Letter to the editor: Feb. 13, 2020

"Charles Murray and his ilk are unacceptable on campus"

By JAMES MARC LEAS

To the editor:

The Middlebury College Handbook bans bigotry and intolerance from the campus: “Middlebury College is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive campus environment where bigotry and intolerance are unacceptable.”

As appearance on campus by avowed racial bigot Charles Murray is, therefore, “unacceptable,” who will enforce the college handbook rule now? In 2017, the administration left it to students to create an event enforcing this college handbook rule. Then, the administration punished 70 of the students for doing so.

The administration continues to pretend that the handbook provision does not exist. But its inclusion in the college handbook means the question of bigotry on campus is beyond debate: the question was answered and settled long ago. Bigotry is not a free speech matter at Middlebury. Bigotry is “unacceptable” at Middlebury. That means Charles Murray and his ilk are unacceptable on campus. If the administration fails to enforce its own handbook, it is the administration, not the students, who must be punished.

 

James Marc Leas is a Vermont patent attorney who writes about constitutional, civil, and human rights matters for local and national publications.