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
Yesterday, Middlebury students received an email sent from the Dean of Students titled:
“Sent of behalf of the Political Science Department – Barney Frank & John Sununu Panel: October 11, “Economic Opportunity in the Trump Era” “ It is attached below:
John Sununu and Barney Frank to Discuss Economic Opportunity in Trump Era
What does economic opportunity in the Trump era look like? Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and former Republican Governor of New Hampshire John Sununu will discuss the possibilities on Wednesday, October 11 at Middlebury College. Gail Russell Chaddock, former political editor for the Christian Science Monitor, will moderate the discussion. Former Governor of Vermont and Middlebury College Executive in Residence Jim Douglas ’72 will offer opening remarks. The panel will conclude with a Q&A.
The event, “Finding Common Ground for Economic Opportunity in the Trump Era,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall in McCullough Student Center. It is free and open to the public.
The sponsors are the Common Ground Committee, Christian Science Monitor, Political Science Department, and the Center for Community Engagement.
The panel is part of Critical Conversations, a series of events launched this year by Middlebury College that is designed to bring together and focus the attention of the College community on pressing issues of public interest.
After actually considering going, which would have just led to feeling angry and inspired, and because I was also curious as to what “Economic Opportunity in the Trump Era” means, I decided to do a quick google search on the people speaking. Not three articles down after searching John Sununu, I found this: “Former George H.W. Bush aide John Sununu: The war on drugs “didn’t go far enough.” Looking past the click-baitey title, John Sununu has supported and held views that have been vital in instituting policies related to the War on Drugs, which is directly linked to mass incarceration, and the policing and controlling of black and brown people.
Sununu was governor of the state of New Hampshire in the 1980s and was later White House chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush. He “stepped down” from his time as the President’s aide, after The Washington Post revealed his misuse of government aircraft and limousines, and that he was flying to family ski vacations, golf dates, and even dentist’s appointments. In addition to his real-life “accomplishments,” he has recently written a book about HW’s presidency, where he debases everyone he’s ever worked with, and is generally self-congratulatory. In more recent years, he was the been opening speaker at a Trump rallies, saying things like this, (quoting The Washington Post):
“Do you think that Bill was referring to Hillary when he said: ‘I did not have sex with that woman?’ ” Sununu said, referring to former president Bill Clinton.” (Watch him laugh here)
The college sent this email out the day before the event. Coincidence? No, no it’s not. I don’t mean to sound conspiratorial, but it feels like this is an effort from the college to prevent student protest. That we are not even allowed the courtesy or the time, to organize peacefully (or not.) This sends a message to students that says: “We don’t trust you, nor do we believe you are responsible or intelligent enough to respond in a way that is backed up by anything other than emotion” (which is valuable.) They are also saying that these people’s views still deserve to be in circulation (which they do not.) And, this allows the college to go unchecked while it continues to pay people who support Trump, but more largely, racist policies, and in turn, the people in power in who uphold and fund them.
Edit: Event was put on the community calendar.