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Middlebury thugs: Security guards ‘used violent and abusive force’ against us

If you want a good laugh, read this anonymous account of last week’s Middlebury College melee written by a group of students and published by the independent campus blog Middbeat.

Saying they “were present for the aftermath of eugenicist Charles Murray’s lecture on campus Thursday night,” the students claim they were the victims of the administration (the article headline is “College Administrator and Staff Assault Students, Endanger Lives”).

They “deeply regret” that Prof. Allison Stanger was injured by thugs, but say they “do not know of any students” who threatened her, and instead blame (who else?) The Man:

We are also deeply disturbed that Public Safety, private security officers and [VP of Communications Bill] Burger incited and continually used violent and abusive force towards students and community members. In light of threats of disciplinary action against students affiliated with the peaceful protest inside of Wilson Hall, as well as the separate incident outside of McCullough, we, as witnesses, feel it critical to share our observations of the evening’s events.

They claim that their shoutdowns and chanting during Stanger’s discussion with Murray were done “in a peaceful and organized expression of dissent” (i.e. heckler’s veto), and that people outside only started “protesting with impromptu chanting and noise-making” when they were denied entry to the building (neglecting to mention more than half of the full room was already taken up by protesters).

When Stanger, Murray and Burger leave the building – a scene Stanger compared to an episode of the terrorism thriller Homeland – the students’ narrative gets really creative:

In the first of a series of disproportional and escalating acts of violence, security personnel immediately and without warning began pushing and pulling protesters out of the way as soon as they were within arm’s reach. Some people were thrown to the ground by security personnel, and one person was struck hard in the chest. A student reports that Professor Stanger’s hair was not intentionally pulled but was inadvertently caught in the chaos that Public Safety incited. It is irresponsible to imply that a protester aggressively and intentionally pulled her hair.

Right, it’s Public Safety’s fault that Stanger went to the ER and was fitted with a neck brace.

And the violent mob that surrounded their car after Stanger’s hair was yanked and neck muscles torn?

Protesters then surrounded the parked car, with some pushing on the sides of the car. Several people stood behind the car, yet Burger attempted to back out of the parking spot. He managed to back out by inching through a throng of security personnel and protesters. He proceeded to drive through the crowd. At times Burger accelerated forward into protesters. Security personnel pushed, grabbed and dragged students and community members to the asphalt to clear the area around the car. Security personnel inflicted bruises and other physical harm on many people. One observer states that they saw Public Safety Telecom Manager and Tech Support Specialist, Solon Coburn, put his body between outside security personnel and protesters, mitigating security personnel’s unacceptable over-reactions.

Yep, a mixed throng of students and outside agitators threatening physical violence against people for having a civil debate are the victims of “unacceptable over-reactions” from security.

It sounds like they want Burger fired:

Burger was warned to stop by hand gestures and verbal warnings from multiple officers [?] and protesters standing directly in front of the car. Instead, he accelerated into them and the concrete base, wedging a student between the car and the sign post, pushing both for a couple seconds and generating sparks and loud screeching. Burger showed no signs of stopping the car so people attempted to slow the car down to ensure the safety of the pinned student. Fortunately, someone was able to yank the student up from between the car and the sign post before the student was injured or killed. The sign was righted and Burger continued attempting to build up speed, at times running into protesters at around 5 miles per hour, sending people onto the hood of the car. …

The actions of Vice President for Communications Bill Burger and Public Safety officers threatened students and community members for Murray’s benefit. We condemn the administration and Public Safety’s actions on Thursday night and since then — especially their attempts to discredit the protesters inside and outside McCullough.

And the final laugh:

The administration’s support of a platform for white nationalist speech was an intense act of aggression towards the most marginalized members of the Middlebury community.  Though President Laurie Patton stated her disagreement with many of Murray’s views, by sharing a stage with him and designating his non-peer reviewed work as academically valuable, she effectively legitimized him.

Read the post.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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