Charles Murray at Middlebury: Unacceptable and Unethical, Say Over 450 Alumni

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The following is a letter, co-signed by over 450 Middlebury alums (and counting), condemning the decision to invite Charles Murray to campus:

Dear Middlebury College,

We are Middlebury alumni/ae who were disappointed, confused and alarmed to learn that Charles Murray has been invited to speak at our alma mater. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers Dr. Murray a “white nationalist” who “us[es] racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by… genetic inferiority.” Why has such a person been granted a platform at Middlebury?

This is not an issue of freedom of speech. We think it is necessary to allow a diverse range of perspectives to be voiced at Middlebury. In college, we learned through thoughtful, compassionate and often difficult discussions inside the classroom and out — conversations in which our beliefs were questioned and our assumptions challenged. We fully support the core liberal arts principle that contact with other intellectual viewpoints and life experiences than one’s own is integral to a beneficial education.

However, in this case we find the principle does not apply, due to not only the nature, but also the quality, of Dr. Murray’s scholarship. He paints arguments for the biological and intellectual superiority of white men with a thin veneer of quantitative rhetoric and academic authority. His work, including 1984’s Losing Ground and 1994’s The Bell Curve (coauthored with Richard Herrnstein), misinterprets selective, uncorrected statistics and other faulty data to argue for the genetic inferiority of people of color, women, people with disabilities and the poor. This is the same thinking that motivates eugenics and the genocidal white supremacist ideologies which are enjoying a popular resurgence under the new presidential administration. It is the same thinking that pervades many of the policies, structures and attitudes that perpetuate the ever-worsening inequalities of American society today. But it is fallacious thinking. The Bell Curve, for example, has been roundly refuted and criticized by sociologists, psychologists and political scientists alike. Yet Dr. Murray does not seem to be the kind of scholar who responds thoughtfully to criticism of his findings, biases or methodology. He has only continued to produce more work distinguished by the same disregard for basic standards of research and peer review.

We ask the Middlebury College community, and the American Enterprise Institute in particular: If Dr. Murray’s scholarship is of blatantly dreadful quality — and we hold, along with so many of his colleagues, that it is — then what is the point of “debating” his views? How, and why, does one go about arguing in good faith with a scholar whose entire intellectual premise consists of what are now being called, incredibly, “alternative facts”?

Since Dr. Murray’s views are not worth engaging on these grounds, this can hardly be called an occasion for open, rigorous academic debate. His invitation to campus, then, is not an educational opportunity, but a threat. It is a message to every woman, every person of color, every first-generation student, every poor and working-class person, every disabled person and every queer person that not only their acceptance to and presence at Middlebury, but also their safety, their agency, their humanity and even their very right to exist are all up for “debate.” As a coalition of eight Middlebury student organizations wrote in Beyond the Green in 2016: “When you ask us to consider the other side of the argument, you are asking us to consider our assumed inferiority as a logical position. In no way does this consideration further our (or your) education.” In this case, there’s not really any “other side,” only deceptive statistics masking unfounded bigotry. In the context of Middlebury, Dr. Murray’s pseudo-scholarship is not merely pseudo-scholarship. It is intimidation.

When we were students at Middlebury, we felt it was our responsibility to ensure that perspectives like Dr. Murray’s were not legitimized by hollow appeals to tolerance and the power of “dialogue.” As graduates, we still feel that responsibility, and we expect that current members of the Middlebury community feel similarly obligated to support and protect the most structurally vulnerable amongst us. We believe in a Middlebury that invites, and pays, those guests who will most enrich the education of every student. We believe in a Middlebury whose students exercise their own constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly by protesting this event.

We, the undersigned, want to make clear to Old Chapel that the decision to bring Dr. Murray to campus is unacceptable and unethical. It is a decision that directly endangers members of the community and stains Middlebury’s reputation by jeopardizing the institution’s claims to intellectual rigor and compassionate inclusivity. We hope that not everyone at Middlebury today endorses that decision. We hope many of you dissent, and we hope you make that dissent known howsoever you see fit.

In solidarity,

Sam Catlin ‘14.5

Kate McCreary ‘15

Alexandria Jackman ‘14

Gregg Butler ‘13.5

Cailey Cron ‘13.5

Maddie Dai ‘14

Ashley Guzman ‘13

Greta Neubauer ‘14.5

Alice Oshima ‘15

Isabella Tudisco-Sadacca ‘13.5

Cosigned,

  1. Ben Blackshear ‘12
  2. Julia Welsh ‘14.5
  3. Meridith Carroll ‘15
  4. Jack Apollo George ‘15.5
  5. Deb Wakefield ‘11.5
  6. Aashna Aggarwal ‘16
  7. Meagan Collins ‘12
  8. Thomas Corrado ‘10.5
  9. Olivia Heffernan ‘15
  10. Isabelle Shallcross ‘16
  11. Angeline Rodriguez ‘16
  12. Dylan Otterbein ‘15.5
  13. Jasmine Ross ‘16
  14.         Stephen Paolillo ‘15
  15. Will Brennan-Arffmann ‘16
  16. Molly McShane ‘16
  17. Peter Murray ‘13.5
  18. Kyle Drevline ‘12
  19. Dana Harris ‘13
  20. Drew Jenkins ‘15
  21. Eliot VanValkenburg ‘16
  22. Jessica Tibbs-Tacke ‘14
  23. Nathaniel Westlake Kerr ‘11
  24. Jackson Frons ‘16
  25. Milou Lammers ‘15
  26. Claire Jensen ‘13.5
  27. Katharine Linder ‘15
  28. Rebecca Hicks ‘15
  29. Kathryn Falk ‘14.5
  30. Benjamin Miller ‘14.5
  31. Brad Becker-Parton ‘11.5
  32. Carly Shumaker ‘13
  33. Kate Leib ‘16
  34. Emily Luan ‘15
  35. Perry Blackshear ‘05
  36. Eliza Gilmore ‘13
  37. Rhiya Trivedi ‘12
  38. Benjamin Savard ’14
  39. Andrew Wolfley-Payan ‘15.5
  40. Alec MacMillen ‘14
  41. Feliz Baca ‘14
  42. Felipe Guevara ‘12
  43. David Chen ‘14
  44. Kelsey Lee ‘13.5
  45. Hanna Mahon ‘13.5
  46. Maya Doig-Acuna ’16.5
  47. Sarah Hemphill ‘16
  48. Josh Brosnan ‘16
  49. Martin Fowler ‘15
  50. Katie Weatherseed ‘16.5
  51. Anna Mullen ‘15
  52. Philippe Bronchtein ‘10
  53. Mackenzie Beer ‘12.5
  54. Xian Chiang-Waren ‘11.5
  55. Cody Gohl ‘13
  56. Alexandra Kennedy ‘13.5
  57. Moss Turpan ’14.5
  58. Catherine van der List ‘14
  59. Rebecca Coates-Finke ‘16.5
  60. Lily Oyler ‘15.5
  61. Michael Cunningham ‘15
  62. Caroline Joyner ‘15
  63. Claire Gogolen ‘08
  64. Sam O’Keefe ‘16.5
  65. Kim Ammons ‘11
  66. Hana Kahn ‘14
  67. Emily Banks ‘15
  68. Zane Anthony ‘16.5
  69. Nike Power ‘14
  70. Hannah Quinn ‘16
  71. Matt Witkin ‘16.5
  72. Melissa MacDonald ‘15
  73. Cordelia Newbury ‘13
  74. Maya Barzilai ‘13
  75. Canem Ozyildirim ‘10
  76. Sarah Thomas ‘14
  77. Colin Taylor ‘11
  78. Arnav Adhikari ‘16
  79. Daniel Vatnick ‘15
  80. Nora Hirozawa ‘11
  81. Kimberly Banford ‘15
  82. Firas Nasr ‘15
  83. Maya Goldberg Safir ‘12.5
  84. Scott Gilman ‘15
  85. Hannah Bristol ‘14.5
  86. Josh Swartz ‘14.5
  87. Lily Miao ‘14
  88. Jessamy Klapper ‘09
  89. Levi Westerveld ‘15.5
  90. Morgan Childs ‘14
  91. Emily Wei ‘13
  92. Georgia Wei ‘16
  93. Alexandra Spencer-Wong ‘16
  94. Elena Cutting ‘14
  95. Ryan Brewster ‘14
  96. Margaret Lindon ‘16
  97. Afi Yellow-Duke ‘15
  98. Monica Chow ‘16
  99. Kiya Vega-Hutchens ‘13.5
  100. Syeda Habib ‘13.5
  101. Jun Chen ‘13.5
  102. Amanda Lynn Bowen ‘11
  103. Hannah Smith ‘15
  104. Ashali Bhandari ‘14
  105. Chapin Boyer ‘14
  106. Allie Shaffer ‘10
  107. Maya Peers Nitzberg ‘16.5
  108. Leah Fessler ‘15
  109. Karen Rauppius ‘12
  110. Kiana Cateriano ‘15.5
  111. Rachel Percelay ‘14
  112. Eric Benoit ‘16
  113. Byron Rath ‘10
  114. Bree Baccaglini ‘15
  115. Carter Kelly ‘15
    Doug LeCours ‘15
  116. Rebecca Wear ‘10.5
  117. Rebecca Tharp ‘12
  118. Carson Dietz Hartmann ‘12.5
  119. Jean Lin ‘10
  120. Patrick D’Arcy ‘12
  121. Peter Coccoma ‘12
  122. Ali McAnaney ‘11
  123. Spencer Salibur ‘15
  124. Abby Karp ‘14
  125. Frederic Camara ‘14
  126. Mary Katherine McElroy ‘10
  127. Molly Stuart ‘15
  128. Nate Woods ‘11.5
  129. Hannah Postel ‘13
  130. Viviana Altamirano ’16
  131. William James ‘10.5
  132. Will Guida ‘12.5
  133. Samantha Srom ‘13.5
  134. Suraj Patel ‘15
  135. Zach Schuetz ‘11
  136. Jackie McGuinness ‘16
  137. Filippos Papageorgiou ‘16
  138. Laura Pollard ‘10
  139. Barrett Smith ‘13
  140. Adam Lang ‘14
  141. Ali Omsberg ‘15
  142. Elise Cabral ‘16
  143. Hannah Stonebraker ‘13
  144. David Ly ‘07
  145. Abra Atwood ‘15
  146. Nitika Arora ‘15
  147. Julia Favorito ‘14
  148. Thomas Bryenton ‘13
  149. Isabella Stallworthy ‘15
  150. Carllee James ‘13
  151. Krystal Melendez ‘15.5
  152. Kyle Warner ‘13
  153. Annie Powers ‘15
  154. Alexandra Strott ‘14.5
  155. Cynthia Connard ‘15
  156. Ali Vallarta ‘13.5
  157. Sarah Elkhayat ‘09.5
  158. Nial Rele ’12
  159. Kathleen Gudas ‘16.5
  160. Annabelle Jones ‘15
  161. Austin Bergeron ‘13
  162. Izzy Ocampo ‘14
  163. Ramin Peña ‘13
  164. Casey Peterson ‘12
  165. Annalisa Baratta ‘15
  166. Lauren Kelly ‘13
  167. Nathaniel Brown ‘13
  168. Grace Donovan ‘13.5
  169. Sherif Nada ‘16
  170. Lucas Acosta ‘14
  171. Charlie Kies ‘16
  172. Lucy Killian ‘15.5
  173. Richard Brach ‘16.5
  174. Luke Smith-Stevens ‘14.5
  175. David Murray ‘15
  176. Marina DiMarco ‘15
  177. Zachary Strauss ‘15
  178. Yvonne Chan ‘16
  179. Pramish Thapa ‘15
  180. Jason Robart ‘15
  181. Todd Langstaff ‘13
  182. Forest Jarvis ‘15
  183. Isaac Sadaqah ‘11
  184. Parker Ziegler ‘16
  185. Irene Andrade ‘15
  186. Hilary Hall ‘11
  187. Michael Suen ‘11
  188. Adam Kritzer ’11
  189. Matt Johnson ’12
  190. Gabriela Fuentes ‘16
  191. William Blake Johnson ‘10
  192. Erin Hansen ’11
  193. Adam Kelley ‘16
  194. Celey Schumer ‘09
  195. Alix Bickson ‘14
  196. Ally Yanson ‘14
  197. Aseem Mulji ‘11.5
  198. Sarah Bates ‘14
  199. Lian Folger ‘14.5
  200. Emma Drucker ‘11.5
  201. Derek Schlickeisen ‘09
  202. Eric Hass ‘15
  203. Sarah Kotb ‘16
  204. Rachel Dicker ‘14
  205. Amari Simpson ‘16
  206. Ana Vallejo ‘12
  207. Rachel Woods ‘14
  208. Sarah James ‘16
  209. Graciela Sarabia ‘13
  210. Xiner Liu ‘15
  211. Steven Dunmire ‘13
  212. Jelani Williams ‘14
  213. Sayre White ‘15
  214. Dan Murphy ‘11
  215. Anu Biswas ‘16
  216. Peter Hetzler ‘10
  217. Molly Rose-Williams ‘13.5
  218. Timothy Garcia ‘14
  219. Nora Sheridan ‘12
  220. Kristina Johansson ‘14
  221. Maddy Lawler ‘14
  222. Liam Quinn ‘05
  223. Mia Nakaji Monnier ‘10
  224. Jason Milan ‘15
  225. James Moser ‘16.5
  226. Eric Elderbrock ‘10
  227. Noah Feder ‘09
  228. Lucie Torrey ‘12
  229. Rita Pfeiffer ‘15
  230. Bronwyn Oatley ‘13
  231. Simran Bhalla ‘11
  232. Celia Cadwell ‘14.5
  233. Katie Chamberlain ‘16
  234. Clair Beltran ‘16
  235. Jackie Voluz ‘14
  236. Brita Fisher ‘15
  237. Lorena Espinoza Guerrero ‘11.5
  238. Alie Bornstein ‘11
  239. Sarah Marcus ‘14
  240. Christina Azodi ‘12
  241. Alicia Danze ‘11
  242. Rebecca Geiger ‘16
  243. Will Cunningham ‘10
  244. Andy Hyatt ‘12
  245. Hudson Cavanagh ‘14
  246. Naila Jahan ‘15
  247. Sara Sobolewski ‘14
  248. Marc Delaney ‘12
  249. Chelsea Melone ‘15
  250. Hannah McMeekin ‘12.5
  251. Walter Taylor ‘15
  252. Hannah Washington ‘08
  253. Jackie Park ’15
  254. Anastassia Paloni ‘08.5
  255. Amelia Linsky ‘13
  256. Liilia Namsing ‘16
  257. Zeke Caceres ‘15
  258. Brittany McAdams ‘09
  259. Emma McDonald ‘16
  260. Chris Inzerillo ‘13
  261. Yuan Liu ‘16
  262. Tara Sun Vanacore, ‘06
  263. Samantha Kaufman ‘12.5
  264. Grace Wildermuth ‘14
  265. Ryan Urquidi ‘13
  266. Priscilla Odinmah ‘15
  267. Dan Miller ‘13
  268. Jonathan Cox ‘11
  269. Erika Berger ‘11.5
  270. Carolynn Johnson ‘15
  271. Hannah Grotzinger ‘16
  272. Ellie Krause ‘14
  273. Mimi Micner ‘10
  274. Lea Calderon-Guthe ‘11.5
  275. Lauren Alper ‘16
  276. Denisa Hoxha ‘15.5
  277. April Dodd ‘13
  278. Alexander Burnett ‘16
  279. Joyce Ma ‘14
  280. Claire Luby ‘10
  281. Hannah Pierce ‘13
  282. Graeme Daubert ‘12.5
  283. Carolina McGarity ‘16.5
  284. Karl Krusell ‘11
  285. Caitlin Duffy ‘15.5
  286. Ivan Zeavin-Moss ‘16
  287. Jumi Kim BL ‘03
  288. Jacqueline Husin ‘15
  289. Alyssandra Jaquith ‘14
  290. Hannah Marks ‘15.5
  291. Elma Burnham ‘13
  292. Hannah Madson ‘09
  293. Juliette Gobin ‘16
  294. Benjamin Ehrlich ‘09
  295. Linnea Meyer ‘14
  296. Sally Caruso ‘15.5
  297. Jeffrey Colt ‘14.5
  298. Gabriel Weissmann ‘15
  299. Phoebe Plank ‘12
  300. Logan Brown ‘11
  301. Jared Smith ‘13
  302. Carson Cornbrooks ‘11
  303. Dylan Redford ‘15
  304. Jason Omenn ‘94
  305. Laurel Taylor ‘11
  306. Eric McAdams ‘16
  307. Aylie Baker ‘09
  308. Jess Parker ‘15.5
  309. Virginia Wiltshire-Gordon ‘16
  310. Anne Pellett Tory, ’91
  311. Dylan Gilbert ‘16
  312. Kaleigh Spollen ‘13.5
  313. Eli Mauksch ‘15
  314. Jacob Udell ‘12
  315. Jon Campbell ‘11
  316. Jessica Kong ‘15
  317. James Davis II ‘08
  318. Jelena Jesajana ‘11
  319. Cecily Glouchevitch ‘12.5
  320. Christine Valentin ’12
  321. Katie Willis ’12
  322. Julianne Murat ‘07
  323. Robin Weisselberg ‘16.5
  324. Nerina Cocchi ‘10
  325. Mark Isbell ‘14.5
  326. Adrienne Losch ‘12
  327. Jeremy Lessing ‘13.5
  328. Rachel Nuñez ’14
  329. XiAn Lee ’13
  330. Denise Marte ‘12
  331. Nathaniel Smith ‘10.5
  332. Emily White ‘12.5
  333. Anika Wistar-Jones ’11
  334. Maya Neria ‘15
  335. Ian Bachman-Sanders ‘09.5
  336. Diego Galan ‘14
  337. Jenna Meyer ‘14
  338. Annalise Carington ‘15
  339. Jesse Bennett ‘11
  340. Megan Nesbeth ‘11
  341. Amitai Ben-Abba ‘15
  342. Melanie Dennis ‘14
  343. Audrey Tolbert ‘13
  344. Abe Katz ‘11
  345. Clare Donohue-Meyer ‘16
  346. Wahid Ahmed ‘12.5
  347. Charlie Hofmann ‘10
  348. Jenny Erwin ‘10
  349. Zohra Safi ‘09
  350. David Martin ‘13
  351. Kate Anderson ‘13
  352. Victor Guevara ‘10
  353. Christopher Schlabach ‘13
  354. Tiffany Kuo Schlabach ‘13
  355. Mariana Veras ‘12
  356. Teddy Smyth ‘15
  357. Mohan Fitzgerald ‘14
  358. Innocent Tswamuno ‘15
  359. Rowan Braybrook ‘09.5
  360. Louise Boyd Cadwell ‘71
  361. Miriam Nielsen ‘14
  362. Mariangela Bucci ‘16
  363. Tim Weed ‘87
  364. Russell Jacobs ‘12
  365. Rebecca Swartz ’09
  366. Daisy Brown ‘16
  367. Amanda Kaminsky ‘13
  368. Leah Morales ‘13
  369. Natalie Jorgensen ‘13
  370. Katie Manduca ‘14.5
  371. Tenzing Kalsang Sherpa 10
  372. Olivia Noble ‘13
  373. Steve Zatarain ‘15
  374. Alex Macmillan ‘15
  375. Shipnia Bytyqi ‘12
  376. Mairead Harris ’09
  377. Lillie Hodges ‘15.5
  378. Melissa Espert ‘09
  379. Leslie Stonebraker ‘09.5
  380. Marissa Perez ‘16.5
  381. Alyssa Fassett-Carman ‘15
  382. Alan Sanders ‘13.5
  383. Danielle Berry ‘13
  384. John Cheesman ‘16
  385. Claire Smith ‘14.5
  386. Sandra Markowitz ‘15.5
  387. Amelia Magistrali ‘09
  388. Kenrry Alvarado, ‘15
  389. Eyal Levy ‘14.5
  390. Joanna Rothkopf ’12
  391. Will Cuneo ‘15
  392. Maria Rojas ‘12
  393. Abigail Borah ‘13
  394. Sean Willerford ‘14
  395. Kate Murray ’15
  396. Amalia Kane ‘12.5
  397. Iraj De Alwis ‘15
  398. Jenna Reichenbach ‘14
  399. Avery Finch ‘09.5
  400. Evan Allis ‘15.5
  401. Sayre Weir ‘15
  402. Alex Fisher ‘10
  403. Sasha Rivera ‘12
  404. John Glouchevitch ‘10.5
  405. Ariele Faber ‘12.5
  406. Theodore Kuo ‘15
  407. Grace Yu ‘13
  408. Jordan Kelley ‘14
  409. Amanda Wiggans ‘14.5
  410. Shenique Moxey ‘11
  411. Joshua Axelrod ‘05
  412. Andrew Singer ‘11
  413. Tess Sherman ‘12.5
  414. Laura Romig ‘12.5
  415. Hallie Gammon ‘10
  416. Ethan Mann ‘12
  417. Hannah Rae Murphy ‘14.5
  418. Veronica Maisch ‘14
  419. Alana Jenkins ‘12
  420. Jane Ames ‘14
  421. Allen Hoffman ‘12
  422. Seavron Banus ‘11
  423. Cecilia Goldschmidt ‘10
  424. Erin Birdsall ‘16
  425. Sarah Kaelin ‘15.5
  426. Toby Norden ’10
  427. Kelsey Calhoun ‘12
  428. Brenna Kearns ‘12
  429. Amanda Lowe ‘11
  430. Waylon D’Mello ‘09
  431. Michiko Arai ‘13.5
  432. Dennis Avalos ‘11
  433. Henrik Gundersen ‘16
  434. Rebecca Roe ‘15
  435. Leann Li ‘12
  436. Rob Johnson ‘12.5
  437. Dede Cummings ‘79
  438. Naureen Haque ‘10
  439. Veronica Coates ‘14
  440. Jordan Weiss Coleman ‘12
  441. Erik Weidner ‘13
  442. Christine Walsh ‘13
  443. David Reymondet ‘09
  444. Caroline Nutt ‘14
  445. Sofia Zinger ‘10.5
  446. Abigail Jenkins ‘14
  447. Kenzie Chin ‘10.5
  448. Raffie Parke ‘13
  449. Moriel Rothman-Zecher ‘11
  450. Isabella Cuglievan ‘15
  451. Chelsea Utterback ‘09.5
  452. Jason J. Price ‘99
  453. Kevin Yochim ‘14
  454. William Spencer Wright ‘11.5
  455. Sonam Choedon ‘14
  456. Anna LaSala-Goettler ‘14.5
  457. Maggie Danna ‘16.5
  458. Savannah Pope ‘12.5
  459. Katherine Macfarlane ‘11.5
  460. Chris Free ‘10
  461. Sophie Kligler ‘15
  462. Amanda Perry ‘11
  463. Josh Wessler ‘09
  464. Catherine Hays ‘15
  465. Hilary Platt ‘12.5
  466. Aifuwa Ehigiator ‘08
  467. Larkin Barron ‘18.5
  468. Rebecca Harper ‘11
  469. Matthew Yaggy ‘12
  470. Elaine Delinger ‘14
  471. Stephanie Keating ‘13
  472. Tom Hitz ‘15
  473. Zach Fenster ‘12
  474. Andrew Snow ‘15
  475. Catherine Dalton ‘01
  476. Elizabeth King ‘13.5
  477. Julia Paolillo ‘15.5
  478. Katrina Thornburgh ‘13.5
  479. Sophia Green 14.5
  480. Divya Dethier ‘12
  481. Jay Huggin ‘14
  482. Dana Westmoreland ‘13
  483. Adina Marx-Arpadi ‘13.5
  484. Camille Seyler ‘14
  485. Alison Lewis ‘14
  486. Katie Michels, ‘14.5
  487. Sarah Harney ‘12
  488. Evan Auguste ‘10
  489. Sophie Lew ‘13.5
  490. Olivia Grugan, ‘12

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