This whole affair has been driven by a group, one that involves Williams students but is not a formal Williams student organization, that has privileged access to tens of thousands of dollars from conservative alumni, allowing them to transgress established college fund-raising rules that all other students and faculty must follow. The rest of us cannot, by rule, raise money from alumni or foundations without going through College channels. Yet one group gets money, unavailable to the rest of the community, and that money lends them power to transgress other rules regarding political activity on campus.
Those wily conservatives are so transgressive that they “transgress” twice in the same paragraph!
Hilarious! Or . . . Wait a second . . . This isn’t an article from the Onion. This is Political Science Professor Sam Crane arguing, in all seriousness, that there is “conservative privilege” at Williams. I will need a week to thoroughly critique this nonsense. In the meantime, recall how Williams Professor Kris Kirby described what it was like to be a non-Democratic/liberal junior faculty member:
I did keep my views entirely to myself, but not because I was advised to do so. I had seen (on separate occasions) a senior faculty member make positive comments about a leftist job candidate and disparaging comments about a Republican student in department meetings, and these comments yielded assent from other faculty members. As a non-tenured libertarian these and other subtle signals scared me. I thought it prudent to keep quiet.
Conservative/libertarian junior faculty members (and students) have so much “privilege” at Williams that they keep their views to themselves. Sounds healthy! And, obviously, a big reason is faculty members like Sam Crane! If you were untenured, would you feel comfortable talking about your conservative/libertarian politics with faculty like Crane? Kris Kirby wouldn’t, and he is much smarter than you! Now imagine how conservative students feel . . .
There is something going on at Williams, but “conservative privilege” is not the best phrase to describe it.