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    Vassar Disorientation Guide urges students to “Slap a Zionist”

    Vassar Disorientation Guide urges students to “Slap a Zionist”

    Vassar condemns “the behaviors this document advocates,” and has “identified the students believed to be responsible for its creation and distribution and began the student conduct process”

    Students at numerous schools have created a “Disorientation Guide” to be distributed to incoming first-year students to offset official Orientation Guides.

    A Disorientation Guide (full copy embedded at bottom of post)(pdf.) was just distributed at Vassar College, and it was loaded with anti-Israel, pro-BDS invective.

    I was mentioned in it, based on my lecture on free speech which generated fabricated campus hysteria and an attempt, endorsed by the Vassar Student Association, to prevent me from speaking.

    I did end up speaking, under heavy security. You can watch my 45-minute lecture and 1.5 hour Question and Answer.

    The campus reaction after my appearance was quite different than the hysteria that preceded the event. One student wrote in the campus newspaper of the “misrepresentation of facts” regarding me that preceded my appearance. Another student wrote in a student publication devoted to political discourse:

    “It’s time to acknowledge that H2A and the VSA lied to us.”

    [H2A was the student activist group against my appearance, and VSA is the Vassar Student Association which wanted my lecture cancelled.]

    Another student emailed me directly:

    I attended your event at Vassar last month and I just wanted to say thank you the insightful free speech talk that you gave. This message is a little late, but these thoughts have been mulling around in my head for a while, so I thought that I should reach out you. When I first heard that you were going to give a talk on campus, I was totally swept up in the rumors that you were a white nationalist, xenophobic, racist man with ties to the alt-right (as many of my friends were – literally, students with official administrative positions mass spread these rumors, and the administration did nothing to denounce them). I was surprised to find a reasonable, nonpartisan argument about the importance of free speech. You started an important discussion on campus and you’ve motivated a change within myself.

    The Guide referred to me as a “conservative and zionist law school professor.” That’s true, but the lecture at issue was not about Israel, so the need to categorize me as Zionist was a reflection of the pathology of campus politics among the radical left.

    FALL 2017: Conservative and zionist law school professor William Jacobson speaks on campus with a lecture titled “An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech on College Campuses” Healing 2 Action (H2A) coordinates two really well attended planning meetings to plan some sort of protest of the event. Students established their own campus security force for the day of the event, alternative events were hosted in the library and other spaces around campus, and 150+ students actually attended the event. Rocky 300 was overcapacity, and students asked “tough questions,” but did not disrupt the event. William Jacobson speaks on campus with a lecture titled “An Examination of Hate Speech and Free Speech on College Campuses” Healing 2 Action (H2A) coordinates two really well attended planning meetings to plan some sort of protest of the event. Students established their own campus security force for the day of the event, alternative events were hosted in the library and other spaces around campus, and 150+ students actually attended the event. Rocky 300 was overcapacity, and students asked “tough questions,” but did not disrupt the event.


    There also was a section on free speech, obviously a reaction to my appearance on campus. Here’s an excerpt (starting at p. 25 of the Guide):

    Like many ‘liberal’ colleges, Vassar has found itself embroiled in claims that free speech is under attack and conservative voices are suppressed. Following backlash to conservative blogger William Jacobson’s speech on campus, he published an article titled “My profree speech views made me the target of a smear campaign at Vassar College”. Jacobson denounced “anti-free speech progressives” and claimed the criticism he faced sent the message “that support for the 1st Amendment and freedom of speech is not welcome”. Other articles like “It’s Tough Being Conservative At Vassar” and “Charlottesville 2.0? Leftists smear peaceful free speech activists” have furthered the idea of the intolerant left at Vassar and stirred up fear of liberal censorship….

    The cry that one’s “free speech” is being infringed upon is often employed as a tool to distract from analyses of oppressive structures and promote a reactionary agenda. The far right is quick to draw attention to the seemingly outlandish responses they garner. In doing this, they divert from legitimate critiques of the deeply embedded white supremacy and fascist undertones of their movements. Playing up a narrative of the “intolerant left” and masquerading as victims, they gain space to further grow their organizations and terrorize vulnerable populations. In their call for a diversity of opinions, oppression is masked as just another different point of view. To consider alt-right rhetoric simply another perspective worth hearing out is to give fascism a platform. At a time when right-wing terror is spreading, allowing regressive speech to go unchallenged only spreads danger. As of right now, we are in a struggle for control, not a dialogue. Vassar does need a diversity of thought. It needs to be dismantled. Making room for reactionary voices will further legitimize hate. Instead, let’s start having critical conversations and get to work dismantling power imbalances. Only then in the absence of hierarchy, will we have the equal footing that is fundamental to speech that’s truly free.

    That the creators of the Disorientation Guide felt obligated to devote so much space to me reflects that my speech had a positive impact on campus. And that’s good.

    But there was a section of the Disorientation Guide which sparked much more controversy. As part of the attack on Zionists and Israel, the Guide called for students to “slap a Zionist” as part of many other actions students could take:

    The reference to Ahed Tamimi refers to the Palestinian teen arrested for slapping an Israeli soldier. We covered the Ahed Tamimi case extensively.

    Here are the full pages, which include calls to harass college President Elizabeth Bradley:

    I have confirmed that after distribution of the Disorientation Guide, the following message was sent to the Vassar community in the form of a Safety Alert from Campus Security:

    Dear Vassar Community Members,

    Earlier today an electronic document was sent to a number of people across campus. This document, which is similar to documents distributed at several peer institutions in recent years, contains statements and images that advocate certain violent or discriminatory behaviors including overall threats as well as a threat being investigated as potentially anti-Semitic. Vassar College condemns the behaviors this document seeks to advance.

    In an abundance of caution we wanted you to be aware of this situation.

    We recommend that you utilize the Safety and Security shuttle which runs from 6pm to 2am weeknights and 6pm – 3am weekends. Should you find yourself in need of traversing the campus beyond the campus shuttle hours please call our office for an on-campus escort.

    If you feel unsafe, please call the numbers listed below.

    In addition we ask you to keep in mind that you play an integral role on campus. The national initiative on safe and responsible by-stander intervention which encourages reporting of suspicious activity is applicable in many situations. You are not encouraged to engage in confrontational behavior or report individuals based solely upon race, religion, gender sexual orientation and/or other characteristics described in Vassar College’s Nondiscrimination and Non-Harassment policy, and as protected by Federal or State law. You are urged to report behavior/activity/situations which may pose a safety risk or be criminal in nature.

    The emergency contact numbers for Vassar College Safety & Security and area emergency responders are listed below for your reference.

    Amanita Duga-Carroll, Vassar Vice President for Communications, forwarded the following statement from the college:

    Vassar College learned Friday that an email was sent to about 400 students. The email was linked to a document on Google that is provocative of violence and anti-Semitism. Many groups are targeted, including Zionists.

    We have taken swift action, immediately condemning the behaviors this document advocates, and launching an investigation into who was behind it. By Saturday morning we had identified the students believed to be responsible for its creation and distribution and began the student conduct process.

    We have also worked to stop its distribution on our campus through electronic and print means.

    We will continue to be vigilant to address these issues decisively and in a way that reinforces our deeply held values of community, respect, and engaged pluralism.

    While there have been many actions over the past several years at Vassar to intimidate pro-Israel students and to demonize Zionism, this is the most swift action I’ve seen Vassar take. We will continue to follow the matter.


    Vassar College Disorientation Guide 2018 by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


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    Nigel Blumenthal | September 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Why are these fascist thugs – because that’s what the people behind this so-called “disorientation guide” really are – taking up spots at this university. They are just a waste of space, and their breathing is stealing oxygen from more deserving souls. Their presence at this university is depriving some village of its idiot.

    Patricia | September 3, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    What the little fascists don’t say is that the best way to “shut down the colonialist university” is to drop out. But then they might have to get a job!

    Mercyneal | September 3, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Ashamed to be a Vassar alum.

      Arminius in reply to Mercyneal. | September 4, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Don’t worry about it. I’m a proud alumnus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Or, more properly, UCSB = UC Surfing Branch. why am I proud? Because it was the biggest party school on the west coast. You could see the beach from our dorm rooms. You could see the beach from our classrooms. The geology dept. hosted a kegger on the roof of its building every Friday. We hosted the ISVT; the Inter-Sorority Volleyball Tournament, when girls from eight western states would come to play beach volleyball (which, by the way, I highly recommend to unpatriotic football). Our Halloween parties were world reknowned, as the rich kids on the two most prestigious streets in the bordering shantytown of Goleta, had to open up their homes on “Beachside Del Playa” for even the dregs of society like me to wander through and drink their liquor and (consensually) fondle their women.

      I understand this is no longer allowed but it was in the ’80s, when if she was kissing you and

        cmmitch357 in reply to Arminius. | September 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm

        Proud UCSB graduate here too. Best four years of my life.

          Arminius in reply to cmmitch357. | September 4, 2018 at 4:14 pm

          It was a blast, wasn’t it? I remember laying on the beach in January. 80 degrees. And I’m listening to the radio and every once in a while there’s a break in the music and I hear the news. A blizzard has shut down O’Hare and millions of travelers are stuck in the midwest.

          I would just smile.

          Normally I didn’t go into town but there were some good concerts at the theater on State St. I’m going to have to listen to the Bangles shortly for old times sake, but to be honest their roadies put on the better show during the break.

          As for the rest, “My lips are sealed”, if you get the girl band reference.

      Arminius in reply to Mercyneal. | September 4, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      I’m going to cut short my reminiscing. The point being I was thinking strategically. I looked at my meager finances and knew I had to go to an in-state school. And since I couldn’t go to Stanford or Harvard I at least wanted to go to the University of California. UC Berkeley was out of the question due to affirmative action.

      So I decided to go the biggest party school in the UC system because since I had more discipline I could bust the curve. And I’m not talking much discipline. There was one anthropology course that was memorable for a few reasons. The professor who taught it mostly lectured us about how if he had to do it all over again he would have gone into engineering or physics instead of his worthless field of endeavor of anthropology. It was a five unit course, no mid-term, no final and no term paper. Just a twenty five question true or false quiz and you only needed to get twelve right to pass. And it was set up so if you marked all true or all false you were guaranteed to get at least twelve.

      Most people came in three sheets to the wind around eight or so to take the quiz as they were taking the class pass/fail. I took it for a grade and showed up at seven. I tuned the droning professor out and read the chapter we were going to be quizzed about and invariably got twenty five out of twenty five. Me and one other guy busted the curve and all it took was cutting short our partying by one hour.

      I graduated Magna Cum Lauda and had a diploma from the University of Kali and my future employers thought my degree from UCSB was just as prestigious as if I had gone to UCB or UCLA.

    Arminius | September 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    “I did end up speaking, under heavy security.”

    Hopefully they didn’t make you pay for that security, prof, as that’s just another form of speech suppression.

    In the inestimable Dave Burge’s words, Iowahawk, a play in three acts.

    University: Ok, you can speak on our campus but you’ll have to pay $15K for security because we predict there will be violence.

    Prof. Jacobson: Whose violence?

    University: Ours.

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