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McPartland in the Crosshairs

Where will the madness end? Your guess is as good as mine. Our story so far:

0) Assistant Professors Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07 write an essay for the feminist wire in November. It is hard to summarize. Selected quotes:

We write this piece as two untenured junior faculty. We are Black Queer Feminists, serious about our call to research, service, and teaching. We are not safe. And it is not because we do not have tenure that we are not safe. …

We navigate this academic career with integrity and a deep love for knowledge. We are tired of shrinking ourselves to be here! We are tired of holding our tongues out of politeness because our colleagues are not ready to ask certain questions and are not ready to accept certain answers:

Colleague: Can I touch your….?

Answer: NO!

What we have been doing to fit our bodies in these institutions is killing us and we WANT TO LIVE! And not even tenure is worth our Black joy.

1) Love and Green cancel their classes just prior to the start of the spring semester, leaving their students (and departments) in the lurch. Their reasons for doing so are opaque at best.

2) Students (only?) sympathetic to Love and Green create a display/memorial around their (unused?) offices in Hollander Hall.

3) Philosophy Professor Keith McPartland removed the material in his capacity as Chair of the Hollander/Schapiro Users Committee after consultation with Campus Security and a conversation with them about the fire code. (It is hard to believe that no one mentioned this to the Administration. McPartland, and the folks at security, are well-versed in the nonsense which passes for political discussion at Williams. Surely they anticipated a blow-back? Surely they sent an ass-covering e-mail to higher ups?)

4) President Mandel sends a somewhat bizarre e-mail about the removal. Mandel claims that, previously (meaning last week?), “after senior staff and I confirmed that the materials were not impeding movement through Hollander we had asked custodial, CSS and other staff not to disturb them.” Sure would be weird for Mandel to tell CSS not to touch anything and then, a week later, McPartland checks with CSS and they say, “Go ahead. Remove it.” But, then again, miscommunication is the curse of every bureaucracy . . .

5) Students (how?) discover McPartland’s role and decorate/vandalize his office. These photos (four more below the break) are from Thursday morning. Should McPartland be concerned about his future at Williams? What advice would you give him?

What does this mean? We need a scandal name! The saga of Love/Green will be with us for a while. Suggestions? Longtime readers will recall that EphBlog loves to name Williams controversies. Classic examples include: ¿Quién es más macho?, Nigaleian, Safety Dance, Prospect Must Die, Willy E. N-word, Catch Moore If You Can, The Taco Six, Mary Jane Hitler and Self-CARE Now.

“Love” and “Green” are good words to work with. How about “Love Green Black joy”? Suggestions welcome!

Four more photos below. I believe these are from the morning of Feb 14. Thanks to an anonymous reader for sharing them!

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Comments Disabled To "McPartland in the Crosshairs"

#1 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 6:57 am

That is it!!

Hahahahahah! This is the “vandalism”.

Give me a friggin break! This is free speech!

#2 Comment By Eric Knibbs On February 15, 2019 @ 9:03 am

This is another fire safety violation.

Williams is concerned about the safety of every individual on campus and, therefore, has very strict fire safety regulations. Students who do not observe these regulations jeopardize the safety of others on this campus and, therefore, will be subject to disciplinary action and/or fines. State Law requires that hallways and stairways be completely clear at all times. This means that you can not store anything in these areas (examples: shoes, clothes racks, boxes, furniture, and bicycles). The Williamstown Building Inspector and the Williamstown Fire Chief enforce these regulations. Items left in halls may be removed without notice and held at Facilities.

Probably it’s completely fine to leave free speech in the hallway though.

Also too the code of conduct has an entire section dedicated to “disruptive behavior,” and at the top of the list of prohibitions are “Actions that impair or interfere with the use of facilities, teaching, study, research…”

Just last month the words “Identity Evropa” on a white board were denounced in a general email as “graffiti”–lest we forget how far we are from an institution that polices only the form and not the content.

#3 Comment By anonymous On February 15, 2019 @ 9:26 am

Working link:

This sounds like another institution whose president told security to suspend the rules (stand down). That didn’t end very well.

#4 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 9:58 am


The prof can move this stuff in front of and around his door. He can discard it. This is expression. You may not like the message, and if this was done consistently over time then you have an argument that it is harassment. If students were told to knock it off. It is the profs space.

But the fire code? Not again! Dude, please!

The argument seems to be- we hate it when people we do not agree with use technical rules to block viewpoints of expression we agree with on our campus, but when we disagree with the viewpoints- FIRE HAZARD!!

Of course, a few newspapers and some twigs block an entry- FIRE HAZARD- which is bogus on its face- but you must also consider the fact that when this was done the prof was most likely not in his space- so this display as a matter of fact did not block the exit of any person in the event of a fire.

Using a “safety violation” to oppose this freedom of expression is unbecoming of those who actually support free speech. That is my opinion, and I am sticking to it.

I respectfully disagree- despite the rebellious nature of my response.

I know, I know- SAFETY VIOLATION!! Four twigs and a towel left on the locker room floor!

Extra, Extra, read all about it in the Record! FIRE HAZARD!! Security called to clean up three issues of Newsweek, a gallon of ripple, and a bong, discarded in the hallway of Dodd!!

#5 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 10:09 am

Anyone know what kind of bushes those are?

They appear to be choke berries. This selection of bushes and placement of speech in the design of the expressive work is interesting.

Someone should make a copy for display in Paresky.

Interesting stuff.

#6 Comment By Eric Knibbs On February 15, 2019 @ 10:17 am

I don’t know how to put this any more clearly. Profs get told to pull even small boxes in front of their offices out of the hallway for fire safety reasons. To keep the hallways in Hollander and Schapiro absolutely clear, plastic receptacles have been screwed to the wall in front of every office so that nothing is ever left on the floor.

Fire safety violations are not being leveraged as a pretense to silence expressions of support for Green and Love. It may strike you as ridiculous but this is genuinely how the regulations are enforced and McPartland, in consultation with CSS, did absolutely nothing remarkable.

#7 Comment By anonymous On February 15, 2019 @ 10:33 am

This fire code stuff – while it appears bogus – is real.
When my kids were at the Williamstown Community Preschool (next door to Williamstown Savings Bank), the fire dude from the Williamstown Fire Dept (Craig Pedercini) on multiple occasions spot inspected and asked for the kids’ artwork ON BULLETIN BOARDS ON WALLS to be taken down due to fire risk! I’m not making this shite up.
It would be interesting to drop a dime on the WFD and see how this goes.

#8 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 10:35 am


I am going to say this again. By playing the safety card, you are playing into the oppositions hands. The flip side is always dangerous, and adopting their language to censure expression in these instances is counterproductive.

That is my opinion- and I am an expert in unconventional tactics. This was done to provoke your response. Think about it.

#9 Comment By Eric Knibbs On February 15, 2019 @ 10:43 am

I’m not a free speech advocate. I also have no interest in censoring support for professors Love and Green.

You’re right at least that this was done to provoke a response. More than that, because everyone at Williams is aware of the extremely rigid ways in which the fire regulations are enforced, it was probably done with the understanding that responsible authorities would be compelled to remove the materials, and that this removal would provide an opportunity to complain of censorship and capitalize on the resulting controversy.

McPartland was merely fulfilling his duties as chair of the users committee. He was not playing a safety card. This is not a position in which you feel loads of discretion. There was no way out here.

#10 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 10:44 am

anonymous- of course “its real.” Does that mean we should run out and rip apart an expressive display crying ‘FIRE FIRE PANTS ON FIRE” because someone placed newspapers in a hallway?

“Safety trumps speech.” Speech can be immediately destroyed for safety. Who’s message is that now? Oh I know, but the nuances, the fire code, and… and… a professor entry is his sanctuary.

Remember that. That is the message. Think about it.

#11 Comment By anonymous On February 15, 2019 @ 11:34 am

PTC: you make an uncontroversial point—students should be free to express their opinions. You miss that the Chicago Statement points out clear restrictions:

“The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. The University may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas.”

Like it or not, the detailed information given by Knibbs describes policy and actions that are fully consistent with the Chicago Statement. Students don’t like it, apparently.

#12 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 12:03 pm

anon- True. But this is a cycle that Williams College (and other now faux liberal) schools are in. The acts considered as “dangerous” were relatively benign. The fire narrative can easily be seen as bogus. Bogus and against the express wishes of the college president.

If you continue to play the same games, you’ll get the same results- no free speech.

I am starting to wonder whether or not Williams has the maturity to have a productive conversation about speech on campus? My best guess is that free speech has no chance because President Mandel is not being supported.

Lucky for us we have public schools- like MCLA… a place where a republican secretary of defense can speak- for example.

Williams is a waste of time- for now.

#13 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

DDF- My proposed name for the controversy is “HELP, FIRE!”

#14 Comment By Ephstudent On February 15, 2019 @ 12:11 pm

The pictures you’ve included don’t give a faithful impression of the extent to which the memorial blocks the hallway off. The real thing is much… grander.

#15 Comment By John Drew On February 15, 2019 @ 1:08 pm

It is extremely unfortunate that Mandel tossed McPartland under the bus (and then drove the bus back and forth over him).

She is giving into the mob rule at Williams College that I have written about in the past.

Purple Bruises: Mob Rule at Williams College

FYI: Anyone who ever played with matches knows the kindling in front of his office door, and documented above, is a fire hazard.

#16 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 15, 2019 @ 2:25 pm

Ephstudent: Please send us some photos! Or post them yourself and we will link.

#17 Comment By Johnny On February 15, 2019 @ 2:42 pm

I see this as a continuation of the Love and Green psychotic meltdown that I would like see named “Enjoy the Silence.” They are boys who cry wolf and are in need of serious mental health care. It doesn’t seem like Williams has a clue how ridiculous the institution has become.


#18 Comment By Just Me On February 15, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

Let’s be honest and give PTC his/her due. The issue is less the fire code than it is that rules in general apply to some people and not to others.

#19 Comment By Current Student On February 15, 2019 @ 5:22 pm

We really should be doing more to put these displays in appropriate spaces. It is hypocritical to support free speech and not agree with that statement.

Again, and I really feel like this dead horse has been beaten to the point of nonexistence at this point, these two displays are a Hazard. The posters on his door? Keep ’em there! The one in his mailbox? Go for it! Hell, I would’ve pasted the entirety of his door in pictures and shoved dozens of papers into his plastic mailbox (and his faculty mailbox, etc.). You can’t have stuff in the hallways!!! It sounds stupid, it is stupid, but it is state law and school policy. Communication may have broken down in the removal of the initial display, but it could not be there. If I tried suing the school over this because they refused to make a concerted effort to account for my safety, I’d win. It is a hazard, and it cannot be there.

There is hypocrisy to grapple with, to be sure, but this is not the hill to die on. I could half a dozen times I’ve been yelled at for fire code violations, and I have dozens of stories from my friends.

In other news:

Maybe put these displays in Sawyer? Just my suggestion.

#20 Comment By Fragesteller On February 15, 2019 @ 5:38 pm

>If I tried suing the school over this because they refused
>to make a concerted effort to account for my safety, I’d win.
> It is a hazard, and it cannot be there.

You’re really dumb enough to think that’s true, aren’t you?

#21 Comment By abl On February 15, 2019 @ 6:14 pm

I find it entirely plausible that Williams is, as a general rule, overcautious when it comes to fire code violations, and it’s plausible that Williams’ general practices applied here would dictate removing this display (although it becomes less plausible that this was just an instance of ‘the college doing its job’ if the display was moved against the express request of the President–and if it was destroyed as opposed to relocated).

But I also think that the extent to which many of the contributors on this blog are bending over backwards to find neutral-seeming justifications for the destruction of a display with which they disagree, and the number of disparaging remarks made about the display itself, really do illustrate the hypocrisy running throughout the right-wing’s facially high-minded (but actually ideologically motivated) call to protect speech on private college campuses. Look how quickly the right-wing rage shifted to the speakers here when the speech that was suppressed was left wing. Indeed, where is FIRE on all of this?

I don’t agree with everything that PTC says, including on this issue specifically, but I do have to applaud his (? is that correct?) consistency on this matter.

#22 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 6:36 pm

abl- But, don’t you understand? The fire Marshall was breathing down their neck! Any moment, he might appear! He could fine Williams hundreds of thousands of dollars! Newspapers on a floor with green twigs created a substantial hazard! We are certain of this because John Drew has played with matches! Negligence was per se! Green sticks and newspapers in hallways often cause spontaneous combustion! Profs doors are a sanctuary! People explode! Didn’t you se Repo Man?!!

Why don’t you understand??!!!

Which is to say, this is total bullshit. Did it have to be removed eventually? Yes. Did the President of the school ask for conversation- yes! Was it an imminent threat to overuse the presidents call. No.

Using hyper technicalities to remove this kind of expression is abhorrent. I do not agree with the message. So? So!!

The whole point is to support the right.

Turns out you are right! Williams is Home Depot!

#23 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 6:43 pm

Current student- What!

But, don’t you understand. People play with matches and this could cause a fire! The fire Marshall and stuff- FIRE, FIRE!!! This is a Hazard!

Good god, where have you been? You must be joking. If this is a hazard in anyones mind, I feel very sorry for them. I understand that this might be considered a liability- but this is not a hazard. Those two things, are not the same.

This is a sad joke…

… and student- fire me up for some drinks if you have time. We’ll hit a local cantina or stop on by my pad for a few for a laugh.

This is not a hazard.


#24 Comment By anon On February 15, 2019 @ 6:51 pm

Things are not always what they seem. From the original email: “I and senior staff will work with students and others to find a way that it can remain without creating a safety hazard.”

Why would they have “to find a way” if they had already determined it was no hazard?

PTC and abl are right, though: everybody looks a little silly. I blame Trump.

#25 Comment By PTC On February 15, 2019 @ 6:57 pm

Just Me- Thanks.

I am a man, baby!

But yes, this is all about using fire code as an excuse to ban speech.

Green twigs and newspapers on a floor in a hallway causes fires. Right.

By any collegial and/or blue collar standard… by any honest standard, green twigs and newspapers on a floor in a hallway are nuisance, not a fire hazard. When was the last time these fire sensitive people walked through a Williams dorm?!!

Maybe they should patrol campus… citing various infractions? They are very concerned about fire!

#26 Comment By John Drew On February 15, 2019 @ 7:19 pm

I think I’ve stumbled on the best name for this sordid episode in Williams College history. Call it “The Naked and the Damned Collective.”

#27 Comment By 89’er On February 15, 2019 @ 9:05 pm

The third rail for bad behavior when I was at Williams was doing anything that compromised fire safety.

Some friends shared a suite with two folks given the opportunity to take an extended vacation from the college due to a fire safety violation I do not recall.

I wonder if Brietbart has a fire safety reporter who could shed light on these issues.

#28 Comment By Ephtastic On February 15, 2019 @ 10:15 pm

There seem to be two issues conflated here. Whether the display should have been taken down, and whether McPartland should be raked over the coals for doing so. It really doesn’t matter to us at Williams whether or not some commenters on EphBlog are OK with the removal and for what reason they support it, but this treatment of a tenured professor is a serious concern. Whether or not you believe the fire codes in Williamstown should be enforced at Soviet levels (which they nearly are), the removal of the display by Professor McPartland was certainly justified by them. More importantly, his enforcement of the fire code does not warrant the response he has received.

In terms of names, I’d go for “If the GLove Doesn’t Fit”

#29 Comment By Eph Prof On February 15, 2019 @ 11:25 pm

Don’t forget: the issues and circumstances of the fire code and Keith McPartland is not the main issue. The main issue is that two mentally ill professors have made a claim that Williams is so violent to them that they cannot teach their classes. Some students believe that claim to the point that they set up a shrine to worship these professors. The college, by not denying the claim that the college is too violent to teach and by supporting the shrine despite obvious fire code violations (there are newspapers literally covering green lighted exit signs), is taking a side.

I am sad that there are some professors who are facing legitimate, devastating hardship: a child with a life threatening disease, a spouse with cancer, perhaps their own debilitating diagnosis. Some of these professors are faculty of color from very different backgrounds and cultures. These professors show up to their classes, write letters of recommendation for their students, and they role model doing work during times of hardship. In extreme cases they work with their departments and the Dean’s Office to get help with their classes and workload. These professors do not get shrines in the hallway or letters of support in The Record. They are doing their best to be adults and to do their jobs. Other faculty work around the clock to deliver excellence to their students.

This incident at Williams is a case of two very squeaky wheels getting some unearned, undeserved grease in the form of a paid leave, a shrine of worship, and the sense that they are somehow social justice warriors.

As a Williams professor, I am deeply embarrassed.

#30 Comment By abl On February 15, 2019 @ 11:46 pm

The main issue is that two mentally ill professors have made a claim that Williams is so violent to them that they cannot teach their classes.

If you really believe this to be true, the rest of your post is stunningly insensitive to both these professors personally and to the problem of mental illness more generally. You seem somewhat reasonable, and I appreciate and respect what you do enormously (teach at Williams), so I promise I’m not trying to stir the pot further. But seriously: step back and look at what you wrote.

#31 Comment By Ephtastic On February 16, 2019 @ 12:00 am

As much as I sympathize with what Eph Prof is saying, it’s a losing fight at today’s Williams and fighting it will probably drive away people who would be willing to support McPartland.

#32 Comment By abl On February 16, 2019 @ 12:09 am

I’m curious: how is McPartland viewed at Williams?

#33 Comment By Eph Prof On February 16, 2019 @ 12:15 am

abl, I appreciate your response.

If it is true that these professors are mentally ill (not for me to judge), then students and other people should be supporting them as people and not necessarily supporting their unsubstantiated assertions. Students should be giving these two faculty support and privacy, not discussing this incident in terms of race, violence, or tenure. The fact that students are validating their claims and that Keith McPartland has been branded a racist means that this incident is not being treated as a mental health issue. The two professors are indeed being treated as social justice warriors instead of individuals who require a medical leave.

One of these professors literally stated that their department Chair was going to “assassinate them,” and rather than give this professor a medical leave several months ago, the college asked the Chair to step down. What does that imply? That implies, to me, that even if these two faculty are mentally ill, that the college has not responded in a way that is treating them as mentally ill, but is instead validating their assertions. The students supporting them are doing the same, passing around their ideas from The Feminist Wire, and looking to these faculty as role models.

I personally think that these two faculty deserve respect and privacy, and they should take their leave to heal however they need. But their actions were objectively hurtful and their assertions unjustified. Other faculty are suffering from problems, including mental health problems, who go about solutions in an appropriate way. The actions of these faculty should not be worshipped with shrines and admirers.

#34 Comment By super anonymous On February 16, 2019 @ 12:56 am

@abl, McPartland is generally viewed very favorably, has a bit of a cult following.

#35 Comment By abl On February 16, 2019 @ 1:04 am

Eph Prof —

The issue isn’t how other students have discussed this; it’s how you have. If you truly believe that mental health is at the center of this, you should be much more considerate in your discussion. The fact that some/many students may disagree about your conclusion re mental illness doesn’t render insensitive things you say about your colleagues or mental health more generally somehow ok.

I do think this may illustrate why the College has been reluctant to take much of a strong public stance. If this is a mental illness problem, the College would reasonably not to stigmatize or shame — and would want to give the professors as much space as possible. Moreover, publicly calling this a mental health issue not only delegitimizes the complaints of the professors, but it delegitimizes trans/black complaints more generally by implicitly calling them ‘crazy.’ (This is especially true if, as you describe, there are a not-insubstantial number of students who are treating these complaints as legitimate.) On the other hand, if there are no mental health issues, the College should be treating complaints of this nature–especially coming from multiple professors simultaneously, who are backing up their significant allegations with significant (and possibly career-threatening) actions–seriously, which would also call for a fairly considered response.

#36 Comment By anonymous On February 16, 2019 @ 2:55 am

This is very sad, but it does explain the misdirection of Hopkins Hall: making an example of one squeaky wheel to provide cover for the others.

BTW, this information appears to have been publicly disclosed—see this link (found from a previous post):

#37 Comment By Johnny On February 16, 2019 @ 7:02 am

How anyone can take a complaint that a department chair was going to commit an “assassination” seriously is beyond me. Sounds like slanderous defamation regardless of whether the speaker is crazy or not. As usual, Williams makes the wrong move in how to handle this.

Posting this link again. Every clueless Eph admin needs to read this.

#38 Comment By anon On February 16, 2019 @ 7:19 am

#39 Comment By mcphilo On February 16, 2019 @ 9:14 am

McPartland is no reactionary, and sacrifices his time for many students. He lives the model of a Williams professor:

#40 Comment By Eph Prof On February 16, 2019 @ 11:04 am

abl, these two professors were put on medical leave. That means the college considers this a mental health issue (because there are no physical health issues). One of these professors was put on medical leave after she didn’t show up to class as that was probably the only way to give her a chance and not terminate her employment. Discussions of mental health might not be coming up on EphBlog but believe me they are being discussed all over campus. My frustration is that students and some faculty aren’t treating this as a mental health issue, they are treating these two faculty as victims of a violent college and true social justice warriors. If this was only about mental health then none of us, not even you, should be talking about it. My point is that this is not just a mental health issue. The way the college has legitimized their concerns and the way that students have advanced their cause means that we haven’t even figured out how to talk about this yet.

#41 Comment By mcphilo On February 16, 2019 @ 1:07 pm

The irony is that Prof. McPartland, a supporter of the Chicago Principles, predicted that something like this would happen:

“Perhaps, however, the student thought that … Those who support “good” moral or political positions may engage in disruptive or potentially violent behavior in protesting those who support “bad” moral or political positions. In fact, those who support “bad” positions will not even be allowed to receive an invitation to speak on campus. In the course of administering this new policy, the College would need to make decisions about the moral and political acceptability of someone’s position.”


#42 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 1:24 pm


The irony is that a supporter of the Chicago principles cried “FIRE” when he did not have to.

It seems that all parties in this ridiculous affair only believe in freedom of expression when they are not offended by the viewpoint.

In other words- Williams is all hosed up!

#43 Comment By John Drew On February 16, 2019 @ 1:54 pm

– Eph Prof

I appreciate your insight and clarity. Based on her published self-report, it seems to me that Dr. Green is suffering from a chronic form of delusional disorder. Those delusions got so far out of hand that she feared her department chair, Alison Case, was out to “assassinate” her. It makes perfect sense to me that Dr. Green is on medical leave right now.

(As of December 2018, Case is no longer the department chair. This position has been taken over by Gregory Mitchell.)

A lot of this makes more sense to me if we understand that Dr. Green and Dr. Love are a couple sharing the same home. In this context, it was reasonable for the college to give Dr. Love medical leave too because she is caring for Dr. Green. Right? I don’t see any evidence that Dr. Love is psychotic.

Given the desire of the college to keep two gay black professors on board for affirmative action reasons, it makes sense that Dr. Love, as you said, “was put on medical leave after she didn’t show up to class as that was probably the only way to give her a chance and not terminate her employment.”

The problem here is that some of the obsessions contained in Dr. Green’s delusional disorder match up with a prevailing ideological perspective which asserts that black, trans, queer feminists are living in an unhealthy (supposedly violent) environment. As she writes: “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.”

Maybe it would help the leftist students more accurately frame this situation as a genuine mental health crisis by calling to their attention the the ideas contained in Dr. Green’s delusional disorder which are unrelated to politics? For example, she has also reported that…

She had a delusion that there was a new restaurant in Williamstown that served curry goat.

She had a delusion that “Lil Kai” had been murdered by the police.

She had a similar delusion that her “lil cousin Mekhi” had died instead of “Lil Kai.”

While experiencing this psychotic episode, she acted out in an unprofessional manner where, as she reports, she “started taking my clothes off piece by piece, so by the time I got to the Clark I was completely naked.”

While under arrest, she had the delusional belief that the song she was singing was a “magic spell that would unlock the cuffs.”

Frankly, there is not much that the college can do to protect its students from the reality that Dr. Green has provided us with compelling evidence that transgender individuals disproportionately suffer from mental illness.

The larger issue, for me, is that we aren’t doing troubled individuals any favors when we sign off on their delusions and enable them to take drastic and irreversible actions in pursuit of them.

It is particularly horrifying when society adopts dysfunctional beliefs that encourage the mentally ill to engage in brutal self-mutilation or poison themselves with inappropriate hormone treatments.

Protecting the jobs and security of individuals who understand, and speak out about, the life-threatening severity of Dr. Green’s mental illness should be a top priority of anyone who supports freedom of speech at Williams College. We should not surrender our leadership or power to those who agonize over imaginary murders or sing to unlock their very real handcuffs.

#44 Comment By Johnny On February 16, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

“It seems that all parties in this ridiculous affair only believe in freedom of expression when they are not offended by the viewpoint.”

Typical of the progressive left, social justice warriors, whateverTF you want to call these reprobates

#45 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 3:29 pm


Typical of (just about?) everyone at Williams apparently. Even the “free speech supporters” at Williams are willing- eager- to practice viewpoint discrimination through hyper technical means.

So… it would seem to me that no one at Williams College actually supports free speech. Big talk. All hat, no cattle.

Not much of a debate left to be had on the “Chicago Principles” when no one at the school actually supports free speech.

I’ve never been so ashamed of the lord on high who feel free to practice free speech in our townie public spaces while hiding in the corners of his castle on high and claiming the privilege a four billion dollar private institutions.

These posts have been very informative.

#46 Comment By Current Student On February 16, 2019 @ 3:35 pm

I feel late to the party–maybe I shouldn’t promise myself to do work instead of commenting on EphBlog!

First, some tidying up:
@Fragesteller: Thanks for pointing out my crude hyperbole–unnecessary to my point and generally bad writing.
@PTC-I will! I’m not sure how to contact you, but I’m definitely free here and there in my busy Williams schedule to stop and have a chat!


I’d like to say @Ephtastic seems to have hit the nail on the head. Also, I’d like to point out that when I say ‘fire hazard’ that doesn’t mean the object in question will start/contribute to a fire; I basically mean someone can trip over it. Stupid rule? Yes. Strictly enforced? Also yes. (And I do really mean strict. Just yesterday I was berated for leaving my shoes in the hallway. The custodians that come M-F are trained to clear all hallways every morning, so @PTC there essentially are people citing minor infractions every morning M-F.)

@PTC, @abl:

Maybe I’ve missed something (I generally skim the comments for the gist), but I don’t see how people are bending over backwards to explain why these displays are wrong. If you have specific examples, I’d just like to know. I just don’t see the hypocrisy–I’d be more than happy to rail against an unsanctioned right-wing display (whatever that constitutes) than a left-wing one. Am I missing the point? Is the hypocrisy somewhere else?

#47 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 3:42 pm

Ok current…

DDF has my email.

Fire me one so we can have a couple.

DDF knows… I excel at partying.


#48 Comment By Current Student On February 16, 2019 @ 3:44 pm

Got it! I’ll shoot you an email as soon as I can find a time.


#49 Comment By Ephtastic On February 16, 2019 @ 5:34 pm

@Current Student I think you hit the nail on the head there. A lot of these accusations of hypocrisy are just due to a lack of data. I’m not sure a comparable situation has ever happened with a right-leaning professor/students, so to argue that all the conservatives in the comments have a double standard seems presumptive. And I’m sure that if an unsanctioned right-wing display were removed for violating the fire code we would not see the same reaction from the administration, so at the very least there’s hypocrisy all around.

#50 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 7:13 pm


One problem I am having is this notion that you can “be for speech” but then use a technicality to unilaterally take down an expressive display.

The issue is whether or not there is hypocrisy all around, because if there is, that means that no one really believes in free speech on campus.

#51 Comment By abl On February 16, 2019 @ 7:25 pm

There’s nothing hypocritical with someone on the Left saying, “hey, is this really the best time or place for this speech,” because the Left generally ascribes to the idea that speech should not be absolutely permitted in every circumstance on a private college campus.

#52 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 7:34 pm

abl- I am not sure this breaks down “left v right.” The ACLU might beg to differ.

But you are correct. Those (like you) who don’t believe in free speech on campus are not being hypocritical when they allow the content displayed in pictures above in this post, but would deny a similar expressive content in support of a group of conservatives professors.

The side that openly admits that they do not condone free speech on campus advocates for such viewpoint discrimination.

I have to talk a stroll over to Hollander and check this display at. It looks really cool. I think it is awesome that dissent (the display) grows in the face of destruction.

But, fire!!! What happened to the “imminent threat” of fire?

#53 Comment By anonymous@aol.com On February 16, 2019 @ 7:53 pm

Williams needs to start listening to its donors. Otherwise, they will have no donors to listen to!

#54 Comment By anonymous On February 16, 2019 @ 7:56 pm

If “free speech” means “no restrictions”, then Williams is indeed an authoritarian dystopia. Just look at these rules!

#55 Comment By Ephtastic On February 16, 2019 @ 8:28 pm


I’d draw a distinction between location restrictions and content restrictions. I’m pretty sure that everyone recognizes that location restrictions are (to some extent) necessary, and to what extent that is is really at issue here.

#56 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 8:41 pm

Eph- Of course. But once you open the forum (in this case the hallway in Hollander) to content, then you have to allow expression of alternative viewpoints, such as a similar display constructed in a similar location that does not interfere with the current one, but that advocates for the professors being fired.

There seems to be a lot of confusion at Williams about this basic concept.

#57 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 8:52 pm


Williams seems to be very receptive to opening discussion to certain content, that bans viewpoints within that content.

That’s the issue. For example, the school may be very receptive to opening the forum for gun control given by members of the million mom march, or the Brady campaign, while at the same time banning a gun rights viewpoint discussion promoted by the NRA.

In the end what able and others are advocating for is this kind of viewpoint discrimination. That the school gets to pick the not just the time, place, manner and content of speech, but also, the viewpoints expressed.

#58 Comment By PTC On February 16, 2019 @ 8:58 pm

#59 Comment By Current Student On February 16, 2019 @ 10:25 pm


I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. The issue I have isn’t with the speech; it’s that I’m being impeded when I walk to class. Yes, it’s really only an inconvenience to me, but the school does not allow other types of inconveniences (like chairs) in the hallways, regardless how apolitical.


I also agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. To a certain extent, the issue now is that since this is sanctioned, other displays (i.e. promoting the firing of the professors) should be sanctioned as well. Of course, Williams will not allow that.

I am confused as to where the conflict between these statements is. If we all agree that the display’s message isn’t the issue, and just that the location is an issue, and we all support the right of free speech that these students are exercising…we’re all on the same page, right?

I was convinced the previous problem was that some of us thought the hallway was not the appropriate place for this display based on the College’s previous actions against hallway objects, and others disagreed. Are we beyond that now?

#60 Comment By PTC On February 17, 2019 @ 5:40 am

Current- Well beyond it. As soon as the College President weighed in the work became a sanctioned display. One for which there had to be some kind of an accommodation.

We do not know how the President might react to a similar display advocating for a different view, even in a space that did not involve a problem with fire code. One issue
Mandel is going to face is how to have it taken down, and how to react to something similar with a viewpoint she vehemently opposes in the future. Especially if the expression is in a space that does not impose any problem with code. She waived a lot of rules for this. Also, she has created a bad interaction with many professors and others in important positions. Her handling of the situation in terms of how she addressed those who “followed the rules (fire code)” was not well done, and she needs those people in her corner. You cannot lead effectively by negating the authority of those in your charter who have major responsibilities.

The President has taken the lead and owns this now. I find that to be inspiring, and am hopeful that she can navigate this in support of freedom of expression. I hope she can walk back her statements that admonished CSS and tenured professors. More nuance is needed. Time will tell.

I am now with anonymous in terms of media at this point. It is stunning that the media has not picked up this story. When they do, watch to see how it is covered, and if/ how the actions of the profs involved- like walking to the Clark naked, having a interaction with police, walking off the job at the last second, are covered- or if it reads like an official press release from the school. Williams controls local media well.

By now, this is a national story.

#61 Comment By Johnny On February 17, 2019 @ 6:29 am

“what abl and others are advocating for is this kind of viewpoint discrimination.”

Yes, indeed. And this is the very reason to find “abl” and people like him or her despicable. They seek to silence and oppress particular views and do so out of their prejudice, bias, racism, and sexism.

#62 Comment By PTC On February 17, 2019 @ 6:33 am

Current- and this is an opportunity to test your hypothesis that a viewpoint the President disagreed with would not be allowed. Construct something critical of the College…

Free speech student advocates could create some kind of monument in support of McPartland, or free speech, or something in issue. Do it in a space (say, plywood painted mural erected on Paresky Lawn) where there was no issue with code. Display it in a. location where people driving on Rt 2 can see it. Do it tastefully, and be critical of how speech is treated by Williams generally. Something like that.

But that probably will not happen. For whatever reason, too lazy or scared- when you really do not need to be. Not if you are smart about it. Like these students are being with their support of Love and Green.

One thing that I believe that others here have taken issue with is that the “left wing” (for lack of a better description) students are getting professional advice and support for how they are handling this. I think that the Davis Center guides them to push the envelope just enough on these issues, without crossing the line. Like with the 4th of July protest last year, or the “student” article in the feminist wire.

It would be nice if faculty free speech advocates supported students like those on the left who oppose it are being supported. Create a more balanced dialogue and force the institution to address free speech inconsistencies- viewpoint discrimination.

#63 Comment By anonymous On February 17, 2019 @ 6:35 am

Someone other than the status quo could also invite news media in and give them access as well as a full version of events on the record as an anonymous source.

That would get the administrations attention.

#64 Comment By Diana On February 17, 2019 @ 6:40 pm

John Drew:

Professor Kai Green is a male, who uses the pronoun “they.” Yet in your post, you refer to Professor Green repeatedly and uniformly as “she.” This is absurd bordering on the ridiculous, and makes it impossible to take the rest of the content of your post seriously.

#65 Comment By Fragesteller On February 17, 2019 @ 7:25 pm

Is the set of individuals who have obtained a Williams degree, who also take the content of John Drew’s posts seriously, non-null?

#66 Comment By Diana On February 17, 2019 @ 7:36 pm


Ah, I see. I was concerned that no one had called out John Drew for this, but I agree, it’s better to just ignore John Drew’s posts completely.

#67 Comment By abl On February 17, 2019 @ 8:06 pm

Diana – yes, that is best.

#68 Comment By John Drew On February 17, 2019 @ 10:44 pm

– Diana

I’m sorry. My friends and colleagues would consider me ridiculous if I referred to Dr. G as anything other than a woman. She is a genetic woman. That’s all that matters…at least for the vast majority of us who live in the real world, own businesses, and vote for Trump.

In fact, it strikes me as ridiculous for you to suggest a woman can become a man simply by carving off her breasts and pumping herself up with testosterone. She can become a mutilated woman, but she can never become a man. Never.

If you study Dr. G’s statements closely, I think you will find that she is seriously ill. She has been seriously mentally ill for a very long time. I certainly would not rely on her for rational public policy suggestions, at least not until she is confident that there isn’t a new restaurant in Williamstown featuring goat on the menu.

#69 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 17, 2019 @ 10:52 pm

at least for the vast majority of us who live in the real world, own businesses, and vote for Trump


Speaking as a Trump voter and (former) business owner, I must strongly disagree. If Professor Green prefers that I use the pronoun “they” instead of “he,” I am happy to oblige, assuming that they will, in good faith, be patient with me as I do my best to be polite. This does not require me to take a position on all the various political disputes associated with trans-related topics.

#70 Comment By John Drew On February 18, 2019 @ 5:36 am

– David Dudley Field ’25

Really? I can’t say “people of all genders have vaginas” without laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes. I can’t believe there are 12 people in the whole world that believe this nonsense. Check out this informative tweet from Christina Sommers.

A trans-inclusive performance of Vagina Monologues at Princeton! Director & cast acknowledge the play is a “relic” of a time when people assumed being a woman and having a vagina were synonymous.

Right. Back in the dark ages of 1996…

#71 Comment By Fendertweed On February 18, 2019 @ 10:32 am

Good to see an expert on delusional disorders such as @John Drew weigh in…