“BSU holds town hall exploring affinity housing” is an excellent Record article by Kristen Bayrakdarian ’19. Let’s discuss! Day 2.
One of the final topics addressed was the College’s potential adoption of “The Chicago Statement On Free Speech,” also known as the “Chicago principles.”
Hooray! EphBlog votes Yes! This is the perfect way to close the chapter on Adam Falk and his stupid decision to ban John Derbyshire.
President Maud Mandel spoke about a petition that has been circulating amongst faculty requesting that Williams sign the Chicago Principles.
Mandel is smart enough that she would not have brought up this topic if she were not in favor of it, and if she did not expect it to happen. Hooray for Maud Mandel!
Who is circulating this petition? What, exactly, does it say? Details, please!
But note also the counter-petition we mentioned last night.
Though she encouraged students to look up the Chicago principles themselves to get a better understanding of what they are, Mandel described them as “a kind of high-level set of principles encouraging the university to have a stance towards speakers; [that is,] anybody should be allowed to be invited to the campus that anyone in the campus community wants to have come.” According to Forbes, since February 2018, at least 35 universities have adopted the Chicago principles.
For related discussion, read about the Woodward Report.
This brought up questions among attendees about the role of Uncomfortable Learning, a group that frequently brings controversial speakers on campus.
Uncomfortable Learning is dead and buried, after 5 years of excellent work. Zach Wood ’18 has many strengths, but he never had much (any?) interest in what happened to UL after he left Williams. It had served his purposes, and served them well.
Much of the discussion was centered around students’ qualms with the lack of academic value of many of these speakers. Some worried about the effects of people spouting hateful or even false rhetoric and refusing to engage with students or faculty in non-combative ways, in contrast to the legitimacy that an appearance at the College might lend these views.
Good stuff! Let’s debate those views. Invite me to campus Maud Mandel! You will seem like a reasonable centrist — even if you sign the Chicago Principles — as long as you can contrast yourself against someone like me.