Left-wing students at Middlebury College forced American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray to stop his address before a campus audience Thursday night.
Murray was set to talk about his 2012 book, “Coming Apart,” and how its analysis of the white-working class explains politics in the age of President Donald Trump. But most of the controversy over the scholar’s appearance at the Vermont-based school related to his 1994 book, “The Bell Curve,” which connected genetics with socioeconomic outcomes and has long been criticized by the Left as “racist.”
Student protesters in the audience refused to give Murray a chance to speak as they chanted and shouted for several minutes before faculty members moved the scheduled speaker to a private room to deliver his address via livestream video — minus the student audience, according to the Burlington Free-Press.
Some of the chants the students shouted included: “Who is the enemy? White supremacy!” and “Charles Murray go away. Racist. Sexist. Anti-gay.”
— Nicole H DeSmet (@NicoleHDeSmet) March 2, 2017
Faculty and students involved in hosting the event tried to convince demonstrators to stop yelling and listen to Murray — to no avail.
“We need to foster a climate where we can listen and respect differences,” Middlebury’s dean of students Baishakhi Taylor said in an attempt to calm down the student protesters, according to the Burlington Free Press. “We don’t have to agree with everything. How do we engage in civil discourse?”
Alexander Khan, a leader of the American Enterprise Institute Club which invited Murray to speak, tried to appeal to the crowd by citing the scholar’s criticism of Trump. Demonstrators jeered that that doesn’t matter because Murray is “still a racist.”
Debate over Murray’s scheduled appearance had been raging on the Vermont campus in the days leading up to the event. Over 450 Middlebury alumni wrote a letter denouncing his appearance prior to its scheduled date.
“It is a decision that directly endangers members of the community and stains Middlebury’s reputation by jeopardizing the institution’s claims to intellectual rigor and compassionate inclusivity,” read the alumni letter published in Middlebury’s student newspaper.