Professor Sam Crane’s Williams Alternative article on “conservative privilege” at Williams must be a parody. Right? No? He actually believes it! OK, then. Let’s spend a few days taking it apart. Today is Day 2.
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.
1) “[O]ne that involves Williams students but is not a formal Williams student organization” Hmmm. What does it matter that Uncomfortable Learning is not a formal organization? Is it illegal for students to form groups? Do they leave behind their constitutional rights to free association when they enroll at Williams? Of course not. Sam is trying to “other” a group — including some of his own students! — for doing something that is within their rights. He makes it seem like every group of like-minded students at Williams that wants to do something together has to create a “formal” organization. Untrue! Students have some freedoms.
Of course, forming a group can provide certain advantages, like potential access to College Council funding. But, for the last few years, Uncomfortable Learning has chosen not to do so. They see no reason to subject themselves to the whims and biases of a student body which, they have good reason to believe, would like to silence them.
2) “[H]as privileged access to tens of thousands of dollars from conservative alumni.” Claims about privilege are the last refuge of leftist scoundrels. The students behind Uncomfortable Learning have no special status. Any student may network with alumni. Indeed, every student should! Networking is good! The more students who reach out to alumni the better. Liberal students have just as much ability to reach out to conservative (or liberal!) alumni. Why don’t they? Probably because they don’t need to! Williams hosts dozens of liberal speakers every year. And that is a good thing! The more speakers — from every point of view — who come to Williams, the better.
3) “established college fund-raising rules that all other students and faculty must follow.” Hmmm. Why won’t Sam telling us exactly what rules he is talking about? Probably because these rules don’t exist! Let’s be specific.
a) Can Professor Sam Crane reach out to alumni without College permission? Of course he can! It is a free country.
b) Can Professor Sam Crane invite alumni to speak at Williams without permission? Of course he can! It is a free country.
c) Can Professor Sam Crane invite alumni to speak at Williams without permission even if such an event requires the alumni to spend money on items like travel, lodging and so on? Of course he can! It is a free country.
Networking with alumni is OK. Getting them to speak is OK. Having them spend money to do so is OK. Put all those things together and we have what Sam accuses Uncomfortable Learning of doing.
d) Can Professor Sam Crane invite alumni to sponsor speakers at Williams? Of course he can! It is a free country. Don’t believe me. Here is the faculty handbook. Show me the “established college fund-raising rules” which prevent Sam from doing this.
If Sam gets so many easy-to-check things wrong in this one paragraph, how much credence should we give to the rest of the article?