Letter from Middlebury Faculty

By Cohort of Middlebury Professors, Middlebury Faculty

Dear President Patton,

We the undersigned faculty respectfully request that you, as our president, cancel your introductory remarks at the Charles Murray event on Thursday.

Mr. Murray is, as you know, a discredited ideologue paid by the American Enterprise Institute to promote public policies targeting people of color, women and the poor. His work has employed a combination of eugenics and other pseudo-science that has time and time again shown to be based on false premises, inadequate research and erroneous conclusions. He is not an academic nor a “critically acclaimed” public scholar, but a well-funded phony. His research is an insult to the intellectual integrity of Middlebury College. To introduce him—even to critique his arguments—only lends legitimacy to his ideas as worth engaging with.

To be clear, this is not a case of disagreeing with the ideas of a fellow scholar. Rather, this is to recognize that this event was organized by a chapter of the American Enterprise Institute, is funded by the AEI, and that Mr. Murray has been peddling AEI propaganda as a “public scholar” since the 1990s. Let the AEI be responsible for explaining to the College and the wider community why they hosted someone whose scholarship has been thoroughly discredited and who denies the basic human dignity of members of our community.

Rather than lend legitimacy to this event, we respectfully request you stand up for a campus that is intellectually open and culturally diverse, but one that does not fall prey to the designs of external organizations who peddle partisan propaganda in the guise of “public scholarship.”


Tara Affolter, Assistant Professor, Education Studies

Holly Allen, Assistant Professor, American Studies

Molly Anderson, Professor, Food Studies

Dima Ayoub, Assistant Professor, Arabic

Mez Baker-Medard, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies

Jim Berg, Visiting Assistant Professor, English and American Literatures

Sony Bolton, Postdoctoral Fellow in Spanish

Susan Burch, Professor, American Studies

Maggie Clinton, Assistant Professor, History

Carolyn Craven, Visiting Assistant Professor, Economics

Adam Dean, Assistant Professor, Political Science

Laurie Essig, Associate Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Florence Feiereisen, Associate Professor, German

Irina Feldman, Assistant Professor, Spanish

J Finley, Assistant Professor, American Studies

Ellery Foutch, Assistant Professor, American Studies

Juana Gamero de Coca, Associate Professor, Spanish

Randall Ganiban, Professor, Classics

Eliza Garrison, Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture

Gloria Gonzalez-Zenteno, Associate Professor, Spanish

Roman Graf, Professor, German

Ben Graves, Visiting Instructor, English and American Literatures

William Hart, Associate Professor, History

Rachael Joo, Assistant Professor, American Studies

Antonia Losano, Professor, English and American Literatures

Joyce Mao, Associate Professor, History

Peter Matthews, Professor, Economics

Bettina Matthias, Professor, German

Tamar Mayer, Professor, Geography

Jamie McCallum, Assistant Professor, Sociology-Anthropology

Sujata Moorti, Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Kevin Moss, Professor, Russian

Linus Owens, Associate Professor, Sociology-Anthropology

Nicholas Poppe, Assistant Professor, Spanish

William Poulin-Deltour, Associate Professor, French

Fernando Rocha, Associate Professor, Portuguese

Daniel Rodrigues-Navas, Postdoctoral Fellow, Philosophy

Marcos Rohena-Madrazo, Assistant Professor, Spanish

Patricia Saldarriaga, Professor, Spanish

Paula Schwartz, Professor, French

Michael Sheridan, Associate Professor, Sociology-Anthropology

Daniel Silva, Assistant Professor, Portuguese

Usama Soltan, Associate Professor, Arabic

John Spackman, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Carly Thomsen, Assistant Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Rebecca Tiger, Associate Professor, Sociology-Anthropology

Jacob Tropp, Professor, History

Ioana Uricaru, Assistant Professor, Film and Media Culture

Edward Vazquez, Associate Professor, History of Art and Architecture

Hector Vila, Assistant Professor, Writing

Max Ward, Assistant Professor, History

Marion Wells, Associate Professor, English and American Literatures

Linda White, Associate Professor, Japanese

Carrie Wiebe, Professor, Chinese

Mark Williams, Professor, Political Science

Catharine Wright, Senior Lecturer, Writing-GSFS

Orian Zakai, Visiting Assistant Professor, Modern Hebrew

Patricia Zupan, Professor, Italian

Middlebury Faculty write in about Charles Murray’s 3/2 talk.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Letter from Middlebury Faculty”

  1. William W. on May 10th, 2017 2:35 am

    Just listened to a YouTube interview of Charles Murray by Sam Harris. Prompted me to comment on the middlebury fiasco.

    As a liberal whose first political memory was as an 8 year-old attending a Eugene McCarthy rally in Chicago with my father…. all I can say to the Middlebury students who shut down Mr. Murray’s talk is what a shameful legacy they have created for the civil rights movement and the Progressive movement in general. Hopefully someday soon you will look back on this with embarassment and an understanding of your misguided vitriol and youth…..

    Professors Sheridan and Essig, however, have no such excuse…. their betrayal of the middlebury’s ethos as a place of open ideas and debate are a stunning and deeply illiberal. They are the ones who truly deserve the public’s ire and censure.

    In Today’s social media world, the inane and insanely politically correct campus culture (see e.g., poc student complaints of “cultural appropriation” of hoop earrings at Claremont by white female students) is not just an “academic debate” that one can (or should) shrug with an eye roll. Instead I believe that a good case can be made that this type of liberal intolerance, silencing of dissent and retreat to “safe spaces” shown at middlebury directly helped elect Trump by creating an understable backlash to the SJW phenomenon. A simple search of “SJW” and “cringe” on YouTube will readily show how the Alt right (and large swaths of the rest of America) perceives today’s Left and how it has poisoned the Progressive cause holding it up to ready and (deserved) ridicule.

    As a result, we have raised students (and now seemingly professors) who are intellectually coddled, unable to listen to or effectively respond (with logic and reason) to contrary viewpoints and are only able to retreat to their own bubbles and echo chambers. Well done Middlebury, well done. Professor Haidt at NYU has done much good work on this phenomenon – all school administrators should consider his work.

    If anyone is actually interested in Mr. Murray’s work or ideas look up “Sam Harris and Charles Murray” for the type of reasoned discussion of ideas that should be core to middlebury’s mission.

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Letter from Middlebury Faculty