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Crane on Conservative Privilege III

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 3.

The group might claim that they are politically neutral but, in fact, they are being used by conservative forces nationally.

Again, Sam treats these students — some of whom are his students! — as children. He thinks that they are “being used” by the shadowing conservative bogeymen that he sees behind every purple mountain. In Sam’s world, these students have no agency. On their own, they would never think of wanting to invite a conservative speaker to campus. Of the many insulting things his article, this is the worst.

Why should a very small conservative group have privileged access to outside resources that other Williams students and faculty are denied?

Again, who is denying Professor Crane anything? Has Emperor Adam Falk issued an edit which prevents Sam from talking to alumni? Does the College monitor his phone and e-mail? No. Sam is a tenured professor at Williams College. It is still a free country. He can call anyone and ask them for money.

Now, in Sam’s defense, he might have a case that the situation for students is different than that of faculty, that students have fewer freedoms than faculty have? Perhaps. But then he ought to make that case. He ought to stop claiming that faculty can’t do these things.

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#1 Comment By frank uible On December 3, 2015 @ 11:53 am

Isn’t Sam aware that this matter makes him look like a space cadet?

#2 Comment By dcat On December 3, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

Doesn’t Dave realize that spending five days parsing this makes him look like a petulant and creepy little obsessive? This really couldn’t be taken care of in one well-crafted post?

dcat

#3 Comment By frank uible On December 3, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

My obsessive trumps your space cadet!

#4 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On December 3, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

Derek,

I would be interested in your comments on the substance. For example:

Do you think that these Williams students are being “used by conservative forces nationally?”

If some of your UTPB students invited a conservative speaker to campus, would you accuse them in the same way?

#5 Comment By dcat On December 4, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

I do not believe Williams students are being used, conservative or otherwise. Sam is closer to things than I am, but I have too much respect for those kids and their intellects than to think they are being duped. Might they make bad decisions? What 20-year olds don’t? I also don’t want to see any speakers banned or disinvited. Protested? Sure, if you want. And yet how many speakers have been banned or disinvited? We have a hell of a tempest brewing in this tiny teapot, methinks.

My university has invited almost exclusively conservative speakers in recent years. Not all were invited by students, indeed I’d bet most weren’t. My only issue, ever, has been when a graduation speaker had us pray explicitly in Jesus’ name during his address (and we had three graduation ceremonies to sit through with the same speaker) and that had nothing to do with students. I’m not in the business of accusing my students of anything.

It could actually be the case that Williams professors are forbidden from asking for outside donations — I have no insight on this, obviously. But I know that at my university we need to clear any fundraising, however paltry, through development and get permission to do so. We are in a very, very different place from Williams, of course, but the reasoning is simple: There have been times when individuals or groups have asked someone for a relatively piddling amount of money, and the President got a call saying “Hey, I just gave $20,000. Maybe don’t come back to me and ask me for money so quickly?” Some have been more petulant than that. Again, I haven’t any idea whether this sort of thing is a concern at Williams. I imagine not, but it isn’t impossible.

I’m still unconvinced that this parsing required five days. Seems really petty to me.

dcat