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Intellectual Engagement

cancel

I think that this is the clearest statement, from Zach Wood ’18, of the reasoning behind the cancellation of the Venker event. Comments:

1) I like Zach Wood! I hope this controversy leads him to be more involved in the public life of the college. I have been told (accurately?) that he is not even a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, Eph division. (Sorry Mike Needham ’04!) Instead, he is just a Williams student who, following in the legacy of Professor Robert Gaudino, believes in the importance of wide open dialogue and debate.

2) I like (and know) the two unnamed students mentioned by Zach above. (At least I think I do.) Both are wonderful Ephs, similarly committed to dialogue and debate. Both, in their roles with Uncomfortable Learning, have done more to bring alternative views to Williams than any other students or faculty or staff in the last year or two. Kudos to them!

3) I respect their judgment that, given their goals, cancelling was the best path. They could be right! But I also disagree with that judgment.

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#1 Comment By ephalum On October 21, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

I’m not party to whatever personal invective they encountered (and in today’s hyper-sensitized campus climate, students on both ends of the political spectrum are too prone to interpreting fervent and perhaps inelegantly expressed disapproval with personal invective), but whatever it was, it’s a shame that it led to cancellation of this event. First, it sets a terrible precedent to say, if you shout loudly and angrily enough, we’ll stop bringing controversial viewpoints to campus, and second, there is simply no way that disinviting a speaker and thereby preemptively foreclosing whatever form of response to that speaker MAY have occurred could ever serve the goals of intellectual engagement more than going forward with the event.