a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
In recent weeks, the Dean of Students, Baishakhi Taylor, has harassed and intimidated multiple students in attempts to learn more information about the Charles Murray protests. She has surprised multiple students with calls to their personal cell phones late at night. In these late calls, she has pressured students to talk to private investigators, or face harsher punishment for withholding information (she did not respond to claims that the students had no information to offer). She has also confronted students in person; one student reports being personally threatened with expulsion.
Middlebury policy defines harassment as conduct which has the effect of:
a. undermining and detracting from or interfering with an individual’s educational or work performance or access to Middlebury resources; or
b. creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, work, or living environment.
Dean Taylor’s actions clearly create a hostile environment for students. As with the lead-up to the Charles Murray talk, the administration seems to views students as enemies, and student speech as something to be suppressed. To date, over thirty students have been disciplined by the college, but not one member of the staff, faculty or administration has been found in violation of college policy. Student requests for discipline of Dean Taylor have been brushed off by administrative officials, yet the witch hunt of student activists continues.
Middlebury College believes that it can limit the times and places at which students can contest educational content, but the administration does not believe the same limits apply to the punitive process. A disturbing pattern is emerging. Chanting political messages at a white nationalist/supremacist (who himself violates Middlebury’s harassment policy) is strictly prohibited, but personally threatening students late at night is acceptable. Vice President for Communications Bill Burger can assault students with his car and get off scott-free, but students will be intimidated, investigated, and prosecuted for attempting to peacefully protest him. Allison Stanger can call (largely POC) protesters “thugs” in national media, but the college will not say one word in defense of its students.
At this difficult time, remember to look out for and take care of your fellow students. The administration sure as hell isn’t.