The Student Newspaper at Middlebury College

Middlebury Campus

College Begins Discipline of Murray Protestors

Student+protests+prevent+Dr.+Charles+Murray+from+delivering+a+scheduled+lecture+on+March+2.+Photo+Credit%3A+Michael+Borenstein+
Student protests prevent Dr. Charles Murray from delivering a scheduled lecture on March 2. Photo Credit: Michael Borenstein

Student protests prevent Dr. Charles Murray from delivering a scheduled lecture on March 2. Photo Credit: Michael Borenstein

Student protests prevent Dr. Charles Murray from delivering a scheduled lecture on March 2. Photo Credit: Michael Borenstein

By Will DiGravio and Alex Newhouse

The College has officially begun to discipline those who participated in the March 2 protests that prevented Dr. Charles Murray from delivering a scheduled lecture.

According to an official statement released on April 17,  the College has identified “more than 70 individuals it believes may be subject to disciplinary procedures under student handbook policies” due to their participation in the protests.

Of those identified, “more than 30 students have accepted disciplinary sanctions for their actions.” In that same statement, the College said, “We will not comment on the nature or range of the sanctions until the process is complete.”

In an effort to shed light on the proceedings, The Campus spoke with several students who had been called into disciplinary meetings regarding their actions on March 2. Given the sensitive situation and ongoing investigation, they described the nature of their meetings and what they were told would be the next steps on the condition of anonymity.

Individuals involved in the protests began receiving emails about potential discipline on Monday, April 3, the first week after spring break. The email, sent on behalf of either Karen Guttentag or Brian Lind, both associate deans for judicial affairs and student life, asked students to attend a meeting with either Guttentag or Lind in the College’s Service Building.

Initial emails did not say that the meeting pertained to the events of March 2. When some students asked for more information, some were initially told that it could not be provided. Others pressed harder and were eventually given information about the subject and nature of the meeting. They were scheduled for an hour.

Meetings consisted of a basic structure but varied in length and topics discussed. Students engaged in a conversation with either Guttentag or Lind about the College’s position and handbook policies. They were not read a script nor were notes taken, according to multiple students.

Before they were given a punishment, students were asked if they had any questions. Students were told that the College had either video or photographic evidence that they had participated in the protest by either standing, shouting, or holding signs. They either received unofficial or official college discipline. Some, after asking to see evidence, were shown either photos or videos of the protest.

Unofficial punishment, according to several students involved, has generally been given in the form of probation; official punishment is anything that goes on a student’s permanent record.

Students who are placed on probation have a letter placed in their file that will be removed at the end of the semester. However, if a student is placed on probation and then violates another college policy, the probation can become a part of their official record.

According to multiple students, the College has given unofficial punishment to students who participated in the protest prior to the live stream of the conversation held between Murray and Russell J. Leng ‘60 Professor of International Politics and Economics Allison Stanger. Students were told that those who continued to protest during the live stream in Wilson Hall may receive official college discipline. As of April 25, it is unclear whether or not any students have received official college discipline. Those investigations, as well as investigations into the protest prior to the start of the live stream, are ongoing.

While multiple students said that they understood that the College may have had to punish protesters, many expressed frustration with the process, saying that it seemed arbitrary and ill-defined. Others condemned the punishments altogether, citing them as an example of the College stifling students’ ability to express themselves.

The Campus will continue coverage as the story develops.

11 Comments

11 Responses to “College Begins Discipline of Murray Protestors”

  1. Dr. John Little on April 27th, 2017 10:09 am

    With this action, the college may gain some of the ground it lost when the Murray protesters left the college in disarray. The current score: Murray-1, Middlebury College-0.

    Go figure, John Little, Sr..

    [Reply]

  2. Alum on April 27th, 2017 2:31 pm

    This is absurd. What’s up with the college administration? Actually punishing people for standing up against racism?! Rounding up 70 students against the wall?!

    [Reply]

  3. Rherically resilient on April 27th, 2017 9:58 pm

    Around 30 students that I’m aware of are being sanctioned w official college discipline (a black mark on your permanent record that requires you to answer affirmatively to employers or grad schools that you’ve been subject to official college discipline). As far as I know every single one of us are taking it to trial w the judicial board to try and get just suspension. This school doesn’t care about POCs, they just ride them to the bank.

    [Reply]

  4. The Alumni on April 28th, 2017 8:54 am

    No Arrests + No Expulsions = End of Alumni Giving

    [Reply]

  5. Ron Blackmore on April 28th, 2017 9:21 am

    Are there faculty in need of discipline also? They should at least be made to read the NYTimes op Ed piece of April 16 in front of each of their classes.

    [Reply]

  6. John Little, Sr. on April 28th, 2017 9:31 am

    Dr. Murray won the day at Middlebury, but the recent action taken by the college will narrow the score of that sad day on your campus. If you do not understand this comment, you need to sharpen your ability to handle multiple variables and to develop the ability to interpret data.
    Now, go figure. John Little, Sr.

    [Reply]

  7. Art on April 28th, 2017 6:42 pm

    It will take the Feds to start cutting off student loans, Pell Grants and other federal monies to the students and Collages to get it into the skulls of the brats. It is surprising that they are shocked that they can’t find a job, I would never hire one of them. And yes, you can tell when you interview them that they are brats. Their attitude stands out and shines brighter than their intelligence and knowledge.

    [Reply]

  8. Some Lady on April 28th, 2017 7:54 pm

    Can someone please share what some of the actions that violated the handbook were? or were even criminal? Just asking.

    [Reply]

  9. Concerned Midd Alum 2010 on April 29th, 2017 2:51 pm

    The Campus will continue coverage, but not unbiased coverage, regrettably.

    [Reply]

  10. Kathleen Galovic on May 1st, 2017 4:00 pm

    I watched your student behavior in attempting to prevent a “guest” speaker from exercising the right to free speech. Are your students liberal fascists and is that what your faculty encourages? Are your faculty members liberal fascists? It appears these students will be merely placed on probation. If I had been the guest speaker at your college and this happened to me, I would submit a complaint to the police and I would sue your college, it’s faculty and the students who placed me at risk and did not allow me to exercise my right to speak. Middlebury seems to have merely treated them as “naughty children.” I would recommend that parents remove their children from your facility. As an employer, I would not hire any graduates from your institution.

    [Reply]

  11. Navigator30 on May 1st, 2017 10:58 pm

    Stifling free speech get probation? Wait until you get into the real world. You will find that there are consequences for this sort of action and they don’t include probation.

    [Reply]