Were the student members of the Sawicki Committee rolled? From former Williams professor John Drew:

In a recent Press Record podcast, one of the student members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, Eli Miller ’21, pushed back on campus watchdogs who believe the Sawicki report supports free speech to the extent that it would allow controversial speakers like John Derbyshire to appear on campus. Miller, a math and statistic major, was interviewed by a fellow student, Rebecca Tower ’21.

Rebecca Tauber

Do you have any last thoughts on the committee, their report, going forward?

Eli Miller

I think my one concern is that this committee — which I don’t think I’ve seen very much here, but I’ve seen sort of from like campus watch dogs — is that this is seen as a victory for people who believe that free speech is like an absolute right and that people on college campuses who try to dis-invite people are like liberal snowflakes.

That whole narrative is very popular, and my concern that this report gives those people a win.

I don’t think those people are correct in assuming this report supports them. But I think that definitely people have read it that way. And I guess I wish we had done more to resist that reading because I think it is a lot more nuanced and complicated than that. But I think at end of the day people are going to want to read what they want to read.

See Drew’s post for more commentary.

1) It is not clear if Miller is referring to EphBlog when he uses the phrase “campus watchdogs.” Clarification would be welcome!

2) Miller (and the other students on the committee?) were rolled. Sawicki (and other faculty?) knew what answer they wanted before the first meeting and they got it. When will Miller realize this? Probably when Derbyshire comes back to Williams. And, believe me, he is coming back . . .

3) The Record wrote a solid article when the Report was issued, including comments from Miller. But this topic is important enough that we need more reporting. Go ask the Administration if Derbyshire would be allowed to speak on campus if he were again invited by a student group in accordance with current policies. Not a hard question! And then, once the Administration tells you “Yes,” go interview Miller and other students on the Committee for their reactions.

4) Thanks to Drew for taking the time to transcribe the Miller interview.

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