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Violent Practices

EphBlog has been telling you for months that Professors Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07 are . . . uh . . . not the very model of modern major Williams faculty. The Record reports:

Two professors canceled their courses in the days leading up to the start of spring semester. In an email to students enrolled in her courses, Kimberly Love, assistant professor of English, cited “a refusal to continue business as usual” in the face of “the College’s violent practices” as the reason that she would not return to the College this semester. Kai Green ’07, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS), is spending the semester on medical leave, writing in an email to the Record that the College is not a “safe place” for him.

Worth going through the (pathetic) details? Let me know!

Who is at fault for this nonsense? In order of culpability:

1) Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell, whose relentless focus on hiring (unqualified) applicants who check the right boxes has led us to this sorry state.

2) Former President Adam Falk, who aided and abetted Buell for almost his entire presidency.

3) The members of the English and WGS Departments, especially the ones who served on the search committees that selected Love and Green.

Entire article below the break:

Professors cancel courses, cite College’s “violent practices,” “anti-blackness and transphobia”

By Rebecca Tauber, Executive Editor

Two professors canceled their courses in the days leading up to the start of spring semester. In an email to students enrolled in her courses, Kimberly Love, assistant professor of English, cited “a refusal to continue business as usual” in the face of “the College’s violent practices” as the reason that she would not return to the College this semester. Kai Green ’07, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS), is spending the semester on medical leave, writing in an email to the Record that the College is not a “safe place” for him.

Love explained her choice in her email, which was forwarded to members of the Record staff. “My decision is rooted in a refusal to continue business as usual while many of us (students, staff, community members, faculty) suffer from the college’s violent practices,” she wrote.

In a Jan. 26 email, Chair and Associate Professor of WGSS Gregory Mitchell informed students enrolled in Green’s course, “The Drag of Black Masculinity,” that “Professor Green will be taking an unexpected medical leave and will not be able to offer this class next semester.”

Green told the Record that the strain of the past three semesters prompted the recovery period. “Unfortunately, Williams is not a safe place for me as a Black Trans Man, currently,” Green said. “I hope that better days are on the horizon, but that is up to the institution’s ability to listen to its students, faculty and staff for real change. The problem of anti-blackness and transphobia on campus can’t be Band-Aided up.”

When asked to elaborate, Green referred the Record to their and Love’s article November article published in The Feminist Wire titled “Lessons from the Damned, 2018; or Why We Cannot wait for Tenure to Insist upon our Dignity, Respect, Power, and Value.” The article stated, “We write this piece to add to the collective record of institutional harms as documented by Black feminist scholars.”

In the article, Green and Love detail microaggressions and recount a racist experience with a local business. “Our collective experiences, demonstrate how colleges and universities have not made structural changes to create environments in which Black, Brown, disabled, poor, queer people, and our work can thrive,” they wrote. “Through various isolating tactics, academic institutions can dull our awareness of the grave conditions under which we are expected to perform.”

Love and Green connected this issue with problems in the country at large. “What we are confronting is not much different from what we are experiencing as a U.S. citizen or not, in a larger society, that is in conflict and is struggling to hold onto its moral and ethical center,” they wrote. “We are living the backlash of a National and global push for liberation by and for Black, Queer, Transgender, Poor, Feminine/Femme people, and our Allies.”

With Love and Green not on campus this semester, 48 students found themselves searching for new classes, with 38 originally enrolled in Love’s courses and 10 in Green’s class. Two students were enrolled in both Love and Green’s classes, including Afoma Maduegbuna ’21. “To have, literally, first day of classes, half of my classes gone kind of sucked,” Maduegbuna said. “I’m sad and angry on so many different levels… but I’m glad [Love’s] taking care of herself.”

The WGSS and English departments have worked to accommodate these students. Since Green’s course was a senior seminar required for the WGSS major, Kiaran Honderich, lecturer in WGSS, now offers a course in the same time slot titled, “Advanced Readings and Research in WGSS.” Kathryn Kent, English department chair, met with students to help them find new classes. “This necessitated that professors in the department, as well as a few outside it, raise the enrollment limits on their courses or allow students to join after the first meeting, which these professors were more than happy to do,” Kent said.

Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell confirmed that Green is on leave and declined to comment regarding Love. Love had not responded by deadline to the Record’s email requesting comment.

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49 Comments To "Violent Practices"

#1 Comment By John Drew On February 6, 2019 @ 8:10 pm

This is one of the best gimmicks developed by the left to stop free speech on college campuses.

Apparently, you should not be allowed to speak about, or share research to support, your opinion that transgender individuals are simply sick people who need help accepting their existing bodies.

The reason is that your comments, no matter how well they are supported by the evidence, are considered violent because they might cause a “trans man” like Kai Green ’07 to commit suicide or encourage someone else to kill them. This is, of course, silly.

We would save far more lives by talking openly about gender dysphoria and stressing the large degree to which it is a temporary phenomenon that most people outgrow.

I’m sad, but not surprised, to learn that Kai Green ’07 is out on medical leave. Nevertheless, we aren’t doing her any favors by signing off on, or signaling support for, her errant nonsense.

For a great review of the research undermining the trans movement, check out the article below.

Sexuality and Gender
Findings from the Biological,
Psychological, and Social Sciences

#2 Comment By Steve On February 6, 2019 @ 8:24 pm

Ephblog readers might get some perspective on this by reading Professor Green’s Facebook entry from last November:

https://www.facebook.com/kai.m.green.1/posts/10100310396574610

#3 Comment By frank uible On February 6, 2019 @ 8:32 pm

Has Williams become a freak show?

#4 Comment By atty On February 6, 2019 @ 8:35 pm

Kai M Green is feeling determined.
November 17, 2018 ·
I have been trying to process all of the things that have happened in the last week, on multiple scales. Two weeks ago I asked that the chair of my program (WGSS) to resign because of her “unchair-like” behaviors for which she refused to be accountable for. This is where I’m at and this is some of what I remember about the last week.

1. There’s a lot going on.

2. I took all of my feelings and put them into my work.

3. I wrote maybe 15 articles. I picked up my Bible and discovered I know how to preach!

4. On Tuesday, Nov. 13th, I woke up around 4am (I don’t know if I had actually gone to sleep). I got dressed and got my Bible and went walking around Williamstown. I called my mother and asked her to pray for me. I called my father and he asked me to pray with him. I called Charlene and asked her to sing to me. One of my colleagues saw me sitting on the side of the road and stopped to check in with me and sit with me.

5. What I didn’t say to everyone I was reaching out to is that I WAS AFRAID! I started to believe that my chair wanted to assassinate me and that if I walked into my office, I’d die. So I walked around campus for 3 hours or so before my class with my Bible (the one I stole from the hotel I was at a few weeks ago;)

6. I had a great class. It was dope and filled my spirit.

7. I was less afraid after teaching, so I went back to my office.

8. Later that evening Dr. Kim Love and I went to the Clark to watch the stars like we always do.

9. Cops showed up. Flashing lights and told us we had to go. I froze. Hands up. Kim (Dr.Love) spoke and said WE ARE NOT LEAVING. There were other cars and there was no reason we had to leave. The cops left.

10. They return 10 minutes later, lights flashing. Our/my hands are up. They tell us that they know who we are (Kim has a faculty sticker on her car), “Kimberly Love and David Smith.”

11. They left. They wanted us to know they knew us. But they didn’t. D.L. (David L Smith) was one of my most prolific professors—he’s still here—still being brilliant—still teaching. But that is not MY name.

12. It hurt, but I couldn’t feel it.

13. I began writing with even more fervor. Kim and I co-authored a piece. We both started working and working and we forgot….

14. I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. I was not sad, I was excited, because what is happening here at Williams and ALL over is that people are organizing and creating new worlds for themselves without permission.—We trying to get FREE!

15. I don’t know what happened between Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening all the way.

16. I know that I had a guest speaker, my sister-kin Je Naé Taylor(https://www.gildapapoose.com/). Divine Alignment.

17. Je Naé somehow found her way from Albany to Williamstown and managed to get into my house. I had stopped responding to phone calls and would not leave my room.

18. Kim stayed in the room with me all day as I shared ALL the FEELINGS I had been intellectualizing by writing articles and WORKING. We had both not been sleeping or eating or just taking care of our bodies.

19. We have been moving like we are in war—because WE are!

20. That evening Kim and I finally came out of the bedroom. Je Naé had been patiently waiting for and holding us all day—that’s Black Love.

21. We head to Mango Thai (we only have about 4 restaurants in Williamstown;)

22. After folk ordered their food to go, I suggest we go to the Clark instead (the very place we had been harassed by the Police the night before.). I was convinced that there was a new restaurant that had CURRY GOAT! lol

23. No one wanted to go with me, so I ask to be let out the car. I began walking from Spring street to the Clark. I started to cry, ugly cry, because I started to believe that Lil Kai had been murder by the police. I called Kim crying and relayed the news. (that was just my Black imagination stuck in a loop). I hung up the phone. And kept walking.

24. I then realized that it wasn’t Lil Kai who died, but my lil cousin Mekhi. I began to cry and cry and CRY because I had so many regrets about not getting a chance to really know or see the beautiful person I know he is. Luckily Mekhi is still with us—again that was just my Black imagination running away with me.

25. I begin singing songs and praying prayers I learned from my Grandma and “THE BLACK JOY EXPERIENCE” (https://www.facebook.com/…/byp100-present…/1898516523533003/). Every morning before school, Grandma made us all kneel by the bed and pray aloud (I was so afraid of praying aloud!)—

26. FEAR

27. My walking continued into the wilderness (LITERALLY). I wanted to get to the Clark to pray for all those I love who feel unlovable. I prayed for everyone I could remember.

28. Oh, I forgot to say that I started taking my clothes off piece by piece, so by the time I got to the Clark I was completely naked. My clothes were like breadcrumbs on the dark road.

29. Eventually Police came and put me in the back of the car. I can’t remember if I hand handcuffs on. I remember handcuffs because I was singing to myself “we have nothing to lose but our chains.” I remember thinking the song was magic spell that would unlock the cuffs.

30. I was eventually taken to the ER by ambulance and committed to Jones 3, (http://www.berkshirehealthsystems.org/psychiatricintensivec…). I was there for 5 days.

31. I didn’t talk to anyone for the first 2 days, and every time someone looked at me I just raised my hands and began crying.

32. This is why I missed NWSA and ASA. I didn’t even know I missed it. I had no phone and no access except through a landline.

My biggest fear, I learned is to be considered crazy. But I have no choice in this world full of a crazy that is not of my own making–Racial Capitalism.

Thank you all for LOVING me so fiercely. I have learned from you ALL how to love myself even more fiercely. We need rest. We need food. I need rest, I need food. AND I need colleagues to understand the insidiousness anti-blackness and it’s not just about me….

#doitforthedamned #doitforthedamn #crazyBlack #freeBlack #blackloveisblackwealth

#5 Comment By John Drew On February 6, 2019 @ 11:17 pm

Looks like a bad case of chronic delusional disorder.

#6 Comment By Snowed In On February 6, 2019 @ 11:58 pm

On the whole, I think Rebecca Tauber should be commended for a pretty good job here. But there is still work to be done.

The Record has the complete texts of both Green’s and Love’s statements regarding their departures from Williams this semester. The editors should publish them.

Next up for The Record:

1. Ask Dean Buell and President Mandel whether and why they (dis)agree with the assertion that Williams College engages in “violent practices” against “Black, Queer, Transgender, Poor, Feminine/Femme people,” and that Williams is wracked by “anti-blackness and transphobia on campus”. Ask them whether they think that granting Dr. G a medical leave on the basis of local anti-blackness and transphobia essentially admits as much.

2. Ask Dean Buell again for the official status of Dr. Love at the College. Has she resigned or does she remain on the payroll? If the latter, has she, too, been granted leave of absence? If so, on what grounds? WGSS Chair Prof. Mitchell publicly stated the grounds of Dr. G’s leave. Why does Dean Buell “decline to comment”?

#7 Comment By Eric Knibbs On February 7, 2019 @ 9:06 am

ROFLMFAO.

#8 Comment By Nancy On February 7, 2019 @ 3:41 pm

Snowed In, are you leaking from the Record? Are you some kind of “Deep Throat”?

#9 Comment By Just Me On February 7, 2019 @ 4:23 pm

#10 Comment By Williamstown Resident On February 7, 2019 @ 4:27 pm

Wow! The only phrase that comes to mind is “good riddance” aka GTFO of here. Attention seeking, narcissistic lightweights who don’t deserve the privilege of teaching at Williams. Go away and stay away.

#11 Comment By Doug On February 7, 2019 @ 9:41 pm

The most annoying part about this and other activist movements at the college is the misuse of the word “violence”. I think that they might have valid grievances against the college, but when they’re describing anything that makes them uncomfortable as violence, they immediately lose half their audience. Everyone knows there was no actual violence in their experiences at the college; they’re setting themselves up to be dismissed as out of touch, or whiny, or fueled by victim complexes.

“Violence” has a precise and useful definition: “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” Accusations of violence are to be taken very seriously — now what will they say if something actually violent happens to them? If they’re upset about verbal abuse or discrimination by the college, that’s valid and concerning, but it’s also certainly not violence. There’s similar patterns here with describing conservatives as Nazis, Dean Dave as racist, someone who made unwelcome passes at a woman as a rapist.

Language matters and when it’s misused or overextended it loses its impact and alienates outsiders.

#12 Comment By John Drew On February 8, 2019 @ 12:16 am

Another problematic aspect of the left’s use of the word violence is that it makes it easier for leftists to take it up to the next level and unleash violence (real violence) on their enemies.

One of the saddest stories out there is that of Sophia Wilansky ’16. She is the radical, activist student who took things to the next level and found herself in a highly dangerous situation in which she was gravely injured.

Law officers respond to suit over pipeline protester injury

I have no doubt that the ideological extremism she experienced as a Williams College student contributed to her terrible, disfiguring injuries. Where are the faculty members taking responsibility for motivating her poor choices?

#13 Comment By Locutus On February 8, 2019 @ 12:55 am

One would think those associated with Williams College, even in this low forum, would be capable of the minor restraint of looking up what words mean, before sounding off.

A common law ‘assault,’ for instance, requires only that a reasonable person be in anticipation of possible physical harm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence

#14 Comment By frank uible On February 8, 2019 @ 2:42 am

Language matters only so far as listeners permit themselves to be fooled thereby.

#15 Comment By anon On February 8, 2019 @ 7:17 am

Locutus- Key word “reasonable” and missing word “imminent.”

Also missing is the fact that the actor who is committing an assault must be intending to cause contact.

2R-
(1) An actor is subject to liability to another for assault if (a) he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person, or an imminent apprehension of such a contact, and
(b) the other is thereby put in such imminent apprehension

If the legal definition were in fact in play- then there would be a cause of action- which to this point, there does not appear to be.

#16 Comment By anon On February 8, 2019 @ 7:46 am

and violence means “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy.”

So… that while “violence” might apply to what Williams has been doing to the environment generally with all the construction; used in this context it implies physical confrontation and harm to persons.

#17 Comment By Johnny On February 8, 2019 @ 8:26 am

“Has Williams become a freak show?”

Most definitely yes.

None of this is the least bit surprising the way the college culture has been going for the past few years. Williams is a pathetic shell of the institution it once was.

#18 Comment By Sandman On February 8, 2019 @ 9:31 am

Williamstown Resident, Dr. G and Dr. Love are only on sabbatical. They’ll be back — probably as dean and associate dean of faculty.

#19 Comment By Eph Prof On February 8, 2019 @ 10:27 am

I am a Williams professor who is frustrated and annoyed by this issue, as are many of my colleagues. Personally, I find the actions of Assistant Professors Green and Love to be completely unprofessional and bad for the college. The watercooler conversations around campus are usually about why they have not been asked to leave. No professor should deliberately not show up to the first day of class.

#20 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 8, 2019 @ 11:05 am

Eph Prof: Could you (and other insiders) give us more insight into these watercooler conversations?

I am especially interested in:

1) Similar cases historically. When was the last prof freakout like these, if ever?

2) The blame game. Who do you blame for this nonsense, besides Kai/Green themselves?

#21 Comment By anonymous On February 8, 2019 @ 11:47 am

Eph Prof: What are the policies and procedures in place at Williams to protect students and staff from unhinged employees?

From the November social media postings of the professor as listed above, it is clear that the Williams community was vulnerable to the actions of this professor for several months.

#22 Comment By Eph Prof On February 8, 2019 @ 1:23 pm

DDF–I personally do not know another example as egregious as this (I’ve been at the College for several years). There are definitely situations in which a professor was removed from teaching because it was immediately apparent that they were ineffective in the classroom. There are also situations in which a professor is legitimately incapacitated and cannot teach (such as following a traumatic family emergency or illness). But I know of no example of a professor self-cancelling a course without warning to go “on strike.” Technically, Green is on a medical leave and, as was reported in the Record, there was no pre-arranged leave for Love.

Who to blame? Multiple answers to this question. Obviously people need to be accountable for their own behavior, so the ultimate blame rests with professors who don’t do their jobs. But obviously Williams is in a phase in which everyone is bending over backwards to accommodate diversity in all forms. Dean Buell is obviously expending great effort to make all faculty feel comfortable, even when their actions are what most people would consider to be extreme. I’m sure she is doing what she feels is best, but I cannot imagine that if a caucasian junior faculty member simply didn’t show up to class that his or her actions wouldn’t incur negative consequences.

In some ways, the blame can be even higher than that–right now it seems that college faculty are paralyzed and if someone says/does the wrong thing, it could easily affect their careers. In the November faculty meeting, Kai Green and Kim Love said some controversial statements about how oppressed they felt and handed out their articles for The Feminist Wire. Not a single faculty member had the courage to challenge them or even ask them to clarify their thoughts, even though most thought their statements were over the top. So in the end, perhaps the blame lies with all of us faculty who could be saying something in response but are too afraid of being labeled racist or as not supporting diversity/inclusion. Even faculty of color feel this way!

#23 Comment By Eph Prof On February 8, 2019 @ 1:32 pm

anonymous– Good question. The college is actually vague when it comes to faculty conduct. The faculty handbook contains a code of conduct, but it is impossible to specify every potential way that a faculty member might be inappropriate or unprofessional. A motion passed last year prohibiting faculty from engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, but obviously there are many other inappropriate behaviors a faculty member could do. There is now a standing grievance panel made up of other faculty peers that hear cases about serious accusations, such as sexual harassment. But obviously this is different than a professor not showing up to class, or treating students in a way that most would deem unprofessional.

Ultimately it is up to the Dean of Faculty’s office to address instances in which a faculty member is not doing their job.

#24 Comment By Current Student On February 8, 2019 @ 2:01 pm

Thanks @Eph Prof for your information from the faculty side of things. I wish I could say more about the student view, but I don’t think it’s particularly unique or interesting–shock mainly. Probably a general slightly negative feeling about this whole issue (many think their actions are irresponsible) but opinions vary wildly.

It’s strange–often we as students joke about getting to abandon class if the prof does show up ~15 minutes after class is supposed to start. The kidding around after begins a minute after class is supposed to start, but ends almost immediately because, of course, the professor is rarely more than 10 minutes late, and is usually more on the order of 1 minute late. I honestly can’t imagine a class in which the prof actually doesn’t show up–at least, it’d make one hell of a story.

#25 Comment By Fragesteller On February 8, 2019 @ 6:27 pm

Can someone copy the November statements which are in question, for those not “on Facebook?” (And as DDF says, for the historical record?)

#26 Comment By Paul Park, English Department, Williams College On February 9, 2019 @ 9:31 pm

If you think physical violence is the only violence in this world, you know nothing about politics. If you think what Professor Love has done fits neatly into some kind of anti-affirmative-action parable, you indulge yourselves in wilful ignorance. She is a distinguished scholar of African-American Literature, hired after an exhaustive national search. She is a wonderful writer and a dedicated, popular, and effective teacher. Her current situation is difficult and painful I am sure, on several levels, and those who don’t have the wit to see that should have the decency to remain silent.

#27 Comment By frank uible On February 10, 2019 @ 1:29 am

By God, EphBlog has found another blogger of the almost extinct species which embodies the courage, credibility and candor to identify itself by actual name. Bravo, Professor Park!

#28 Comment By Eph prof On February 10, 2019 @ 9:39 am

Professor Park is correct on all accounts. However, it is hard to be a dedicated and effective teacher when you abruptly and deliberately cancel your course hours before the first class. Such an act hurts students, hurts other faculty, and embarrasses the College. Many other faculty have faced tragic life events and worked their hearts out with the Dean’s Office to make sure their courses would be taught and their students would be okay. This act was unprofessional and many at the college have a right to be upset.

#29 Comment By Student from another institution On February 10, 2019 @ 10:24 am

Prof Park & Ephs Prof,

Forget about the general duty owed to the college for a moment. As a paying student at another institution, I am curious to know what you think I am owed by the college in terms of consideration?

I pay, and therefore am owed what I pay for. Part of that is a semblance of stability in my schedule and to receive courses that I am paying for.

Do these last-minute cancellations breach the duty owed to students?

If this does not seem like a substantial and unreasonable disruption into what a student pays for to go to Williams- then what is? Leaving aside the profs reasoning- think about the impact on the students- who now need to completely change their schedules at the last moment, as well as not get what was agreed to.

At what point should students who signed up for classes under such circumstances be given their money as well as lost opportunity cost back by the college?

Doesn’t Williams owe these students more than this explanation? Maybe not legally (technically), but what about the matter of good faith and fairness to those who pay for your services?

#30 Comment By Eph Prof On February 10, 2019 @ 11:24 am

To Student, I am not knowledgeable about the legal or contractual obligations that come with tuition, and it would be unfair to expect the college to promise specific courses or events. Sometimes a professor may be incapacitated before a course starts, and while the college would do everything possible to replace the professor in the course, it might not be possible. However, I personally believe there must be a good faith effort. Deliberately and willfully canceling a course hours before it starts does cause great concern, and has the unintended effect that now ALL students can fear an unstable schedule based on the whims of a faculty member. That is why I feel the need to post my opinion. Most of my colleagues (at least the ones I talk with) and I feel this instability should not be okay, and we owe our students much higher standards.

I sympathize with the administration in terms of offering a public explanation in this case. The silence is deafening but there are many personal matters to consider and it would be unwise to cause the faculty involved further notoriety.

#31 Comment By anonymous On February 10, 2019 @ 12:35 pm

Why not praise the professors for their courage to risk permanent unemployment for standing up for their principles? This is also very educational: this is what modern democracy looks like. At all levels of society, it has become acceptable that political disagreements be addressed by disruptive acts. Students, especially those who embrace the right to disrupt, should applaud this act of radical education. And who knows? Maybe more faculty will follow suit.

#32 Comment By Eph Prof On February 10, 2019 @ 1:16 pm

Anonymous, I don’t believe the dozens of students who suddenly had to choose their 30th choice course after classes filled up think of this as an educational moment as much as a major inconvenience. If I made reservations at a hotel only to show up and be told that the hotel was cancelling reservations to make a stand, I would be upset and anxious. There are innumerable ways of protest and taking a stand for what you believe in that does not hurt students. Shall we teach students about world hunger by suddenly closing the dining halls for two days? Contrary to your point of view, I found this to be a complete waste of an educational opportunity.

#33 Comment By John Drew On February 10, 2019 @ 5:37 pm

– Paul Park

So, am I correct to assume Kimberly Love is still well protected by her Political Correctness Force Field?

#34 Comment By Doug On February 11, 2019 @ 4:02 pm

Prof. Park: “If you think physical violence is the only violence in this world, you know nothing about politics”

Cool, can you expand? I am sure there are political practices that indirectly hurt people physically, i.e. those that lead to violence. Are there any of those at Williams? I am extremely doubtful.

My point was that the language used in complaints like this is misguided and ineffective. I’m sure there are nebulous academic arguments that “physical” violence and violence from having your feelings hurt are the same thing, but I think it’s useful to have a distinction (as the consensus definition seems to reflect).

#35 Comment By abl On February 11, 2019 @ 4:23 pm

Doug — there’s a framing of “violence” that holds that it can be psychological as well as physical. Under this framing, a mean-spirited holocaust joke told to a holocaust survivor could be a verbal act of psychological violence.

#36 Comment By PTC On February 11, 2019 @ 4:33 pm

Doug-

I can expand. Three political practices that I was directly involved in that led to violence were- Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Kosovo Campaign.

All three of those “conflicts” were approved by congress and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Of course, there was political violence that led to those wars… such as imperialism, western (read white/ anglo) hegemony in the Middle East following WWI, the caliphates, the Roman Empire… oil wars, WWII in Bosnia in particular, and The Battle of the Field of Blackbirds was fought in Kosovo on St. Vitus’ Day, June 15, 1389.

So…. I guess that those would be examples of political practices that led to violence. Others would be stop and frisk, as well as other urban, suburban, and rural police tactics. Generally, having a police force leads to a form of confrontation. So…

Also, the policies of the World Bank that lead to dependency, starvation, etc. Capitalism, Communism, and just about any form of economy/government leads to violence, since the very definition of government can be seen as a “human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence within a given territory” (Weber).

So… I think once you go down that road, the list is endless. Then you would need to compare and contrast exploitation.

On a scale of exploitative practices… where does Williams lie between 1 to 10?

10 if you are a townie.

Hope that helps!

#37 Comment By PTC On February 11, 2019 @ 4:59 pm

abl- The problem with that definition is that personal violence is usually not legal, while speech is. That is for a reason.

I agree that anti Semitic jokes- or I guess from what happened just a few hours ago- tweets from a congresswoman- are wrong.

Are they violent though? I am not so sure… non sanctioned violence is usually illegal. Speech is normally protected.

For example, one side honoring the flag of the Islamic State, flying it high, chanting anti American slogans, another another side honoring the American flag, flying it high, chanting slogans against the Islamic State. Not the same animal as those two sides shooting mortars at each other.

Like burning American flags in front of veterans. I think it is offensive, but not violent.

#38 Comment By abl On February 11, 2019 @ 7:47 pm

PTC – it’s just a definitional question. I think that Professor Park would argue that burning American flags in front of veterans is an act of violence (or at least can be).

You’re correct insofar as physical violence is more highly criminalized than psychological violence. You’re incorrect insofar as there are certainly acts of physical violence that are not criminal (or at least would never be prosecuted) as well as acts of psychological violence that are criminal.

In any event, I’m not convinced that *is this criminal* is as meaningful a question as *is this harmful.* It would be normatively concerning for Williams College to condone or facilitate harmful actions against one of its faculty members, even if those actions were within the bounds of the law.

#39 Comment By abl On February 11, 2019 @ 7:52 pm

Also, getting caught up in the question of “are these actions really violence” to me seems to miss the forest for the trees. I don’t take issue with a broad definition of “violence,” especially where, as is the case here, there is little possibility of confusion with respect to what is being discussed. But even if “violence” is a misleading and (pedantically speaking) incorrect term here, just replace “violent” above with “harmful” and I think you’ll get the gist of things.

#40 Comment By Current Student On February 11, 2019 @ 9:13 pm

An interesting conversation about the nature of psychological and physical violence/harm, to be sure, but I’d also like to interject that I (and many other students) are confused as to whether/how either type of harm happened to these two professors. Williams is, by all accounts, a very ‘safe’ space; students are almost uniformly accepting, and even national news and events can have a hard time impacting student lives (see: Purple Bubble (also see: all the times it has been broken)). We aren’t even rural in an area that leans conservative/Republican, something that is often a source of friction at Midwestern colleges. Many students, including myself, hope they get better (even if we disagree as to their treatment of handling the issue of cancelling classes last minute, something that does greatly impact student lives) but are genuinely confused. If Williams is such a hostile environment, what about the rest of the world? Will the professors be able to interact with and move about in this world after their semester off? If not, can they even continue to function at Williams?

#41 Comment By PTC On February 12, 2019 @ 6:25 am

Abl,

To add, I think the method of cancelling classes was wrong because it hurt students. Also that the language is not careful, and also wrong.

That said, I generally agree that Williams has real problems with honesty. As an institution, Williams does a lot of lousy things that are hypocritical. It acts much more like a corporation than an academy. It is a monopoly, and at times uses this like a bully. As members of a workforce who work for a dishonest corporation, I agree with and applaud the general message of these professors. I have no doubt there are many contradictions that they face from, and in being a part of, Williams College.

They are taking a risk being critical of “perfect” Williams. That is very unusual from insiders. The cultish nature of the place tends to view internal criticism externally vetted as a serious betrayal. The college normally hits back fairly hard when it is “wounded.” Right now the primary goal of the school is to make this go away as quietly as possible. It could hurt the bottom line. I will not be surprised if they are (1) fired, (2) leave “voluntarily” with some kind of buyout or (3) stay with some agreement to make these issues “go away quietly.”

For my part I’d like to ask Eph prof to take a walk from the top of Hoxsey Street to the bottom of Latham today. Is this the environmentally friendly equity promised? Hoxsey to Walden to Spring to Latham. Remember, the town has been in this shape for over two decades now. The method was wrong, the language sloppy, but the general premise correct. The college Has a real problem with honesty and inclusion.

#42 Comment By PTC On February 12, 2019 @ 7:43 am

Current student-

I suspect the issue fir these profs has more to do with the college being a place of many contradictions rather than the general political bend of Berkshire County.

This area is still rural, poor, and rugged- which stands as a stark contradiction to the beautiful and affluent monopoly (Williams) that runs the space.

Think about this area not in terms of politics or the “bubble” but in terms of general local diversity. There is no diversity here. It is essentially full of working poor and lower middle income straight white people, for many whom Williams is a boss and/or landlord. That and extremely affluent white people who have connections to Williams and country homes here. The divisions of wealth in this region are stunning. As is the lack of racial diversity.

There is little to no industry here other than Williams and hospitality. Most major industrial developments would be (and are) blocked by the school. For example- Williams was instrumental in blocking the development of a biofuel power plant in Pownal in the early 2000s. Williams can, and has, built a hotel at the bottom of Spring Street, but could Hilton? Could an outside interest build in that area?

Hilton could never get zoning to build near/on Christmas brook/ old Christmas lake like Williams did. In a wetland. Essentially, the only option to sell property- such as the American Legion, which Williams purchased to build the hotel- is to sell to Williams. Days of old the college was an instrumental part of that organization. The founder of the Legion was an Eph. The college had real skin in that game, and contributed, rather than simple self interest. Now instead of support, it buys a place like that out.

I don’t think you can find a more pure example of a monopoly in the region. Williams owns the vast majority of prime property, including business property, in the town. Williams has interests in businesses through rental agreements that open books and take profits. Williams can build where no one else can.

Williams enjoys town boards full of people who have interests and connections to the school. A town manager who is an alum…. etc. Williams has allies in the local media, allies who print press releases without vetting stories. etc. etc.

#43 Comment By PTC On February 12, 2019 @ 8:13 am

Which is to say, there is a distinct difference between wanting to be a part of a community, and wanting to own it.

So, are these profs wrong? I am not convinced that they are wrong.

#44 Comment By anonymous On February 12, 2019 @ 10:13 am

Here’s the thing. Many of you are criticizing the professors for cancelling their classes without warning. That is a justifiable criticism of Dr. Love. Re: Dr. Green – if Dr. Green was indeed sitting roadside preaching from the (stolen) bible (and observed/helped by a colleague while doing so), removing clothing and walking naked to the Clark, among other batshit crazy things….as stated in social media postings from NOVEMBER…why wasn’t Dr. Green removed from the classroom by the college THEN? I don’t understand how Dr. Green was even slated to have a second semester class (never mind a senior seminar) if this kind of witnessed mental deterioration was occurring. The college must protect the students from a community member who clearly needs mental help. Am I missing something here? Maybe I have misinterpreted the above posts? Where was the college on this? I contend the college is irresponsible rather than Dr. Green. Dr. Love is a different situation altogether – see ya bye.

Also – how come no press on this? How does this not hit the local news? National news? How does Williams manage to block all negative press?

#45 Comment By frank uible On February 12, 2019 @ 1:49 pm

Williams’ mission ought to be the teaching of the 3Rs to the kids not advancing the political agenda of the hired hands.

#46 Comment By Snowed In On February 12, 2019 @ 4:46 pm

To tie this thread to those on the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, my guess is that the absence of Drs. G and Love from campus will have a noticeable dampening effect on the radicalism of students on campus this spring.

Call it a hunch.

#47 Comment By Locutus On February 12, 2019 @ 11:59 pm

How hard can it be to find someone qualified to teach the syllabi of these courses, anyway?

#48 Comment By Johnny On February 13, 2019 @ 9:35 am

You should name this controversy “Enjoy the Silence.”

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand?
Oh my little girl
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
Enjoy the silence

#49 Comment By a recent grad … On February 27, 2019 @ 5:52 pm

What a thread of exchanges.

This lame act by these profs, in addition to seeing national anthem kneelers at a Williams sports event, further disenfranchises me (and many, many others) from the College we love(d).