Even critics of political scientist Charles Murray, who has been misrepresented as a “white nationalist,” are condemning the violence that greeted him and the professor who interviewed him at Middlebury College yesterday.
PEN America, which defends the rights of writers, released a blistering statement against the students and “off-campus activists” that put Middlebury Prof. Allison Stanger in a neck brace and mobbed a car that tried to escort her and Murray to safety.
While claiming Murray’s 1994 book The Bell Curve “has been widely criticized for advancing racist arguments linking social inequality to genetic predisposition,” PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel said:
No matter how offensive a campus speaker may be considered, there can be no justification or excuse for violence. Students and off-campus activists who assaulted a professor and endangered the well-being of an outside speaker, faculty members, and administrators have violated the fundamental tenets of academic freedom, which requires tolerating even ideas with which you disagree fundamentally. While there is nothing wrong with vociferous protests, virtually silencing an invited speaker and depriving the audience a chance to engage with him crosses a line. The lawless and criminal attack that followed marks a new low in this challenged era for campus speech.
PEN America has recently criticized the “Professor Watchlist” project by Turning Point USA, calling it “noxious,” and claimed there’s no free speech “crisis” on campus.
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