claim to intellectual integrity while eschewing all opinions with which one disagrees. Nay, far worse, when that suppression of dialogue is effected through raw, brute force, for which no apology has been made.

  114. Dan Kaplan on April 24th, 2017 5:32 pm

    Remind me to cross Middlebury off my list of colleges to look at. It is frightening to behold the shadow being cast over free speech and this groveling apology of a member of the FACULTY to a professional class of whining children who are in for a big surprise when they graduate from LaLaLand.

  115. James Heavey on April 24th, 2017 6:09 pm

    This is the way democracy dies as the professors add books to the bonfire and grovel before a prepubescent mob.

    This is what “men without chests” looks like.

  116. tgage on August 21st, 2017 3:34 am

    Nicely said.

    Fahrenheit 451.

  117. Chris Schmidt on April 24th, 2017 6:15 pm

    What a sad and craven little man, you are professor. This outright capitulation to the forces of ignorance and intellectual rot is despicable and you, sir, should be ashamed.

  118. Alain DeWitt on April 24th, 2017 7:27 pm

    Dear Sir,

    You are a coward.


    Alain DeWitt

  119. Dennis Dee on April 24th, 2017 9:38 pm

    Pathetic apologizing to anarchists and anti speech radicals

  120. Ken Windheim on April 24th, 2017 9:52 pm

    Really, how long does moderation take?

  121. Tim on April 24th, 2017 10:03 pm

    You’re politics (and reasoning) are embarrassing. As a proud Middlebury Almunus I’ve never felt more shamed to be associated with this institution and it’s handling of this issue. As an adult responsible for molding young, free-thinking minds I suggest you take at look at yourself and own insecurities. Indoctrination is unacceptable and your inability to even consider a differing view point is insulting to those of us who paid a pretty penny for our education. We pay for learning – not for adults to express how their feelings are hurt.

  122. Robert Kraynak on April 24th, 2017 10:29 pm

    I teach political science at Colgate university, and we invited Charles Murray to speak before the November 2016 election. He gave a very illuminating lecture without incident on the class division between the white working class and the elites who have lost touch with them. He explained the ‘bubble’ test for people who never worked in a factory or drove a pick up truck. It opened the eyes of our students and helped make sense of the Trump election. It’s a shame that you can’t see the educational value of this scholar.

  123. tgage on August 21st, 2017 3:30 am

    Pleased to see that someone has described Charles Murray as a scholar, as someone who has, through his writings, made some very valid observations particularly in his text “Losing ground”.
    I am wondering how many of these c protesters actually ever read anything by Charles Murray.

  124. chris coombs on April 25th, 2017 12:38 am

    A shameful apologist. Zero respect for the free speech rights of Charles Murray. My child has crossed Middlebury of her list of prospective colleges.

  125. Rick on April 25th, 2017 12:46 am

    What a fricking tool you are.

  126. Zaphod on April 25th, 2017 1:25 am

    Grow a spine already!

  127. ps on April 25th, 2017 1:47 am

    Shoving a thermal lance up your dumper causes real pain. Hurting the feelings of intolerant left wingers does not cause real pain. Learn the difference.

  128. Edward Moslander on April 25th, 2017 2:40 pm

    My daughter received the Middlebury College political science department’s top honor in 2011. When I’d been asked I’d been proud to tell people she graduated from Middlebury College. Until last month. Since then I’ve been embarrassed. Now I am also mortified. Margaret never received financial aid; she paid full price. So the likes of your ignorant, fascistic, narcissistic community — both those who receive paychecks and those who receive subsidies — receive them from the likes of me. This apology is abjectly cowardly and anti-intellectual, and it’s the political science department and the college that ought to be both embarrassed and mortified. Now when I am asked where Margaret got her education I talk about baseball.

  129. tgage on August 21st, 2017 4:12 am

    Great commentary !
    I had to laugh, you worded it so well.


  130. Daniel Schmutter on April 25th, 2017 2:52 pm

    It is shameful, truly shameful, that at an academic institution you are apologizing to a violent mob because you attempted to foster free speech.

    How little you must think of the intellectual robustness of your students. If I were a student there I would be insulted that you think I need such protection from, dare I say it, ideas.

    You apologize for the “very real pain” experienced by “many people” for the feeling of “voicelessness” you caused. Yet, nowhere do I see an apology for the actual physical injury suffered by Professor Stanger from the violence of the mob.

    I read your letter, and I have to ask myself what must you mean by “voicelessness.” I can only conclude that the “voicelessness” you reference is the inability to censor speech and ideas. That is, many folks felt “very real pain” because you did not afford them an opportunity to silence those with whom they disagreed.

    As you well know, John Stuart Mill explained the importance of free speech most effectively as follows:

    “But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

    Professor Johnson, your apology robs your students of the strength of intellectual combat with ideas they oppose. You treat them like intellectual infants. You see them as, well, not students, to be sure. Students learn. You cannot learn from underneath the protective blanket of censorship.

    The superior intellectual experience is supposed to be difficult, new, uncomfortable, uneasy, and rigorous. Making it comfortable and safe makes it useless and meaningless.

    You do no one an academic service with your apology, and you bring shame to your college, your department, and yourself.

  131. Fay Page on April 25th, 2017 10:26 pm

    You did not need to apologize to anyone! Your process was just fine. So what if some students feel ‘voiceless’, whatever that means in the small classes and community of a school like Middlebury. Toughen up, please. The world is not going to care about these kids feelings! They should have to learn how to listen to opinions they don’t like. The Q and A session could have given enough ‘voice’ to the kids smart enough to challenge him-politely! As for the violence, the people involved should be expelled and/or put on probation. Advocating chaos and violence needs to be squashed strongly!
    Fay Page’66
    Former Peace Corps volunteer, Ghana

  132. Will McCurdy on April 26th, 2017 1:39 pm

    Why would you apologize to the rioters of all people involved in this situation? Spineless apology.

  133. Francis Badger '71 on April 26th, 2017 7:54 pm

    As a political science major back in the days of Vietnam, Chicago riots in the summer of ’68 and building burning at Middlebury, I find your spineless apology and fallback to calls for inclusion shallow. What is going on up in Utopia land? Academia is really just a place for liberal socialists to continue the destruction of the American experiment. I never bought the Murray Dry views in the 60’s but his rants pale in comparison to the craziness that now stands for academic inclusion and dialogue. What are the college campuses around the country so afraid of? Opposing points view? My we have regressed.

  134. T. Gagge on April 27th, 2017 1:32 pm

    So Professor Johnson is apologizing to the rioters – the opponents of America’s most treasured 1st Amendment freedoms? He doesn’t know the first thing about “holes”. Stop digging, Bert!

  135. Will McCann on April 27th, 2017 4:20 pm

    Universities are supposed to be institutions that encourage critical thinking, zealously defend free speech, and promote the vigorous debate of ideas across the entire spectrum. Speakers should be brought to campus that challenge prevailing ideas from whatever quarter, and invite introspection and analysis. It is a disgrace that on college campuses today, ideas that run afoul of the Far Left and their belief in the value of identity politics, safe spaces, and the like are silenced with administrative actions, threats, and even violence.

    A university education should NEVER be about making you comfortable and unchallenged. It should be about making you UNcomfortable. It’s not intended to be an indoctrination about how to think “correctly,” but an education in how to think CRITICALLY; how to examine ideas; how to ask probing questions; how to challenge assumptions.

    Anyone involved in trying to silence people they don’t agree with should hang their heads in disgrace. Mark my words: Someday, when this Leftist fever has broken, and our universities return to their mission of education rather than indoctrination, people will look back with shame on this period, the way we look back now on the Red Hysteria of the 1950s.

  136. Edward Cline on April 30th, 2017 6:28 am

    Oh, Please let me keep my job and collect all my perks and retirement income! Far be it from me to stand up for Freedom of Speech, especially if “hateful” things might be said and “offend” super-sensitive auditors who might turn to the fist or the gun as the supreme “persuader.” I’m just a nobody, not worth hating, I know how to show my tail! I apologize from the bottom of my cowardly heart for all the turmoil and hurt I caused!

  137. Charles on May 1st, 2017 7:34 pm

    FUCKING coward

  138. Alain DeWitt on May 6th, 2017 7:37 am

    Dear Dr. Johnson,

    You, sir, are a coward.


    Alain DeWitt

  139. Richard Ong on May 11th, 2017 12:25 am

    “Suck it up, Snowflakes,” would have sufficed.

    “Stick it in your ear,” would also have been awesome.

  140. tgage on August 21st, 2017 4:01 am

    Middlebury College
    Middle road College
    The death of liberalism and liberal thinking
    Fahrenheit 451.

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