Editor’s Note: The Front Page Photograph

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Editor’s Note: The Front Page Photograph





I wish to explain the photograph on page A1 to the readers. I recognize that it may be especially jarring, particularly for students of color who feel that Charles Murray’s rhetoric poses a threat to their very humanity. I also recognize that Murray’s visit to campus last March is an open wound for a campus trying desperately to move forward from it.

During a heated debate in the newsroom on Tuesday night, most of the section editors, and the managing editor, said that running this photograph would be inappropriate. Though I deeply respect the input of my editors, I decided to run the photograph anyway. I take full responsibility for this decision. It was mine alone, and any criticism should be directed at me alone.

This photograph is not meant to troll, or to cause pain, but to ask how that protest still lives with us today, one year later. For many, this image is burned in our collective memory. As much as we try to distance ourselves from that moment, we are made from it.

I recognize that running this photograph is a political act. Yet I see no way to comprehend this institution without seeing ourselves as part of American society, which is itself political.

I also believe moving forward requires looking inside, however unpleasant that may be. We cannot escape our history. We can only confront it.

Ethan Brady is the editor in chief.

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19 Responses to “Editor’s Note: The Front Page Photograph”

  1. Con Reeder on March 4th, 2018 7:12 am

    “Threatens their humanity”? Can you explain the mechanism for that?

    Nothing threatens anyone’s humanity except tyranny. Tyranny that you represent by your silencing of free speech.

  2. CJI on March 4th, 2018 7:39 am

    Not all millennials feel the same way as this self-righteous Dude. I’ve read Murray. Not all but some and how he’s interpreted as a racist is beyond me.

    In the words of Andrew Breitbart, “There’s nothing in this country that is a worse accusation than racism. Its where in America if you accuse someone of racism, that person has to..disprove that.”

  3. Anne Sym-Smith on March 4th, 2018 11:21 am

    Just last week my high school junior and I met with our NYC independent school’s college counselor. When Middlebury was mentioned, we both shook our heads and said “Absolutely not.” Whatever fine qualities Middlebury has are unimportant in light of this deeply distressing event (and others like it).

    Middlebury has a deep stain that can be mitigated only by confronting it, as suggested by Ethan Brady. And while that happens (if it happens), my daughter will be at an institution that that welcomes well-reasoned and respectful debate, not an uninformed mob rule. If administrators and students have lost sight of what uninformed and civilized debate looks like, I invite you to watch a video or listen to a podcast on numerous controversial topic at IQ2US.

    Thank you for your courage, Mr. Brady, for raising this distressing yet essential subject. I wish you and your fellow students courage in foraging ahead.

  4. Conrad Spoke on March 5th, 2018 1:52 am

    The obvious point is that Ms. Stanger was not named, nor was the fact that she was seriously injured by anti-free speech Marxist thugs.

  5. Alum on March 5th, 2018 8:47 am

    This editorial neatly encapsulates why in this day and age, I would never hire anyone straight out of Midd — even if they didn’t outwardly subscribe to the toxic identity politics that appear to be prevalent on campus.

    The author seems like a reasonable person who made a good editorial decision and is trying to communicate that decision, but both the tone and logical structure of his arguments belie the fact that Middlebury has become a place where a sizable minority of students and professors have cowed the rest of the campus into submission through the threat of scorched-earth assault on dissenters’ reputations.

    I wouldn’t hire anyone who had been marinating in such an environment for the last four years — no way. As far as I can tell, one of the main topics current Midd students learn, simply by osmosis in the current on-campus environment, is a nuanced set of rules for enforcing the dominance of intersectional identity politics through vicious harassment and shaming.

    It’s sad, because the upshot of all this is the reduction of opportunities for Midd students, including the ones (probably a majority of current Middkids) who think all this identity politics stuff is dumb, but say nothing because they don’t want to a) be publicly tarred for wrongthink and b) limit their current opportunities to have friends on campus. In the commentary section of another article, the author Bochu Ding quoted Greg Buckles as saying, “Middlebury has been known as a fairly low-key school when it comes to hardcore recruiting”. Sorry Greg, but that’s like a person with terrible halitosis saying that they’re fairly low-key when it comes to dating.

    Let me be clear, current students: WE DON’T WANT TO HIRE YOU BECAUSE WE THINK YOU’RE CRAZY. And that will probably continue to be true unless and until you turn Midd back into a place where people can actually learn stuff and discuss controversial topics in a heterodox environment in which people can speak their minds without fear of character assassination.

  6. Richard Fox on March 5th, 2018 4:20 pm

    What kind of people work at the Campus nowadays? Running this photo is a political act? Have you never heard of actual political acts — the Civil Rights Movement, perhaps? These millennials think putting a normal photo in a student newspaper is a political act.

  7. Brian on March 7th, 2018 5:26 pm

    You didn’t read the book.

  8. Zimriel on March 7th, 2018 6:02 pm

    He *is* right that my eyesight is poor and couldn’t make out the face behind him.

  9. Senior @Midd on March 7th, 2018 9:07 pm

    Professor Stanger was injured by off-campus activists believed to be based in Burlington. Not. Students.

  10. Charles Breiling on March 7th, 2018 10:11 pm

    To be clear, Murray tweeted: “How about confronting that the woman in the photograph you can’t bring yourself to name suffered a concussion and a neck injury that she still lives with?”

  11. Ami Furgang on March 8th, 2018 1:20 am

    the editor of The Campus makes a bold choice, explains intention behind it, and expresses empathy with anyone who potentially would feel disturbed by it, and then 20+ self-righteous commenters take the opportunity to whine about it. But wait! Not a single one is actually offended by the photo, they’re all offended by pc-culture! So, um…do you guys need a safe space? Or do you need the editor to apologize for hurting your feelings? I’m sowwy Middlebury makes you so angwy and fwustrated :'(

    let’s be real though, you’re honestly all worse at handling an opposing viewpoint than anyone I know on this campus.

  12. Bill Grant on March 8th, 2018 2:10 pm

    How was this a “bold choice?
    The obvious answer is that because unwelcome speech comes with a threat of violence and retaliation at Middlebury. I haven’t seen any of these “self-righteous commenters” that you take issue with resorting to threats. Not a very high bar to clear, I’ll admit; yet one that Middlebury hasn’t.

  13. Dan on March 8th, 2018 12:18 pm

    Seriously Sir,

    If you had been running the Washington Post in the 70’s your team would have voted against running pictures of Nixon? You need a new team.

    There are educated individuals devoted to counseling and psychiatry. Newspapers are generally devoted to journalism. Confronting the past, or difficult things often hurts. You clearly did the right thing, apologizing for it may be self preservation but it’s sad.

  14. Jonathan Swift Jr. on March 9th, 2018 12:37 am

    Except that now “journalism” seems to consist mainly of suppressing anything that makes the left uncomfortable. Finding a good story and covering it – with a pillow – until it stops moving.

  15. Jonathan Swift Jr. on March 8th, 2018 1:13 pm

    The one who hit the professor and injured her was from off campus, but the campus thugs-in-training who rioted were not disciplined. Fascistic behavior is honored on the modern campus, which is rather interesting because they often claim to be “Anti-fascists.”

  16. Jonathan Swift Jr. on March 9th, 2018 12:39 am

    Indeed, seminaries for the left. When Murray came to speak they call assembled and chanted incantations and cheered when he was forced to leave the confines of their
    church. They didn’t want to hear any blasphemy!

  17. Chris Halkides on March 11th, 2018 1:30 pm

    This essay leaves out two crucial pieces of information. One is that the students who protested prevented their own classmates from listening to an invited speaker. Two is that the these students put one of their own professors in the hospital. That this professor (Allison Stanger) was willing to engage and debate Dr. Murray’s ideas is important in one respect and irrelevant in another: the students could have learned the how to have a discourse with whom one disagrees. On the other hand even if Professor Stanger had agreed with Murray’s ideas, it would not have given anyone the right to harm her bodily. The real stain on Middlebury’s reputation was that these students received only a token punishment.

  18. Chris Halkides on March 12th, 2018 9:27 pm

    The police were unable to identify the people responsible for Professor Stanger’s injuries. Whether they were students or non-student agitators cannot be determined with certainty; therefore, my comment above, as well as the students’ denials of their involvement, should be amended.

  19. Agnet Duke on April 6th, 2018 3:22 pm

    Why should it be amended? Why does everything and anything that offends require some sort of false recompense or pseudo-reparations? Learn to deal.

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Editor’s Note: The Front Page Photograph