“Can you just listen for one minute?”
With those words, Charles Murray’s speech ended before it started at Middlebury College. This isn’t the first time that Murray has been protested on campus in the past few months. At Princeton University, a walkout of his talk was organized by anthropology professors. This protest occurred roughly a month after protesters at Berkeley set the campus on fire in response to a proposed talk by Milo Yiannopoulos.
After the main event at Middlebury was canceled, Murray and Middlebury Professor Allison Stanger walked to a different room and streamed the event live.
This event was similar to one earlier at this year that was held at DePaul University, where Ben Shapiro was told that he would be arrested if he set foot on campus, except in this situation the Middlebury administrators worked to facilitate Murray speaking, instead of forcing him to an off-campus location like DePaul did with Shapiro.
“We were prepared for the disruption of event, which is why we prepared the backup plan for the live stream,” [Bill Burger, a vice president of communications for Middlebury] said. “We were caught by surprise by the violent acts as Mr. Murray and Professor Stanger left the building.”
After the live-stream concluded, Murray and Stanger left the building, and were confronted by “20 or 30 people who attacked the duo outside the McCullough Student Center.” Burger described what happened as an “incredibly violent confrontation.”
During the altercation, “the [protesters] then violently set upon the car, rocking it, pounding on it, jumping on and try to prevent it from leaving campus. At one point a large traffic sign was thrown in front of the car. Public Safety officers were able, finally, to clear the way to allow the vehicle to leave campus.”
When the dust cleared, “Professor Allison Stanger was assaulted and her neck was injured when someone pulled her hair as she tried to shield Murray.” Murray was unharmed.
Update: PEN America, a national group of writers that is no fan of Murray’s work, released the following statement:
“No matter how offensive a campus speaker may be considered, there can be no justification or excuse for violence. Students and off-campus activists who assaulted a professor and endangered the well-being of an outside speaker, faculty members, and administrators have violated the fundamental tenets of academic freedom, which requires tolerating even ideas with which you disagree fundamentally. While there is nothing wrong with vociferous protests, virtually silencing an invited speaker and depriving the audience a chance to engage with him crosses a line. The lawless and criminal attack that followed marks a new low in this challenged era for campus speech.”