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No Barbeque for You

Williams College graduate, Eliza Klein ’19, has been called out by Canary Mission who claims she “…has defended terrorists, supported a violent agitator and promoted the #returnthebirthright campaign calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.” In a recent Tweet, Canary Mission criticizes her for a 2017 incident in which they say Klein harassed Jewish students who hosted a kosher barbeque,

On May 3, 2017, Klein wrote in the Williams college student newspaper: “By disrupting the barbeque, by writing this op-ed and by speaking out against the occupation of Palestine, we hope to destabilize the normalcy and legitimacy of supporting Israel.”

Readers of Ephblog may recognize Eliza as the student leader of Students for Justice in Palestine a recognized student organization with the faculty/staff advisor Shanti Singham, a Professor of History and Africana Studies, Emerita.

As a student at Williams, Eliza opposed efforts to bring the Chicago Principles to campus.

She also supported the efforts of the College Council to bar the Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) from becoming a recognized student organization. This decision sparked a strong rebuke from president Maud Mandel and a successful complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Currently, Williams College is being held accountable by the federal government so that it does a better job of protecting WIFI and following Title IV law and regulations.

By all accounts, Eliza was rewarded for her behavior as a student at Williams College. She is the 2019 winner of the Davis Center’s Senior Social Justice Advocate Award.

John C. Drew, Ph.D., is a former Williams College professor. He received the William Anderson Award from the American Political Science Association for the best doctoral dissertation in the nation in his field in 1989. He contributes to American Thinker, Breitbart, Campus Reform, The College Fix, and WorldNetDaily. 

 

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Short Leash

U.S. Department of Education to avoid an investigation into the manner in which the College council rejected a new pro-Israel group, Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI), in April 2019. JNS reports:

“This Agreement contains no findings of fact, does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the College, and does not represent a determination by OCR that the college has violated Title VI or its implementing regulations or otherwise engaged in any discriminatory conduct,” stated the agreement, obtained by JNS.

The Massachusetts school pledged that WIFI will be “afforded the same rights and privileges as registered student groups approved by the College Council,” and that it will treat the student organization “in a nondiscriminatory manner” in that the student government evaluates “WIFI requests for and provide financial assistance and other benefits” as such.

The school must submit documentation to demonstrate that it is complying with the “same rights and privileges” clause by Nov. 1, and subsequently do so in 2020 by Feb. 1, June 1 and Nov. 1.

By June 1, 2020, Williams must submit documentation showing that it is complying with the clause that the student government evaluates WIFI financial assistance and other requests in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Reviewing what we know of the agreement that Maud signed, it appears to me that the school was in no hurry to dispute the complaint that it had violated Title VI law and that it was okay living under a temporary period of intensive federal scrutiny in order to bring this matter to a close. Will this be enough to protect WIFI students? It seems unlikely that additional federal accountability will be enough to protect the pro-Israel students who have been the targets of on campus hostility at least as far back as April 2017.

All in all, it will be an entertaining spectacle. I’m looking forward to seeing how Maud will bring the aggressively anti-WIFI College Council into compliance with the new federal accountability measures. Where’s my lawn chair and my kosher barbeque?

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Bullet Dodged

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – According to a report in the Jewish Journal, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has decided that the school did not violate Title IV when the College Council denied recognized student organization status to WIFI. Nevertheless, the OCR has created a number of stipulations which the college will need to follow moving forward according to Williams College Director of Media Relations Greg Shook.

As far as I can tell, the new stipulations will reduce the power and independence of the College Council. In particular,

“Williams will ensure that College Council, first, affords WIFI the same rights and privileges as any other Council-approved RSO; and, second, evaluates WIFI’s future requests for financial assistance and other benefits fairly, and allocates resources in a nondiscriminatory manner,” Shook said. “OCR provided helpful advice to develop this resolution and plan, and we’re grateful for their partnership.”

The Jewish Journal reports a statement from StandWithUs Legal Department Director Yael Lerman who said, “StandWithUs thanks the Office of Civil Rights for taking the time to investigate the Williams College matter and take allegations of anti-Semitism seriously. We appreciate that OCR is looking into protecting Jewish students facing discrimination. We hope that this will be a deterrent to those looking to spread hatred and misinformation against Jews and pro-Israel students.”

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Both Sides Now

The Berkshire Eagle has published an opinion piece by Joseph Moore ’20, one of the students who led the effort to deny WIFI equal status as a recognized student organization (RSO). He is a comparative literature major from Stroudsburg, PN.

Joseph Moore: It wasn’t WIFI that was denied free speech

The gist of his article is that anti-WIFI activists were unquestionably right in seeking to discriminate against WIFI because it was supporting “literal crimes against humanity.”

Moreover, the real problem now has nothing to do with the fact that the school is in danger of losing its federal funding. For Joseph, the real problem is how the nation-wide, nearly unanimous blow back from center-left news outlets and right-wingers has made anti-WIFI activists reticent to promote further discrimination against WIFI.

What can I say? Mission accomplished!

 

 

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Beyond the Purple Rubble

There is a lot of media attention focused on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of Williams College. Many of the articles are based on the original reporting by The College Fix. Here’s some of the most prominent headlines.

Geller Report: Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

Newsweek: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Jewish News Syndicate: US Department of Education studying Williams College for possible discrimination

The Jerusalem Post: AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE WILLIAMS COLLEGE FOR REJECTION OF PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Breitbart: Williams College Faces Federal Investigation for Discrimination Against Pro-Israel Student Group

The most interesting comments from the Geller Report are shown after the break.

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Sins of the Students

Jenni Fink at Newsweek has published an article on how the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) initiated an investigation into Williams College after a law professor alerted them to how the College Council discriminated against pro-Israel students.

NEWSWEEK: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Fink’s story breaks some new ground. First, it appears that this issue is occurring elsewhere too. In April 2019, pro-Israel students hit New York University with a complaint to OCR claiming that school violated Title VI too.

Second, Fink reports on the motivations behind the report. “In my experience,” said David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, “Jewish professionals on campus aren’t sufficiently assertive in such matters, and students have lots of others things on their plate, so I figured that if I didn’t do something, no one would.” Bernstein seems to get the on-campus climate. His observation is consistent with the school’s tepid initial response, seemingly endorsed by Rabbi Wax, that WIFI would enjoy separate and almost equal rights. Bernstein calls the situation “…a pretty open-and-shut case of discrimination.”

Third, Fink’s article describes the procedures involved.  “If OCR finds the organization failed to comply with the law, the first step is to negotiate a voluntary resolution agreement, which outlines specific remedial actions,” she writes. “In the event an organization rejects a resolution agreement, federal financial assistance can be withheld or the case can be referred to the Department of Justice.”

Fourth, Bernstein seems pretty insistent that Williams College acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

Bernstein credited Williams College with taking steps to mitigate the situation, but said it wasn’t solely an issue of poor procedures. He said it went past a “misgovernance problem” and was a problem of anti-Semitism, which required the college’s acknowledgment to alleviate.

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Two Track Attack

Roz Rothstein, the CEO and Co-Founder, StandWithUs sent Maud Mandel a letter dated May 30, 2019 complaining about the school’s two track system for approving student organizations. In Rothstein’s view, the school needs to end the role of the College Council in making these decisions. Without this change of policy the school will be unable to avoid the sort of discrimination which has provoked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights into Williams’ conduct. Rothstein writes:

We therefore recommend that you take this opportunity to clarify the College’s policy in granting RSO recognition and formally adopt the policy on the Student Life website as the College’s official formal policy. In doing so, you will reduce the likelihood of similar bigotry and discrimination from reoccurring on your campus. Additionally, you will send a clear message to your student leaders that abuse of their power will not be tolerated and will be met with consequences.

So far, it appears that the administration has rejected Rothstein’s recommendation. This at least is what The College Fix is reporting regarding its conversation with Rothstein. The full letter is below the break.
Williams College refuses to change process that led to rejection of pro-Israel group

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Federal Case

According to a report by The College Fix, the U.S. Department of Education is now investigating Williams College over charges it violated anti-discrimination law when the College Council refused to approve WIFI, a pro-Israel student group. The complaint against the college was filed by David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, on May 2, 2019.

Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

The full text of Bernstein’s complaint appears after the break. As The College Fix reports:

The College Council voted to deny WIFI recognition as an official student organization during a secretive and controversial meeting April 23.

It was not livestreamed as usual, and speakers were not identified by name in the meeting minutes. An April 9 meeting that was livestreamed had drawn national attention because black student activists went on a profanity-laced rant against white students.

According to The Williams Record, WIFI was the first applicant in more than a decade to be rejected despite meeting all required bylaws.

According to a letter that Bernstein received from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in Boston, he retains “a right to file a private suit in federal court whether or not OCR finds a violation.”

David E. Bernstein, 52, is a law professor at the George Mason University School of Law where he has taught since 1995. He focuses on constitutional history and the admissibility of expert testimony. He is a contributor to the influential conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He took a B.A. degree summa cum laude with honors in History from Brandeis University.

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The Eagle Has Landed

The Berkshire Eagle has published a story on the WIFI free speech conflict. It interviewed some student leaders and broke new ground.

Council members Solly Kasab and Lance Ledet took issue with the discussion and voting process.

“The way the April 23rd meeting was run was ridiculous,” said Kasab, vice president of communications for the council, as well as treasurer of WIFI.

Kasab and Ledet said the way one co-president called on speakers, favoring one side of the discussion, was unfair. And both found it troubling that only three council members spoke during the meeting and that votes were secret.

Ledet termed the decision “absolutely politically motivated” and voted for WIFI to become a club. Ledet sees larger issues as well.

“Regardless of individual beliefs over whether or not WIFI should have become a club, I think everyone can agree that the debate highlighted how unrepresentative College Council is of the broader student body.”

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K.C. Johnson on WIFI

K.C. Johnson, a former Williams professor, has written a detailed description of the WIFI saga for The Tablet.

Separate and Unequal for Jewish Groups on Campus

He pulls the whole matter together including the chronology. He hits many of the salient points that caught my attention including a truly bizarre Williams Record article, signed by 11 anti-WIFI activists, saying “The state of Israel does not need a student group defending its ‘right to exist’ on this campus any more than we need to ‘defend’ the rights of wealthy, straight white men.” What?!

K.C. moves the narrative forward when he dissects some of the key arguments made before the College Council. He writes,

Though constricting the spectrum of acceptable positions on Israel would seem to undermine principles of free speech, a WIFI critic explained otherwise. “It’s really important,” he reasoned, “for us all to take a moment to just think about what ‘free speech’ and ‘democracy’ actually means.” Two sides should present “clashing free ideas,” after which the council should “vote in what we think are the best ideas and for us to vote out what we think are ideas we think are worthy of being discarded.” Defining free speech as tyranny of the majority is a mainstream view on too many contemporary campuses.

K.C. Johnson expresses gratitude for the way Maud eventually went all out to protect and fully fund WIFI. Nevertheless, he sees this as a national-level conflict which will continue to worry us.

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Toxic Self-Absorption

Shane Beard ’21 posted a short video on YouTube where he interviews one of the CARE Now leaders who unleashed a widely publicized, verbally abusive rant against white male students. Later, Shane uploaded the full hour and a half conversation too.

The interviewee comes across as hopelessly self-absorbed. He seems eerily unaffected the destruction he has caused including the humiliation he inflicted on his victims, the shame he brought to the college, and the grave damage he did to his CARE Now brand.  As he says at 28:58 in the full version, “I don’t even think for a moment that I did anything wrong.”

Ultimately, the most disturbing thing about his vulgar, hateful tirade is no one at the College Council meeting called him out, told him to stop, or ejected him from the room. The viral video of this event is useful to the nation. It illustrates the extent to which the anti-white ideology taught and tolerated at Williams College has created a toxic culture that is unhealthy for white male students.

As I have said elsewhere, no one should be forced or shamed into listening to verbal abuse. No one.

 

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Maud Reverses CC’s WIFI Decision

WILLIAMSTOWN – Maud Mandel has formally recognized Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) according to an addendum to an existing article at Forbes.com. Moving forward, WIFI will hold the status of a recognized student organization (RSO). Forbes reports staff identified an alternative pathway for recognizing WIFI which involved a team of administrators and a single representative from the Williams College Council.

This action took place after Maud’s initial, tepid response which said WIFI would receive almost the same advantages as RSOs on campus. It was foreshadowed by a stronger, revised presidential statement which asserted WIFI would be receiving all benefits given to RSOs and that it would be treated equally. The statement from the Williams College Director of Media Relations appears after the break.

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Junior Fascist League

At the Boston Herald, Jeff Robbins has added his voice to the recent condemnation of the College Council. He breaks some new ground by pointing out the arguments some students made against approving WIFI met standard, internationally recognized definitions of anti-Semitism.

Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. State Department had promulgated definitions of anti-Semitism that included “the delegitimization of Israel,” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” The Obama administration joined 30 other nations in issuing the Stockholm Declaration, which included within the definition of anti-Semitism, “claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Robbins isn’t shy about unleashing his judgement on the College Council. “In blocking pro-Israel students from having their own voice on campus, the Williams College Council has conducted itself more like the Junior Fascist League than the progressives they ardently believe themselves to be.”

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WINK Requests RSO Status

I just noticed this terrific tweet from the observant ex-Williams professor KC Johnson. Two new student organizations are being promoted through on-campus advertising – Williams Initiative for North Korea (WINK) and the Williams Initiative for Saudi Arabia (WIFSA). My prediction? Heads will roll.

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Maud Rescues WIFI

According to The College Fix, President Maud Mandel has toughened up her statement regarding the status of Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI). Now, she refers to the benefits available to WIFI as “all” instead of “most.”

This was not the only difference.

Original

Even without CC approval, WIFI or any other non-CC organization can still access most services available to student groups, including use of college spaces for meetings and events.

Revised

Even without CC approval, WIFI or any other non-CC organization can still access all services available to student groups, including use of college spaces for meetings and events, and we are guaranteeing them exactly equal resources.

As I see it, Maud has nullified the College Council’s decision by asserting she will be guaranteeing WIFI “exactly equal resources.” It appears this new language is designed to shield Williams College from a Title VI discrimination charge which might cause it to lose federal funding.

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Fear the Canary 2 of 2

The College Council meeting of April 23 went dark because guests feared their comments against the recognition of a pro-Israel club, Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI), might land them on a list maintained by Canary Mission.

I reviewed their site and it seems like a fair and unobjectionable effort to me. For the most part, the errant students it calls attention to are generally posting anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler comments on their Twitter feeds. All Canary Mission does is capture a screenshot of these comments and then publicize them at their site.

The most famous Williams College graduate to earn a biography at Canary Mission, Sumaya Asad ’16, landed there largely because of an article she co-authored which indicated it was best to think of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as an example of apartheid.

This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would keep anyone out of a job or a graduate school. It might actually get you advanced in some social circles. You can see Sumaya Asad’s profile here.

All in all, it doesn’t take much to land a student on Canary Mission. The site’s code of ethics sets low and broad standards for ending up on their list including  “promoting or enabling BDS in any of its forms.” Williams College students who are fearful of Canary Mission are probably overreacting.

They don’t have anything to fear as long as they are not tweeting out stuff like “Europe would have been a lot better if Hitler won” or  “Jews are the root of all evil.”

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Fear the Canary 1 of 2

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Williams College Council has made efforts to hid its meetings from public view after a bigoted anti-white rant received coverage from on-line sites including The College Fix, Instapundit, and Legal Insurrection.

One of the reasons for the total blackout of the April 23 meeting is some of the students feared their comments would appear at Canary Mission. This is a website that “…documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.” The students feared being identified as one of these haters by Canary Mission might impact their careers or their ability to travel to Israel in the future.

The College Council went even further to shield students from the consequences of their behavior according to Nicholas Goldrosen who reported as follows in the Williams Record:

The minutes for the April 23 meeting ended up being completely anonymized for the discussion of the WIFI club proposal. Guests were referenced by number – for example, “Guest One” – and CC members’ comments were also anonymous. The final vote was taken by secret ballot.

A week later, the parliamentarian reassured the College Council that he had not memorialized in the minutes two anti-Semitic comments he witnessed at the April 23 meeting. His comments appear in the livestream of the April 30, 2019 College Council meeting at about 6:05.

NOTE: Instapundit locked on to this story on May 7, 2019. They posted a copy of the 4_30_19-Minutes which include a transcript of the parliamentarian’s comments.

ALSO: Canary Mission has noticed what’s going on at Williams College. One of their tweets states

@WilliamsCollege student council rejects pro-Israel club,1st time in years the Council voted vs. a club that met criteria of its bylaws: “WIFI’s application for registration was rejected not because of mere political views,but because of anti-Semitism”

 

 

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Coyne to the Rescue

Some of the best commentary about Williams College is now coming from a distinguished scholar, Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. In  Williams College Melts Down in a Big Way, he takes on three top issues:

  1. Push back from a black female campus safety and security officer, Nancy MacCauley. As far as I can tell, Ms. MacCauley is schooling the CARE Now haters, saying they are way off base regarding their complaints about CSS.
  2. Two leftist professors have an open argument about racism. As Coyne writes, this controversy is actually funny because of the way the combatants exaggerate the severity the kerfuffle. OMG! Two students described it as “egregious faculty-on-faculty aggression.”
  3. Denial of RSO status for WIFI. Here, Coyne, a secular Jew, complains about the tepid defense for WIFI offered by both Maud Mandel and the school’s Jewish Chaplin, Rabbi Seth Wax.

Coyne is trying to be helpful. If the school fails to heed his warnings it will most likely do an armstand dive into a deep pool of the nonsense that is drowning Evergreen State College. Williams College need to listen to him and take a step back from the edge.

 

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Sign to Protect Free Speech

Just noticed a petition circulating on Twitter. It reads as follows:

Sign to Protect Free Speech! The College Council (CC) at Williams College refused to approve a Jewish student group, all in an attempt to censor free speech. We call on the college to overrule the CC’s biased decision. Sign the Petition Here

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Total Meltdown

Nicholas Goldrosen, managing editor for the Williams Recordreports to his readers some of the reactions to the bigoted anti-white tirade unleashed by a leading CARE Now activist during the College Council meeting of April 9, 2019.

“One YouTube video by a white nationalist commentator featuring the livestream gained over 100,000 views as of yesterday,” wrote Goldrosen.

He is referring to above video created by James Allsup, 24. This video has received 4,698 comments and 133,114 views as of May 7, 2019. Allsup describes himself as a “paleoconservative” and a “right-wing libertarian.”

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Title VI Complaint Form

This is the proper form used to file Title VI complaints.

Notice of Complainant and Interviewee Rights and Privileges

It looks like the crucial issue is whether or not you’ve been treated differently from other people.

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Title VI Violation?

A source passed on this complaint (doc):

I am writing to file a complaint against Williams College for discrimination against Jewish students in violation of Title VI and related Department of Education regulations.

My allegations, supported by an account in the Williams College student newspaper, available here, https://williamsrecord.com/2019/05/cc-rejects-williams-initiative-for-israel/ are as follows:

Williams College is an institution of higher education that receives federal funds, and is subject to Title VI.

Williams College has a student government known as the College Council (hereinafter, CC).

As an official arm of the college, actions by the CC are covered by Title VI.

And so on.

1) Any lawyers prepared to opine?

2) Am I correct that Ken Marcus ’88, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, is the official to which this complaint will ultimately flow? If so, is that connection good or bad for Williams?

It might be good in that Ken is well-disposed toward Williams and won’t want to see us embarrassed. If you agree with CC’s decision, it might be bad because Ken is someone who is highly unlikely to be sympathetic to CC.

This complaint might be very good if you are Maud Mandel. You now have the perfect excuse! Just say, “On advice of counsel, and with respect to the Title VI complaint, Williams has decided to remove student organization recognition authority from College Council. All student groups will, henceforth, be recognized, or not, by Williams itself.” Problem solved!

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Outside the Purple Rubble

1. WIFI Discrimination Scandal. The news about the Williams College Council’s decision to deny WIFI’s request for RSO status continues to ignite protests. Ironically, Maud Mandel has become both a hero and a villain in this matter.

Jewish Journal: StandWithUs Calls on Williams College to Formally Recognize Pro-Israel Group

Letter: Academic Engagement Network’s Complains to Maud Mandel

Breitbart: Williams College President Blasts Student Government for Rejecting Pro-Israel Group

The Berkshire Eagle: Mark G. Yudof, Michael Atkins and Miriam F. Elman: Williams must accept pro-Israel student group

The College Fix: Williams College tolerates ‘de facto discrimination’ against pro-Israel student group

Fire: Williams College Council denies recognition to pro-Israel student group

Forward: Williams College Council Votes Against Recognizing Pro-Israel Student Club

Letter: Zionist Organization of America

Campus Reform: Mass. college council rejects pro-Israel student group

The Times of Israel: College president ‘disappointed’ after student council rejects pro-Israel group

Inside Higher Ed: Pro-Israel Student Group ‘Silenced’ at Williams

Hotair: Student Government At Williams College Refused To Recognize A Pro-Israel Group

2. Affinity Housing. Andrew Sullivan chimes in on the April 9 rant and the new segregation movement at Williams. Look for the second segment of this article. Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Chicago, is also maintaining a focus on the antics of Williams.

Andrew Sullivan: The Deeper Risk of Radical Multiculturalism

Jerry Coyne: Black students at Williams College favor self-segregated housing

3. Free Speech. Professor Luana Maroja’s concerns about her ability to teach biology on a woke campus inspire additional comments, again from the prolific Jerry Coyne.

Jerry Coyne: A Williams College professor describes her school’s fight against free speech

4. Fighting Professors.  Katie Kent and Dorothy Wang got into a public dispute about racism. One students was so traumatized that they think about the altercation in the middle of the night.

College Fix: Two professors got in an argument in a hallway. Student activists want the white one fired for ‘violence.’

Jerry Coyne: Williams College melts down in a big way

5. CSS Fights for Redemption. Nancy MacCauley, a black campus safety and security (CSS) officer, pushes back against the CARE Now leaders who are offended when CSS does its job.

Jerry Coyne: Williams College melts down in a big way

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Where’s My Safety?

There is so much going on at Williams that I am losing the ability to follow it all. Apologies to all our readers!

1) The above screen shot is from this flyer (pdf) that went up in Paresky last week. Does anyone have a higher quality version?

2) The College Council minutes (doc) are also filled with interesting material. Pick out your favorite parts and leave them in the comments. Example:

There are a lot of real concerns about equity here given the fact that there are sites like Canary Mission that was not at all mentioned in Lance’s first minute notes. That website was mentioned a variety of times specifically because its a giant website that a current student at Williams is on. Someone reported her due to her Jewish Voices for Peace activism. She is now on there. She can no longer enter the country of Israel because of that. When she is looked up by employers there is a website that says she is anti-semetic even though she is Jewish. It is a tricky situation here when one side of the debate is being attacked and surveilled and being nationally seen in this way.

Indeed, it is much more dangerous, at least from a career-perspective, to voice anti-Isreali positions than anti-Palestinian positions. Why would that be?

3) The WIFI controversy reminded me of this Claiming Williams session:

Unpacking Jewish Identity

This workshop for faculty and staff will provide participants with an opportunity to begin examining their Jewish identity and their Jewish privilege in a supportive environment that focuses on their own experiences. It will be one small step toward increasing effective dialogue about race, practicing allyship, and interrupting racism. Workshop facilitators will guide participants through a process of reflection that includes writing and small-group discussion with the goal of understanding racism in structural terms, and formulating some practical steps for more insightful living.

Does “Jewish privilege” strike readers as nonsense? Williams regularly features discussions of “white privilege.” Indeed, any successful group is, in this day and age, almost certainly benefiting from some sort of privilege.

4) The bad press caused by College Council refusing recognition to WIFI continues:

Scarborough has 2.5 million followers. Has a negative tweet about Williams ever been so broadly broadcast?

By the way, I made up one of the 4 points above. Can you guess which one without looking? And how many years before it turns into a reality?

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College Council Bad

In other news today, Maud Mandel defended the students who sought to establish a new pro-Israel student organization Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI).

The Williams College Council turned down their application by a vote of 13-8-1 on April 23, 2019. The result was dismaying to pro-Israel factions on campus, in part, because it is nearly the only club to be denied status as a recognized student organization over the last decade. During that meeting, the founders of WIFI were also hammered with at least two anti-Semitic comments. These comments were observed by the parliamentarian, but not entered into the meeting minutes.

In a message today, Maud defended the club and appears to agree that the founders of the club were improperly treated by the College Council. She pulls no punches:

The transcript of the debate and vote indicate that the decision was made on political grounds.

In doing so, Council departed from its own process for reviewing student groups, which at no point identifies a proposed group’s politics as a criterion for review. The decision also seems to be in tension with CC bylaws, especially Article V, Section 3: “Prohibition Against Discrimination in Student Organizations.”

In her statement, Maud appeared to follow the lead of the WIFI students who condemned the outcome of the meeting and asserted in a Williams Record op-ed that their club “was denied official status on purely political grounds, as CC members and guests fought to silence us and effectively turned the meeting into a referendum on Israeli-Palestinian politics.” This unprecedented, politically motivated decision has attracted condemnation off campus too.

The Algemeiner – Williams College Student Leaders Deny Recognition to ‘Pro-Israel’ Group, Prompting Calls for Inquiry

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, head of the campus antisemitism monitor AMCHA Initiative, called the incident “a case of blatant discrimination and shameless intolerance.”

Yael Lerman, legal director at the Israel education and advocacy organization StandWithUs, likewise called on the university to investigate the CC’s vote.

Commentary – At Williams College, Zionists Need Not Apply: The Hall of Shame

Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College, “When much of the faculty at Williams signed a petition to adopt the University of Chicago’s powerful statement on free expression, which has been a model for more than fifty schools, some student protesters claimed the faculty was trying to kill them. In response to the controversy, President Maud Mandel put together a committee to “develop policies and an overarching philosophy about campus speakers and free expression.” It is perhaps too much to hope that this committee, whose report is expected this month, will attend to discrimination against pro-Israel speech at Williams.”

Jewish Journal – Williams College Pro-Israel Group Denied Recognition

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Global Action Agenda, said in a statement to the Journal that the council’s decision was “anti-Semitism on full display at Williams College. Apparently [there’s] no room for lovers of Zion and Israel among the bigots who control the vote. Where are the adults in the room?”

The College Fix – Williams College president blasts student government for refusing to recognize pro-Israel group

Academic Engagement Network, which opposes the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, wrote a letter to President Mandel to urge her “to take immediate action to reverse the decision of the CC and to give WIFI the RSO recognition that it deserves.”

A former Williams professor, KC Johnson, tweeted this decision is an embarrassment for the institution.

Pamela Geller tweeted: “Out and out Jew hatred. Plain and simple. Terror-tied groups like SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) run amok on campuses. There is a plague afoot.”

Joe Scarborough tweeted: “Given the growing antisemitic attacks in the US, and the historical hostility of many elite colleges toward the Jewish state created following the Holocaust, this is deeply disturbing. Mika and I love @WilliamsCollege⁩. We hope this is investigated.”

Full text of Maud Mandel’s statement after the break.

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Anti-Zionist Litmus Test

What a news day for Williams… Over at Commentary, a new post examines the highly unusual nature of the College Council’s decision to deny an application to establish a pro-Zionist student organization called Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI).

This largely unprecedented decision was carried out at the April 23 meeting which was blacked out and not broadcast on livestream. Even worse, the College Council made the minutes anonymous. The full article may be accessed through Facebook.

Jonathan Marks, a contributor to Commentary’s blog, is professor of politics at Ursinus College.

 

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 5 of 5

Near the end of the rant, the black CARE Now students provide us with one of the greatest ironies in this appalling video; They reveal they think greater visibility of this conflict will work in their favor.

Amazingly, they threaten to create a video about their unhappy encounter with the white male students on the College Council. As far as I can tell, even their cowed victims seem to agree with their take.

I think this erroneous assumption helps explain why the College Council didn’t think it mattered if it posted this video on their Facebook page. They must have sincerely thought it made the white male liberal students look bad. The College Council only removed the video from Facebook after it generated negative attention and thousands of disapproving comments on various on-line sites. So far, the video has been featured at Anonymous Political Scientist, Big League Politics, Campus WatchEphblog, Free RepublicInstapundit, Legal InsurrectionThe College Fix, and Tea Party.

Start – 59:53

IB: Oh, you want to make it all illusion. Why do you have to tell them what it’s like? What?! (PAUSE) This is what it’s like. We’ll make sure to tell them that this is how it was.

SO: Definitely!

IB: We’ll make sure.

SO: I’m going be text messaging…one or two.

IB: We’ll make some videos out of that shit. Because its wow.

SO: Best f***ing movie.

IB: I just can’t…believe it.

Finally, this tag team of anti-white bigots rounds off their evening with the most embarrassing moments of all – the not so subtle humiliation of the black/minority students in the room. The aim, as far as I can tell, is to shame the minority students for not being as aggressive, antagonistic and woke as them. The controlling nature of this final exchange is cringe-worthy. Even IB seems to realize that he has gone way too far.

IB: You have anything to say Cleveland?  Or, or Shane? Cause you know ni***ers never get to say anything?

SB: I’ve said everything I felt I needed to say (Unintelligible) sometimes…the nature of council is just kind of (Unintelligible) questionable.

IB: Shane, why aren’t you president? Why didn’t you run president again? Why didn’t you run for that other shit?

Shane: I wasn’t… (Unintelligible)

IB: Cleveland, you got something to say? (PAUSE) No. No. Okay, because of you… anyone?… you’all got something to say? Does the minority coalition in the minority cove? Because that’s what you’all look like over here. (LONG PAUSE) That’s all right. We want to make sure we open this space. We never get to be heard. (PAUSE) I’m done. You done?

SO: I am.

IB: Okay. I hope you have a great day. Goodnight. (SLAMS DOOR)

The self-righteous CARE Now activists were so proud of their outburst that they planned to prolong their indignation by staging demonstration. According to a report in the Williams Record, they called off the demonstration after this video was shared on other platforms. “A larger protest had been planned,” the Williams Record says, “but cancelled because of student fears about safety after last week’s meeting livestream was distributed by several online sites.”

I think it is more likely the protest was called off because the student’s parents learned about their children’s behavior and told them to “knock the f***ing s*** off you dumb a** f***ing d***heads.”

Epilogue

Maud Mandel issued a letter to the community on April 22, 2019 in which she wrote:

I’m hearing from people throughout our community, representing a wide range of backgrounds and viewpoints, who are upset by some breakdowns in campus relations. Their perspectives are diverse: some are concerned about racism, others about a culture of open antagonism, and many about both of these and other issues, as well. The one thing many people seem to share is the sense that we have a problem at Williams.

A week later, the College Council met again – minus many of the white male students. It was so bad the College Council had a hard time establishing a quorum.

At this meeting, Bilal Ansari, the school’s first Muslim Chaplain and now the acting director of the Davis Center, addressed the student representatives. Reading between the lines, it was clear to me he knows Williams College would have been better off if these two black students had worked through existing black- or minority-run campus groups instead of striking off on their own.

To his credit, he indicated – to the white males who were not there – that he was there for them too. Bilal Ansari added, as far as I can tell, they had every right to push back whenever they are targeted with racially charged verbal abuse.

The article in The College Fix first linked to the original video on the Facebook page on April 19, 2129. As of today, an unedited YouTube video featuring the meeting has gathered over 12,200 views.

 

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 4 of 5

By this point in the video, I assume more of the white male representatives are tearing up. Normally, these tears should humanize them in the eyes of their abusers. In this case, however, they only enrage SO and IB. I believe it is fairly common for abusers to think they have the right, the authority, and even the righteous responsibility to tell others how they should react. That’s exactly what we see in this next portion of the video. FYI: You can also see how SO and IB interacted with each other for dramatic effect.

Start – 56:17

IB: What’s wrong with you?

SO: And do not look at…don’t look at us with tears.

IB: I don’t want your tears.

SO: I don’t want that. I want anger. You should all be f***ing angry. I…I sat there and I had to f***ing listen to every single person. While I was siting there like my voice is not f***ing…I could not f***ing speak! I WANTED SO BAD TO TELL HIM TO F*** YOURSELF. F*** YOURSELF. F***. ALL OF YA SHOULD ALL F*** YOURSELF.

IB: You had to be real nice.

SO: But I had to be real nice to get some f***ing money. So all you had to say was f***ing motion, I approve. What the f***. You should be f***ing angry.

IB: You just told me ‘You got the money so you should be quiet.’ That’s f***ing crazy, son. (HITS DESK) I can’t believe this man said that to me in my face. You got your money so you should be quiet. What the f***?! That’s what they say. Right. You got your financial aid, shut the f*** up. Right?! You got your little house. Right. You got your little food. Right. Shut the f*** up. You don’t need nothing else. You got your job at the best institution in the f***ing school So you shouldn’t ask for nothing else. Right? We made it number one. You couldn’t be number one without me. Period. So what’s the word?! Every time we ask for something, you’all grant it, your rating stays up. So what the hell is the part of the equation. I don’t get it, son. You only go to the number one liberal arts school because I’m here, n***er. Period

If we weren’t here could you possibly be? Or would you be some white exclusionary school who can’t do diversity. What?! So when we…try. What do you think we do when we do black previews? We retain pre-frosh. Fool! What’s wrong with you people?! I just don’t get it. You just said ‘You got your money. Stop talking. Why did you come back?’ Because you thought we had no honor. You said you got to come. You sucked it up. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND) What are we here for? To vomit it back out. We tired, son. I’m sorry. We couldn’t do it this time. You love it when we swallow. We couldn’t do it. Can’t believe that we just got told that to our face. That’s the level of respect that you have for me. Just in case you was confused with what you said to me.

When I heard IB make that spaghetti sucking sound on the video it reminded me of that moment in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal Lecter tells Agent Starling that he once got a questionnaire from a census taker and reacted by killing him, cooking up his liver, and eating it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND)

It is clear that IB believes he is contributing to the U.S. News & World Report ratings of the school. I am guessing these thoughts are not original to him. They are most likely repeated among those who believe that their primary contribution to the school is that they provide evidence of diversity. In truth, these high ratings are more accurately seen as a consequence of the Williams College endowment. This endowment, and the school’s rural location, allow it to provide a high quality education at a lower than market price. The U.S. News & World Report rating gives Williams College an advantage, in part, because it is a comparative bargain.

IB: When you said you got your money and so you should be quiet. I don’t even remember what you said. Because you know you all look like you. That’s that’s that’s what happened. Because when I get angry and enraged and stuff like that I don’t have the time to give you the dignity…no, in fact, I have the time to give you the dignity you gave to me. Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what it looks like. It’s crazy, son.

He just said, ‘Yo. Yo. I got somewhere to go. Can you please stop?’ What?! I had somewhere to go two hours ago. I missed work…to plan this shit. I missed…I missed everything…to plan it. What could I possibly be doing that I have to go and do all these other things? What could possibly be taking up my time? Why I can’t do my homework? He came for my job. He said, ‘Why aren’t you at work right now?’ What? It almost drives me crazy. Why am I not at work? Why am I not sleeping at night? Why do I have? What?

So I can take out time during my middle of my day to not do homework next Wednesday, so we can create space for black frosh’s. You ain’t creating it. You were going to create it? You were going to create minority previews? You was going to do it? Or the black woman who always got to do the God damn thing going to come in this space and create it. You was going to create minority previews, right? Right. God damn.

I think that the conventional wisdom is that the abusive behavior illustrated in this controversial video is a result of the mistreatment the  black activist speakers have suffered earlier in their lives at the hands of the white majority. I’m not so sure. I know enough about verbal and physical abusers to recall that rage and controlling behavior can also be a side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. Inappropriate behavior is also more likely if you have gone without food or sleep…two issues mentioned by the verbally abusive students. If I was sitting in Maud Mandel‘s office, I would send both students to anger management classes. If either of them seeks counseling, I’m confident the therapist will ask what, if anything else, caused them to become “…angry and enraged and stuff like that.”

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 3 of 5

Sadly, the extraordinary scholarly excellence which initially attracted me to teach at Williams has been replaced by an intolerable level of bullying and indoctrination. As a student at Middlebury College, Dominic Aiello ’22, observed we are in a new era “…when students are encouraged to experience campus life as one long sequence of ideologically-inflicted psychic traumas.”

In this next section of the video, we get to see raw bigotry in action. According to Merriam-Webster, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” The transcript is particularly alarming because IB is demanding more space and more resources and more autonomy to live out his abhorrent ideology. Here, he addresses the issue of segregation. First by noticing it inside the room. Later by asking for more of it outside the room.

Start – 53:10

IB: I’m just so confused. Because I did the same comment. I did the same and I don’t care or understand how the logic. I just don’t get it. The critical thing of the room is on the ground. I just don’t get it. Could you dare? How? Are we witnessing this? Am I here today? Because I can’t believe this. The room is literally segregated.  Do you notice that?! Did you notice that? Because I noticed that from being here three seconds.

SO: Me too.

IB: What the hell! I just don’t understand it. Like how could you be so blind? I don’t know. Silence. Everyone goes back to talk to their fathers and their f***ing friends and all these God damn s*** and nothing gets to resolve. We just lose our breath. Right?

SO: Right? This is not a f***ing show.

IB:  I’m not f***ing performing for you. This is not a monologue we created. We didn’t practice the lines before we came here. This is the lines of life. We do this s*** every day. I was talking to my father. I was living my life. I had essays and labs. Leave things behind. But here I am. You didn’t have to do that today. You get to catch up on your homework. Don’t tell me you’all have hard work. Don’t tell me you tired. I’m sick and tired of white people telling me they’ve got f***ing s*** to do. Because this wasn’t in their schedule today and damn, it wasn’t in mine.

SO: Not in my schedule.

IB: But, yet. Here I am wasting time, energy and life. And what do I got to do? You know what I have to do after this? You know what we have to do after this? We gotta find a space and time and community to heal and resist. It looks something like…black previews. And then when we ask for point four of a budget, we get asked to f***ing include you. What the f***?! After we done dealt with this s***.

And we say I just want a little bit of a break. I just want a little bit of an affinity house. I just want a little bit of a not having to speak to Charles Derbyshire time. I just want to have to deal with all these things. And then to come back and get asked: ‘Can it, can it be everyone else?’ What the f***? Everyone else isn’t here right now. It’s just us. We had to leave the meeting just to be here…with you. With ya’all. It’s your job. It is your job right there. And your job right there. And your job right there to be doing the work. We tired!

At this point, it looks like more black students have arrived to support the CARE Now activists. As far as I can tell, SO addressed the room on her own earlier. She then contacted IB and requested that he come and defend her. She or IB may have also sent messages to other black students to join them at the College Council meeting. Ironically, this example of piling on illustrates one of the dangers John Derbyshire discussed in “The Talk: Nonblack Version” where he suggests things about blacks that white parents should warn their children about. Derbyshire cautions it is best to leave an area if a large number of blacks suddenly dominate a public space. IB recognizes the arrival of other black students and explains this show of force is a hallmark of black community.

IB: Another one. You see when you call community they come. That’s what community looks like. Not some minority black guy. What are you talking about? Community looks like…if I call YOU SHOW UP because we’re getting eviscerated, embarrassed in this space. We having to suck d*** and then tell you we don’t like the way it tastes.

That’s what’s happening today. Sure we got the money. But we sick and tired of having to beg, steal, barter, go into every f***ing office, suck some more d*** just to ask for some shit. That’s crazy! Just so that we can get more community. We didn’t ask to interrupt this space. But you have some way of intruding in ours. We didn’t ask for none of that and yet here…we…are. What’s wrong with you?

For me, the comments above represent an earthier, perhaps more accurate, expression of one of the core demands of CARE Now, the demand for affinity housing. As you may remember, the editorial board of the Williams Record was criticized by both The College Fix and Breitbart when it endorsed a CARE Now proposal which would essentially establish segregated housing on campus. This proposal was part of a larger a list of demands “calling upon the College’s trustees to fulfill their ‘obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff’,” according to The Williams Record.

As Maud Mandel noted in her recent letter, many schools are dealing with the conflict between affinity housing and integration. Given the video above, I cannot imagine a worse decision than to give more power and resources to verbally abusive students. It seems particularly dangerous to empower them while also leaving them more isolated, insular, and unaccountable to others.

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 2 of 5

All in all, I’m most impressed with the bearing and peacemaking of TW. After reviewing the video, he looks like both the strongest and most gracious person in the room. When too many of his fellow students absorbed the CARE Now speakers’ verbal abuse without comment, TW stood up to these bigots. Maud Mandel should give him some sort of award.

Start – 51:18

TW: When you were sitting here and you were in discussion, I observed the regular order and I gave you a certain parliamentary respect that we do, and I would just ask in your conversation with me that you preserve that same respect.  Now, the first thing…the first thing, when you referred to what I was writing. What I was writing down was in reference to what you were saying…it was a note of sort. And, you mentioned that why isn’t black previews called minority previews? And that was something that was said in here. That was something that I found problematic. It was, it was, it was never suggested in here that black previews be called minority previews. I think that’s where, kind of…

SO: This is on?! You’all wanna to run it back? Actually how many people remember me?

WH: I’ll respond to that. I, I was the person who said that.

SO: Oh. You have the minutes?

WH: I can respond. I was the person who said that. That was just a comment about the inclusive nature. I think that what you said and what other people in this room said resolved my, all of my concerns about the inclusive nature of your event.

SO: How long did that take? How long did that take? Very f***ing long. For you. For you, your problems to get resolved. I had to f***ing sit here. I had practice at 8:00 o’clock. I did not have time for ya n***ers.

IB: Have you eaten today?

SO: I have not f***ing eaten today! BECAUSE YA DUMB ASS N***ERS WANTA F***ING TALK! Inclusion. Inclusion. FUCK YOUR INCLUSION! (HITS TABLE) BECAUSE I’M F***ING EXCLUDED. How many people look like you in this f***ing room right now?! How many people?!

WH: One!

This was the only, mercifully comic moment in the video. You cannot deny the sheer logic of WH’s surprising response. After all, he doesn’t have a twin brother in the room. I think the culture of open antagonism at Williams would improve if more white students showed this sort of quick thinking and courage.

Williams College student confronts white College Council representatives on April 9, 2019. She asks: “How many people in this room look like you?”

Next, one of the things that strikes me as extremely odd about this bigoted tirade is the way the black student activists repeatedly address the white student representatives as n***ers. I have never seen that before. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that this is another way that black activist students lord their power over their vulnerable liberal white peers. Since white students are socially prohibited from using the word “n***ers,” the black students are taunting them with the fact that only they can use this offensive language. I wonder if conversations about race at Williams might be improved if there was a new social compact where a white person can call a black person a n***er, but only if the black person called the white person a n***er first?

SO: What the…? ARE YOU BLIND, MY N***ER? WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONE?! YOU’RE A WHITE MAN! I can count f***ing how many? Literally this f***ing row. They look like you! Who is the black woman who look like me?

IB: You look like her?

WH: No.

IB: Oh, okay. What the hell!

SO: Great. At least you know something. Now I know why you got to Williams.

At this point, I would think the students representatives would begin to wonder about the inclusiveness of the black preview event being planned by CARE Now. If this is how CARE Now leaders treat elected student representatives, then how much more vile might they be to a white man who stops by to get a taste of the free fried chicken? A week later, at the April 16 College Council meeting, many of the white men who were verbally abused by these CARE Now leaders decided not to show up. It was so bad the College Council struggled to attract the minimum number of representatives needed to start the meeting and conduct their business.

If student leaders like TW or WH feel unwelcome at the College Council meetings, then I think it is time to rethink those meetings. The campus needs more people like them, not less.

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