Despite my 20-year status as flight leader of the Eph wingnut squadron, I don’t believe this story.

Former Secretary of Education William Bennett [’65], in a recent interview on MSNBC, spoke of the intolerance of liberal professors at our colleges and universities. He told the story of his alma mater, Williams College, where the president of the school invited him to speak. The faculty demanded to see the text of his speech in advance of the event. To his credit, Bennett refused, saying “What are you going to do, censor me?”

Comments:

1) The writer, Joe Malone, is a former Massachusetts state treasurer so one hopes that he is reporting Bennett’s claim accurately. Yet that hope depends on your opinion of Massachusetts politicians in general . . .

2) Does anyone have a video/transcript of that MSNBC interview? Primary sources, please!

3) Bennett has, on at least one other occasion, made a claim about Williams that was false. (Alas, the comments on that post have vanished. Can any of our tech folks figure out why?) As always, I am happy to believe that he was honestly mistaken in that case, since he got the story secondhand. But in this case . . .

4) When was this purported speech, and which Williams president invited him? I am happy to believe that Bennett did speak at Williams, but I can’t find evidence of the speech at the Record or on the Williams homepage.

5) As much as I disagree with various Williams faculty members, especially my fellow Obama supporters [Hello Sam!], I find it incredible that they “demanded” anything of Bennett. Am I naive? At worst, I could imagine an honest curiosity to know what the topic was, a request that might have been misinterpreted by Bennett.

I still think that Williams would benefit from more ideological diversity. Yet spreading false stories does nothing but harm.

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