Middlebury Students Shout Down Charles Murray

Nicole Higgins DeSmet, Burlington Free Press, March 2, 2017

Middlebury College students shouted down Libertarian political scientist and author Charles Murray as he tried to deliver a speech Thursday afternoon.

“We need to foster a climate where we can listen and respect differences,” Dean of Students Baishakhi Taylor said in front of the lecture hall as hundreds of students and faculty members lined up outside. Some carried expletive-filled signs.

“We don’t have to agree with everything. How do we engage in civil discourse?” Taylor continued.

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Murray had been invited to speak at Middlebury about “Coming Apart,” which he authored in 2012. Students planned to disrupt Murray’s 4 p.m. speech at the school’s McCullough Student Center, according to an email announcement released on Wednesday.

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Alexandre Khan is a member of the American Enterprise Institute Club that invited Murray to speak. Khan introduced Murray as a critic of President Donald Trump’s policies and practices, but students shouted him down.

“But he’s still a racist,” a young woman called out.

Several groups in the audience stood as Murray began to speak. They turned their backs and spoke over him. Single voices merged into a call and response that included, “Who is the enemy? White supremacy,” and “Charles Murray go away. Racist. Sexist. Anti-gay.”

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Murray was moved to a private room where administrators streamed live video of his speech to a screen in the McCullough Student Center where about 100 students and faculty remained.

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