Currently viewing posts tagged with Luana Majora

Jerry, Luana and Me

Unfortunately, I think DDF is overly optimistic about the eventual results of the Sawicki Report. I read the report looking for evidence freedom of speech was perfectly safe and I didn’t see it. Neither did Jerry Coyne.

As you may know, Coyne is one of our nation’s most influential public intellectuals. He is a Harvard trained evolutionary biologist who is now most well-known as a prominent anti-theist. Along with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, I think of Coyne as one of the world’s most prominent “New Atheists.” Coyne’s blogsite, Why Evolution is True, reportedly has over 50,000 e-mail subscribers. I’m grateful Coyne has focused attention on the free speech conflict at Williams College. He has been especially supportive of Luana Majora and has used his highly visible blogsite platform to publicize her plight.

Nevertheless, DDF went after Coyne. He went so far as to suggest Coyne is a “fool.” As far as I can tell, DDF believes the Sawicki Report will lead to a rebirth of freedom of speech because,  as DDF notes, the report ties the school’s policies to the standards set by both the AAUP and PEN. The central issue is whether this is enough?

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The College Fix

The College Fix torched the Sawicki Report this morning and highlighted the reactions of those of us who were hoping Williams College would adopt the free speech absolutism of the Chicago Principles including Jerry Coyne, Luana Majora and me.

Ethan Berman, a student at the University of Texas-Austin, criticizes the Sawicki Report saying “…this ad hoc committee on ‘Inquiry and Inclusion’ instead gave the administration plenty of loopholes to regulate both student and faculty speech, including a ‘feedback’ protocol that resembles a community-wide heckler’s veto.”

The article favorably quotes the pessimistic views of Jerry Coyne, a top leader of the New Atheist movement, who asserts it is impossible to reconcile freedom of speech and inclusiveness, and silly to think the Sawicki Report will fix things. “If Mandel and the committee thinks that this policy will quell the discontent of Williams’s woke students when they return this fall,” Coyne writes, “they are sorely mistaken.”

On a positive note, the article report  Coyne was pleased that the committee report dropped an idea floated earlier that would have required each student group to have a faculty advisor who would discuss “the appropriateness of a speaker and its effect on the College community.”

The College Fix interviewed Williams biology professor Luana Majora who indicated she was “relieved” the report was “not as terrible” as she feared it might have been. Maroja told The Fix that she agrees with Coyne’s take “for the most part.” “I thought [the report] would require an ‘advisor’ approval all invited speakers,” as Coyne feared, Maroja wrote in an email. “We will see what the fall brings to us.” Read more

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