What do readers predict will happen with regard to the Falk bans Derbyshire story? It just hit the AP.
BOSTON (AP) — The president of Williams College is canceling a speaking event by a contentious writer who had been invited to campus by students.
President Adam Falk told students on Thursday that the writer John Derbyshire, whose views have been criticized as racist, will not be welcome on the campus in Williamstown.
A student group that regularly hosts speakers with polarizing opinions had invited Derbyshire to speak on Monday. The group’s leader, sophomore Zach Wood, says that as an African American he disagrees with Derbyshire’s opinions, but he wanted to give students the opportunity to challenge those views.
It’s the first time the college has blocked a speaker invited by the group. The school’s president says many of Derbyshire’s views amount to hate speech.
Derbyshire could not immediately be reached for comment.
The story could end here. Or it could go as far as the Venker Disinvitation and get a mention in conservative outlets like Fox news. Or worst (best?) case, it could get into the mainstream press. What do readers predict?
The bull case is that this is the first time in several generations that an elite college has banned a speaker. (Changing your mind about awarding an honorary degree is not that same thing. And, even in those cases in which a speaker was disinvited from talking at Commencement, the college/university did not ban — and even explicitly welcomed — a talk in another venue on campus.) Does anyone know the last time this happened at a NESCAC or Ivy school? The last time it happened at Williams?
The bear case is that places like Fox news won’t touch it because they view Derbyshire, and other figures on the Alt-Right, as too toxic. There are also fierce divisions on the right, divisions which make people like Derbyshire more critical of Fox news than many liberals. (Fox, for example, is a big supporter of amnesty.) And, if Fox won’t touch it, why would the New York Times?
My prediction is that this story makes it to places like NPR and the New York Times. It is too juicy, too emblematic of the changes in society’s attitude to free speech. If the story does have legs, all that we ask is that they spell EphBlog correctly!