Issues list of thirteen demands to the administration, says members will resign if terms not accepted.
Middlebury College in Vermont has a recurring problem. When conservative speakers come to campus, all hell breaks loose. Now the student government has proposed a solution. They want the right to vet speakers before they come to campus in order to assure that the speaker’s values match those of the campus community.
In March of 2017, when libertarian political scientist Charles Murray visited the campus, a student mob shut down the event and sent a professor to the emergency room.
The administration then apologized to the student body for letting a conservative speaker slip through the cracks.
Katherine Timpf writes at National Review:
College Admins Apologize to Students Upset Over Conservative Speaker
In a meeting last week at Middlebury College, administrators apologized to students who were upset that a conservative speaker had been invited to campus — and pledged to do more to prevent right-wing speakers in the future.
Audio of the meeting, which was obtained by The College Fix, features three administrators trying to calm students who were offended by the invitation of Ryszard Legutko, a conservative Polish politician whose views they described as homophobic and Islamophobic…
Obvious from the audio of the meeting, the fact that the college had essentially canceled Legutko’s appearance was not enough — the students believe that he should have never been invited in the first place.
“There is a distinct compromise of the students who felt marginalized on this campus or who put effort into this protest, or this combat effort, they feel like their academic freedom has been compromised because they are not capable of learning because their emotional state is so distraught or their emotional energy is just consumed by this,” one female student said.
This capitulation was not good enough for the student government association at Middlebury, which has since issued a list of demands, a few of which must be read to be believed.
The school newspaper, The Middlebury Campus, published the demands along with the note which accompanied them. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
To the administrators of Middlebury College,
The Student Government Association (SGA) exists to be the democratic vehicle of the will of the student body. We believe that students and administrators are a partnership, a two-way street working toward a collectively better future for Middlebury College. Through conversations with alumni, students, staff, faculty, and various community groups, it has become evident that the connection between the administration and students has been reduced to a one-way street. The administration has failed time and again to listen to the desires of its students.
Administrators’ neglect of students’ wishes has been the consistent trend of the past few years.
On November 20, 2016, four hundred students met outside Old Chapel to rally in support of making Middlebury College a sanctuary campus. In response, the SGA passed a bill echoing the call for sanctuary campus status. The Community Council followed suit. Middlebury ultimately refused to meet the demands of protesters, the SGA, and leaders in Community Council.
There are thirteen demands that follow. Here are two which stand out. First, an item that details a new vetting process for speakers on campus:
Any organization or academic department that invites a speaker to campus will be required to fill out a due diligence form created by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in coordination with the SGA Institutional Diversity Committee. These questions should be created to determine whether a speaker’s beliefs align with Middlebury’s community standards, removing the burden of researching speakers from the student body.
Additionally, administrators will ask Faculty Council to require all academic departments to have Student Advisory Boards which will have access to a list of speakers invited by the department at least a month in advance. The Student Advisory Boards’ purpose will be to ask the student body for potential community input when necessary.
Further down, comes a demand for bias training for all staff as well as identification of those who refuse:
Recurrent bias training will be provided to all hired staff, faculty, administrators, as well as all students, with implementation beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The names of any faculty, staff, or administration members who do not participate in bias training should be publicly available to students so that they can make informed decisions on courses and interactions.
In this bias training, participants must learn about the importance of preferred gender pronouns. All faculty must ask students’ names and pronouns on the first day of each new semester, and preferred names and pronouns must be respected.
Many small, private liberal arts colleges in the United States are currently at risk of closure.
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