Protesters' refusals to allow conservative voices on their campuses — which has been called “politically correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view” — has created some unlikely allies, such as the ACLU's defense of Ann Coulter after her University of California, Berkeley speech was canceled.
In March, a similar incident unfolded at Vermont's Middlebury College, where the presence of controversial conservative author Charles Murray sparked a protest that school officials said ultimately turned violent, sending one of the college's own professors to the hospital with a neck injury.
On Tuesday, more than two months after the incident, WCAX reports that Middlebury announced that it has completed its investigation and disciplined dozens of students — but not everyone agrees that the college went far enough:
Murray, who was scheduled to speak on campus on March 2, was originally shouted down by protesters, forcing him and interviewer Professor Allison Stanger to live stream the talk from a private location.
Afterwards, as Stanger and Murray attempted to get into a car to leave campus, they were reportedly “physically and violently confronted by a group of protestors” — some of whom allegedly grabbed Stanger by the hair and twisted her neck, an act which she says caused a brain injury.
Promising an independent investigation into the incident, Middlebury announced its response in a statement on May 23, writing, in part:
In total, the College disciplined 67 students with sanctions ranging from probation to official College discipline, which places a permanent record in the student’s file. Some graduate schools and employers require individuals to disclose official college discipline in their applications.
Forty-one students received sanctions from the College administration for participating in the first stage of the disruptive protest in Wilson Hall. The remaining 26 students, who faced more serious consequences for actions in the hall and outside the building, were sanctioned by the College’s Community Judicial Board, which held group and individual hearings in May.
While the college also added that it cannot release “information about individual student sanctions” under federal law, the nature of this discipline has left some seriously underwhelmed — including Murray himself:
At the same time, local police also launched their own investigation into the Murray protest, an investigation that officials now say will not result in any criminal charges.
As Middlebury Police Chief Thomas Hanley explained:
"It was difficult to get any specific identities of anyone who actually broke the law other than being noisy and disruptive. [...]
This event happened in the dark, it was nighttime, many of the people had masks on and hoods covering their heads and identification was very difficult."
Hanley added that if someone is willing to act as a witness or issue testimony against one of the offenders, there's a chance that charges may be filed in the future.
Middlebury Professor Stanger, meanwhile, has declined to publicly comment on that night, telling WCAX that she “will not speak publicly until her brain is fully healed.”