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Vigilante George Zimmerman

A new display went up in Paresky yesterday.

Close ups:

1) I assume that this display has official permission from Williams, otherwise it would have already been taken down, as the big sign was last week. True? If so, how long will it be allowed to stay up for? A week? A month? Forever?

2) I don’t recall seeing other such prominent displays on Paresky. Does anyone? Will other groups be allowed to display in the same manner? I am sure that, say, Williams Catholic would love to put up pro-life posters of similar size.

3) How much are these efforts connected, if at all, to our two named controversies: Green/Love Black Joy and White Male Vigilantes? It could be that there is no connection that these posters, or ones like it, would have gone up even if Green/Love had never resigned and/or McPartland had never moved their memorial. But my sense is otherwise, that these posters are a direct response. Comments welcome!

4) What a pathetic summary of the Trayvon Martin case! If Martin was really “racially profiled and fatally shot by vigilante George Zimmerman,” then why didn’t Barak Obama’s Justice Department, run at the time by Eric Holder, charge Zimmerman? Were Obama and Holder proponents of white supremacy? I have my doubts!

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That Nigga Look Just Like Me

Hung on Paresky yesterday:

Our source notes: “Money for this came from somewhere. Who is funding this stuff?” Good question! The Record should find out.

Another view:

Could someone explain the messaging? I know that the line is from “Nikes” by rapper Frank Ocean. Lyrics:

These bitches want Nikes
They looking for a check
Tell ’em it ain’t likely
Said she need a ring like Carmelo
It must be on that white like Othello
All you want is Nikes
But the real ones just like you, just like me
I don’t play, I don’t make time
But if you need dick I got you
And I yam from the line
Pour up for A$AP, R.I.P. Pimp C
RIP Trayvon, that nigga look just like me

But why that line from these lyrics at Williams in 2019? Is what happened to Professors Green and Love akin to what happened to Trayvon Martin? Does that mean that Maud Mandel is George Zimmerman?

I am honestly curious about the meaning. Any ideas?

Or is this a sign that Professor Neil Roberts is more involved in the protests than I would have expected. Background from 2012:

Neil Roberts, assistant professor of Africana studies and faculty affiliate in political science at Williams College, has guest edited a symposium in the journal Theory & Event, published in September by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

The symposium features eight essays on what Roberts calls the Trayvon Martin event. “An event,” Roberts explains, “differs from a tragedy. A tragedy entails a plot, set of actions, and conclusion, often foreclosed and backward-looking. An event is an occurrence mutually reinforced by past actions and future outlooks, conversations, and prognostications on what we must do to decipher its meaning in its wake. The shooting of 17-year-old Martin is no different.”

One of the essays was:

“Stuff White White People Know (or: What We Talk About When We Talk About Trayvon)” by Mark Reinhardt, Williams College Class of 1956 Professor of American Civilization.

“My core assumption in the paper,” says Reinhardt, “is that white supremacy continues to be a fundamental political fact in the U.S., albeit one whose form has mutated in such a way that most white people deny, and probably do not believe, that it continues.”

Is Maud Mandel one of these white people? Just asking! Or perhaps IQ-realist Nate Kornell is
involved? (Probably not.) Professor Green also has views on Trayvon Martin. And here is a cartoon from Chan Lowe ’75.

ABC reporter Matt Gutman ’00 won an award for coverage of the Martin shooting. Claudine Rankin ’86 wrote Citizen: An American Lyric, a book with some connections to the case which are difficult to summarize.

Are there other Eph connections?

Anyway, later yesterday, College employees “temporarily removed” banner and post these signs:

What advice do you have for the protestors and/or for President Mandel?

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Quixotic PC Gestures

A student writes:

[T]he biggest takeaway from this whole episode is that there is a serious risk of contagion among the faculty ranks. If Green//Love walk away from this incident without any reprimand, the College effectively endorses their thesis that the school is perpetrating anti-black violence and that violating the terms of their contract is an appropriate means of protesting it, so what’s to stop every other professor in WGSS, English, sociology, etc. departments canceling their classes to “stand in solidarity” or whatever? Unless someone at the school (Maud? Dean Buell? Who?) takes a strong stand against this kind of behavior, we can expect much more of it in the near future. There is no winning against these kinds of activists, nothing the school can do to earn their approval, regardless of how many black faculty it hires or how well it supports them. The goalposts will always be shifted, the school will always be seen as racist/violent, so the College might as well make a convincing statement that rules matter, faculty obligations to students matter, and that the school has a commitment to education, not quixotic PC gestures.

“Quixotic PC gestures” is a great name for a rock band. Or for Denise Buell’s life’s work.

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Video of Thursday’s Protest/March

Thanks to Phacelia Cramer ’19 for posting this excellent video of Thursday’s protest/march. This looks much closer to 200 people than to the 50 that other correspondents had estimated. Alas, I can’t figure out how to save a copy or embed it here. Damn you Facebook!

1) One chant: “I love You. I love Me. I love Us. I love We.” I have never heard this at a protest before. Have readers? Is it connected to the increasing therapeutic tenor of our culture?

2) Another chant: “What side are you on, White People, what side are you on?” Hmm.

3) Where was President Mandel? I think the single cleverest decision that former President Schapiro made was, at the height of the Stand with Us movement a decade ago, to join a protest march even though the march was clearly directed against him and the Williams Administration. Could President Mandel use the same trick? Should she?

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Green/Love Black Joy, 4

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 4.

Former professor Eric Knibbs writes:

Prof. Love’s office, Hollander 111, used to be my office. When I resided there, I and my office neighbors found it occasionally convenient to place a small outside one’s office for waiting students to sit on (or to hold a box as a receptacle for essays). We were promptly admonished by security to put the chairs back in our offices immediately, and fire regulations were cited. The “fire hazard” thing isn’t a special application of the rules to this case. It represents the College’s approach to the hallways as I experienced it and is the reason this stuff was cleared out.

A Current Student writes:

The College take Regulations, especially those pertaining to the fire code, Very Seriously. Very, Very Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times I have been yelled at (nicely!) by custodians and security for my negligence. I can also say that this display constitutes a fire hazard. Not even the slightest doubt. It won’t cause a fire, but I would trip over it in a rush, and suddenly there’s a blockage in the hallway, etc. etc. Sure, there probably isn’t going to be a fire, but even I know this is a bad idea to keep it there.

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.)

1) Who is the Williamstown fire marshall? Here? The Record ought to interview him.

2) I guarantee that, if a non-political display has the same dimensions and used the same materials as the original memorial, it would be removed instantaneously. Does anyone disagree?

3) The new display is less obviously illegal, mainly because it is possible to walk around it. But is it consistent with the fire code? Are there any other office hallways at Williams which look like this? Expert opinions welcome.

Do readers have any predictions about where this debate is going?

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Green/Love Black Joy, 3

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 3.

A (different!) Williams professor writes:

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.

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.

[T]hese two professors [Green and Love] 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.

Agree or disagree, a great College — as Williams aspires to be — should be a place at which we can have this conversation, where we can discuss and debate difficult questions, where — not only is it acceptable for someone to make you uncomfortable — but where being uncomfortable is a part of every Eph’s education.

Alas, Williams is not interested in having this conversation (in public). Instead of posting this comment on WSO Discussions — which have been dormant for a decade or more — this professor comes to EphBlog. And we are glad to host them! And our (hundreds? thousands?) of readers are eager to engage with his thoughts, as recent comment threads make clear.

Yet the fact that we, rather than Williams, host this conversation is an indictment of the Williams Administration. They could recreate WSO Discussions, perhaps only allowing Ephs to view/participate, perhaps requiring real names only. Yet the very last thing Williams wants is for a professor to be able to communicate, directly, with the entire community of Ephs, both students and alumni.

Williams insists on controlling the conversation because it does not trust us to talk amongst ourselves.

PS. Could someone clarify whether or not both professors are on medical leave, or just Green?

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Green/Love Black Joy, 2

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 2.

A (different!) faculty member (?) writes:

I have no comment on the free speech aspects of this “healing space”. I do wish to point out, however, that the “healing space” has very clearly become a shrine to the Williams Martyrs. It is a physical manifestation of the religion Anti-Racism, endorsed and supported fully by the administration. The religious and sociological dimensions of this entire affair are fascinating.

In her remarks at the faculty meeting on Wednesday, President Mandel strongly argued that reigning orthodoxies shall fall as Williams moves ever more into Inclusion. The notion of an officially unorthodox orthodoxy is too delicious for words.

Claiming Williams is the High Holy Day of Anti-Racism at Williams. At President Mandel’s induction in September 2018, the student government co-presidents sought to introduce ritual self-abasement of the College into campus culture. I am sure there are many other liturgical expressions.

Emphasis added. I agree that the religious metaphor works well. I prefer “Diversity,” rather than “Anti-Racism,” as the Williams godhead. What other parallels would readers draw? I don’t know nearly enough about religion, or about life on campus, to flesh this out fully.

The best approach would be to pick a specific period from the Williams of the 19th century. Perhaps the American Missionary Movement, begun with the Haystack Prayer Meeting? Or the Third Great Awakening? Highlight the key beliefs of that era and then suggest counterparts to the Williams of today.

A worthwhile project for EphBlog?

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Tense and Emotional

Latest from President Mandel on Green/Love Black Joy is below. There is a lot to process here, but, in the meantime:

1) Could someone send/post a copy of the “flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism?” Mandel reports that these flyers are “circulating on social media.” Future historians will thank you!

2) If you are a student who is being attacked/threatened by the Administration about these flyers (or anything else), EphBlog is here to help. We may disagree with your views, but we will eagerly defend your rights to share them. Academic Freedom for All!

Williams faculty, students, and staff,

Last week I sent an email sharing that some materials from the memorial in the first floor hallway of Hollander Hall had been moved by a faculty member. I explained that we were gathering information, and I now want to share what I’ve learned. I welcome the chance to hear from anyone else who was there and still wants to share their perspective.

As many people know, students and others had placed notes and objects in Hollander to demonstrate support for Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love. In my first message I noted that Senior Staff and I had decided these materials weren’t impeding movement through Hollander and should be left undisturbed for a period of time. To clarify, we were aware the materials would eventually have to be moved due to their placement in the hallway. However, our plan was to allow them to remain until we could discuss long-term options with students.

While we were working to initiate that conversation, staff members responsible for campus and environmental safety, as well as Associate Professor Keith McPartland, the faculty chair of the building use committee responsible for Hollander Hall, exchanged calls about their shared concerns that the materials violated the fire code and posed a potential risk to people in the building. Professor McPartland, having clarified that they did violate both state law and campus policy, relocated the portion of the memorial that was on the floor, where it could have impeded evacuation or passage by people with disabilities. He moved it to a nearby location where students could reclaim it and didn’t disturb materials along the walls or in front of office doors. He also offered to help students reinstall the work in an alternative location that would be visible without creating an obstruction.

Students confronted him in Hollander and objected to any tampering with the memorial. People who were present report that the interaction was tense and emotional.

The following night, an unknown individual or individuals entered Hopkins Hall after hours, when the building was closed, and papered the outer doors of many office suites with flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism. I’ve been told these images are now also circulating on social media. This incendiary, offensive and damaging attack has no place at Williams. Senior Staff and I removed the Hopkins Hall flyers immediately on Friday morning. Flyers and materials that have been placed on and in front of Professor McPartland’s office door in Schapiro will also be removed. Williams is not as inclusive as it must become, but these acts have hurt our efforts.

I’ve had many conversations with people and groups concerned about the issues raised on our campus over the last few weeks: issues of identity, bias and racism in our college climate, and also of respect and basic humanity towards each other. Here are some of the steps that are happening as we move beyond individual meetings to community solutions:

Students who were stewarding the Hollander memorial have removed materials that violated the fire code and ADA. There are serious concerns about racism and other forms of bias on campus. We want students involved in addressing them and will work to find ways to do so, knowing that the process will require us to confront discomforting truths.

Starting the week of March 4, I’ll hold a series of small gatherings in my home where anyone concerned about campus climate and our support for faculty, students, and staff can communicate to me directly. We’ll continue to schedule such gatherings as long as there’s interest. People will be welcome to sign up individually or in groups. We’ll send a Daily Message later this week with instructions on how to do so.

With Senior Staff, faculty leaders, and others, I’m going to make sure all the takeaways from these and other conversations are imported directly into the college’s ongoing work on inclusion and into the strategic planning process.

Meanwhile, I’ve also begun talking with the Faculty Steering Committee, members of the student body, and other staff and faculty about ideas for a way forward. Individuals have been publicly maligned. Relationships have been strained or broken and now need to heal, so that we can all return to the work we have to do together. I include everyone in that mandate: Faculty, staff, students, and administrators all need to address issues within our discrete communities, as well as broader problems among constituencies and across our community as a whole.

This is a long message because the situation is complex and campus deserves as much information as I can provide. But it’s just a starting point. Each of us came to Williams to engage in a truly great learning community. We define that greatness by the reach of our intellectual ambitions and the openness and inclusivity of our culture. Such commitments are simple to express but hard to achieve. The actual work has tested our resolve and our bonds, and we’ll almost certainly be tested again in the future. But I also believe Williams has what it takes to persevere and transcend its challenges to become a better place. In fact, I believe we have to. I’m grateful I’ll be working toward that goal in partnership with all of you.

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Green/Love Black Joy, 1

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 1.

A senior Williams professor writes:

As I may have mentioned earlier, I had moderately high hopes for our new president. But her bludgeoning of Keith McPartland, a great teacher and wonderful colleague, for doing his assigned duty, has certainly give me pause about her judgment and her ‘common sense.’

My own view is that Professor Kimberly Love should have been fired forthwith for dereliction of duty. And Mr.G. was reasonably given a semester’s leave to recover from his obvious mental incapacity. But he should then be encouraged, forced if necessary, to leave the College that he has utterly disgraced. There should be no compromise on either of these decisions. Neither of these professors should be teaching at Williams College and the chairmen who hired them should be promptly fired for lacking all sensible judgment.

Will this happen? I greatly doubt it. Williams now not only rewards mediocrity, but it regularly excuses catastrophic administrative decisions.

I’m absolutely disgusted by this whole affair. I can hardly believe that is happening to an institution, the idea of which I love with all my heart, but which is disintegrating before our eyes.

1) This seems a bit overwrought to me. Whatever else may be said about this disaster, it is less bad than Williams hiring (and re-appointing!) Bernard Moore, a convicted felon!

2) Why does this professor mention “catastrophic administrative decisions?” [Emphasis added.] It strikes me that the biggest mistake was the initial hiring of Green and Love. The Administration deserves some of the blame for that, of course, not least for its continuing insistence that hiring African-American professors is so, So, SO important. But none of this would be happening if the English and WSGS Departments were doing their jobs properly. Green and Love started at Williams in 2017. Who were the members of the search committees that selected them, presumably during the 2016-2017 academic year?

3) I still have high hopes for Mandel. How can this professor be sure that she doesn’t plan on getting rid of Green/Love? The time to do so is July, not February.

4) By the way, assume that Mandel fully intends to remove Green/Love. What are her options for doing so? (Perhaps our legal-readers could chime in!) I assume that Green/Love each have 3-year contracts. True? Or are junior professors essentially employees-at-will whom the College can fire whenever it wants to?

5) I don’t want to pry into anyone’s personal life, but, it is hard to avoid doing so in the context of this story. I assume that Green/Love are friends. Do they live together? Do they live in College housing? Are they romantically involved? I suspect that their living arrangements have implications, either legally and/or practically, for Mandel’s options in handling their case(s) . . .

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Where’s the Violence?

The College Fix has locked on to the Green/Love Black Joy controversy in an article published on February 18, 2019, titled “Black queer professors suddenly cancel their courses at elite college because of ‘microaggressions’

The focus of Greg Piper’s report is that Dr. Kai M. Green and Dr. Kimberly Love have massively inconvenienced their students and colleagues through the last minute cancellation of their Spring 2019 classes over what appear to be trivial concerns. From my perspective, Piper seems to underestimate the degree to which this controversy is a distraction from the underlying mental health issues which caused Kai M. Green ’07 to go on medical leave. (Kimberly Love has apparently also been placed on medical leave to help support Kai M. Green.)

In Piper’s view, the reasons that Green and Love provide for cancelling their classes seem relatively insubstantial. At best, he reports that they framed their complaints as

Colleague: Can I touch your….?

Answer: NO!

Piper is particularly concerned that neither Green or Love provide much detail regarding the “violent practices” they experience while teaching at Williams College:

Their article is light on specific incidents that bothered them; rather, it says Williams and other colleges “have not made structural changes to create environments in which Black, Brown, disabled, poor, queer people, and our work can thrive. Through various isolating tactics, academic institutions can dull our awareness of the grave conditions under which we are expected to perform.”

They cite one off-campus incident: a tow-truck driver who thought they weren’t “from around here” when he towed their stalled car, asked if they were students, and then called them “ball busters” when they complained that he wouldn’t drive them home, as he’d earlier promised.

Their description of this incident continues for several more paragraphs but does not acknowledge their classism toward the blue-collar worker. They finally suggest they told the account in “two very different ways” but both through a “Black Queer feminist lens.”

The professors, again, share no specific incidents of bias at Williams, other than the vague reference to requested touching. They credit the college for its “commitment and work … in the name of creating and sustaining a more equitable Williams.”

All in all, Piper is dubious about the merits of the complaints these Williams College professors have made about their working conditions. He writes: “Love and another professor, who together identify as “Black Queer Feminists,” are leaving their students high and dry due to abstract harms they claim to have suffered as a result of not being free to “point out the anti-Black, transphobic, xenophobic” environment of the extreme leftist college.”

Key comments on the Piper article include the following wry observations:

If you’re an SJW and you can’t find a safe space at Williams then you’re insane. The problem it seems is that the school allowed her to build her own course program and then got angry when no one signed up for it. Then she went to the college and demanded it be made mandatory or demanded reparations or she simply has a better offer somewhere else. Seriously, I have family members who work there.

Black, Queer, Heavy-set Feminist and a woman suffering from disphoria. What a team.

“Professors”: give everything plox
College: lol no ur batshit insane
“Professors”: microaggressions! transphobia! ur literally hitler

 

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Green/Love Black Joy

Controversies need names. And EphBlog is here to help! We hereby decree that the current scandal shall be named “Green/Love Black Joy,” with GLBJ as the appropriate abbreviation. Previous controversy names 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.

Reasons:

1) This controversy centers around the actions of Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love, so using their names makes sense. I also think that “Green Love” is nice phrasing.

2) Our story started with their article for the feminist wire in November. One of the best lines was: “And not even tenure is worth our Black joy.”

3) Other participants also like the phrase “Black Joy.” The photo at the top of the post is from the student tribute/memorial to Green/Love.

4) Blackness is at the very center of this dispute, one way or the other.

5) I capitalized Joy, rather than leave it as “joy,” as in the article, because I think that the subtext here goes back to the College’s appointment of Joy James more than a decade ago. I don’t think — contrary opinions welcome! — that James had anything to do with Green/Love’s hiring, but the institutional imperative which demands, Demands, DEMANDS, that Williams hire more African-American faculty is the driving force behind this story. That force has been around for decades, of course, but it sure seems to have picked up steam in the last 10 years. Or does only EphBlog remember Bernard Moore?

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Healing Space

From the Daily Adviser:

Calling for faculty and students to visit Hollander healing space

Faculty and students are invited to stop by the healing space in the first floor Hollander today to pay respects to Dr. G and Dr. Love, leave a note, and recognize all of the amazing work they have done for students on this campus.

Reality or is this a ludicrous EphBlog parody? Please answer before you click the link . . .

Thanks to a reader for the photo. Good stuff! Please keep sending them.

abl argued that:

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

I am the General Stonewall Jackson of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Eph Division, and I have not made a single disparaging remark about the displays. In fact, I think that they are well done, both politically and aesthetically. I like the aesthetics of the heart-shaped collection of papers in the tribute to professors Green/Love and of the thorn-hedge in front of Professor McPartland’s office. I think that they both work beautifully. I also think that the politics work. Of course, I disagree (I assume!) with the protestors about whether or not students/faculty should be able to invite anyone they want to campus. But that disagreement does not prevent me from appreciating (and praising!) their protest efforts with regard to Green/Love/McPartland.

However, I am no expert on aesthetics! Other readers should chime in! I also don’t understand some (many?) of the references involved. For example, what does the green yarn imply?

UPDATE: On Thursday night, students taped photocopied pictures of Professor McPartland on the doors of Dean Buell and President Mandel. Can someone provide photos of these pictures? Future historians will thank you!

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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!
Read more

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Deeply Distressed

Williams students, faculty and staff,

In recent weeks, members of our community have been leaving notes and materials in front of the Hollander Hall offices of Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love to honor and support them at a difficult time. It has now come to my attention that yesterday afternoon a faculty member removed these materials. I am in the process of gathering information about what happened, as I am deeply distressed by any interference with students freely expressing themselves in a way that is not disruptive. In fact, 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. I regret that we did not communicate this message more broadly.

I want to make clear that I fully support those who were expressing their thoughts and feelings through the content that was removed. People have now replaced that content and added to it. I and senior staff will work with students and others to find a way that it can remain without creating a safety hazard.

I have come to Williams with the goal of fostering a supportive and inclusive community where all members of a diverse learning community will thrive. I ask you to join me in continuing to strengthen these values going forward.

Sincerely,

Maud

Time for another EphBlog investigation? Recall J’accuse!

UPDATE: Kai Green’s office is Hollander 106 and Hollander 111. Do you think that a professor with a nearby office might have gotten sick of looking at a bunch of junk piled in the hallway?

UPDATE 2: Thanks to a commentator for pointing out this Record article about the display (picture added above). If I were a professor who had no choice but to deal with that every day, I would get pretty annoyed . . .

UPDATE 3: From a comment:

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.

McPartland’s office in Schapiro has now been decorated/vandalized in turn.

More details, please.

Entire Record article below the break:
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