Hundreds of Middlebury College students turned their backs on, and shouted down a prominent and controversial writer and scholar, Dr. Charles Murray, preventing him from giving a public lecture. The violent attack on free speech left one college professor injured and Middlebury’s President disappointed with the "deep and troubling divisions that were on display [that] night."
Middlebury College's American Enterprise Club - a politically conservative group - invited Dr. Charles Murray to give a speech. Murray's writings are fairly controversial, especially The Bell Curve, which argues the differences in intelligence are partially genetic and that there may be genetic differences between races. His most recent book, Coming Apart, "analyzes the struggles of the white working class."
Leftist protestors stood up during Murray's speech, turned their backs to him and started chanting loudly so much so that he could not speak, according to PBS. Chants included "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Charles Murray, go away" and "Who is the enemy? White supremacy." Murray and his interlocutor, politically-liberal Professor Allison Stanger, moved to a secret location to continue their speech and dialogue, but were disturbed once again by protestors who began pushing and reportedly "grabbed [Stanger's] hair and twisted her neck." Stanger ended up at the hospital and received a neck brace for her injury. Finally, when Murray, Stanger and their escorts departed, protestors 'pounded on [the waiting car], rocked it back and forth, and jumped onto the hood."
In response to the incident, Middlebury President Laurie Patton stated students "failed to live up to our core values.' Although Patton openly disagrees with Murray's views, prior to Murray's appearance, she reminded students that they were permitted to "protest but not to disrupt the talk." Professor Stanger was similarly concerned that, "some faculty colleagues who had publicly acknowledged that they had not read anything Dr. Murray had written joined the effort to shut down the lecture." In your opinion, was the protest justified? Is there a better way to argue against those of varying political ideologies? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.
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