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Does the Falk Cancellation Have Legs?

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!

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Comments Disabled To "Does the Falk Cancellation Have Legs?"

#1 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 20, 2016 @ 1:52 pm

My friends over at The College Fix are certainly interested in the John Derbyshire story. See, http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/26302/

#2 Comment By Darel E. Paul On February 20, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

#3 Comment By BF On February 20, 2016 @ 9:30 pm

I think it will have legs. It’s too odd, too disturbing, too unilateral, too inconsistent with the college’s mission. There are so many other things that could have been done short of banning. An official response. Counter programming — a program at the same time as the scheduled speech on “The 10 Dumbest Things John Derbyshire Has Written or Said” (would have to be carefully curated, but possible). But banning is different. Falk’s decision will be noticed and discussed. And it probably should be.

#4 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 20, 2016 @ 10:20 pm

Here’s another article from The College Fix. This one focuses on Zack Wood, the student organizer of Uncomfortable Learning. He seems to be quite reasonable, I think he has more brains and moral courage than Adam Falk. See, http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/26316/

#5 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 20, 2016 @ 11:21 pm

Roger Kimball has also spoken up on Adam Falk’s hypocrisy. In our politically correct world, it is okay to tolerate the hate speech of Planned Parenthood or adherent Muslims. Yet, the musings of John Derbyshire are apparently out of bounds and deserving of censure on behalf of a paternalistic administration. As Kimball writes:

I am proud to have published many articles by John Derbyshire at The New Criterion, and will continue to do so. By his disreputable actions yesterday, Adam Falk has indisputably joined the ranks of the neo-McCarthyites who, basking in the conviction of their own virtue, present themselves as staunch defenders of free speech just so long as there is no cost to do so. As soon as anyone with a challenging opinion shows himself, their native intolerance rises up and they start babbling like a character out of Ring Lardner: “Shut up, he explained.”

All of this makes me wonder why the cost of such a dumbed down education seem to go up each and every year. To see the whole article, click here https://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2016/02/19/adam-falk-shows-how-far-he-will-go-to-protect-free-speech/2/

#6 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On February 20, 2016 @ 11:44 pm

Here’s two more articles, one from the Daily Caller and another from Roger Kimball recommending the incineration of the four Derbyshire books currently in the Williams College Library. Why stop at censorship when we can advance to full on book burning?