The Middlebury Punishment Is Finally Here

Those of you waiting to see the decisive smackdown of the Middlebury demonstrators who thought it was a good idea to shut down the Charles Murray talk, well, here it is: a letter will be placed in the files of some 30 students, and it won’t be removed until the end of the school year.

If any student commits another offense before then, the letter will be left in his or her file. (NO, NO, NOT THAT.) Not to worry, though. It’s not a real punishment and it won’t be seen by anyone unless it falls out of the folder and a janitor spots it.

It isn’t as if the students pursued Murray out of the building, stomped his car and put a professor briefly in the hospital, and in the opinion of some, came close to putting Murray’s life in danger. No wait, that’s exactly what the students did. No wonder Middlebury gave it to them with both barrels: a temporary letter that nobody will ever read, just what every campus delinquent fears most.

Wait. There’s more. An official bulletin on the matter from Middlebury, apparently published April 25, but taking some time to reach the real world, said that “some students expressed frustration with the process, saying that it seemed arbitrary and ill-defined. Others condemned the punishments altogether, citing them as an example of the college stifling students’ ability to express themselves.”

Here I think we can all agree. If your parents are paying $61,917 per year, there really should be no stifling while junior is roughing up two or more professors in the parking lot. It just isn’t right.


  • John Leo

    John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

7 thoughts on “The Middlebury Punishment Is Finally Here

  1. Perhaps you missed the anti-Israel disruption at UC Irvine this week.

    As a part-time teacher at UC Irvine 1998- 2016, I observed her incompetence. The problem didn’t start under her tenure, but she has done nothing to improve the climate for Jewish students on her campuses in the face of the anti-semitic onslaught brought on by pro-Palestinian thugs. Last Wednesday night was the latest example when Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Student Union and others once again disrupted a pro-Israel event. It’s all on videotape.

  2. Conservatives should cheer whatever Middlebury or CMC do or do not do as regards punishment. These are, after all, private institutions. Alumni contributors, future applicants to the schools, and prospective employers will mete out their own punishments in the future. This is as it should be.

  3. Are there any sources for the information on the students’ sanctions? Every university I’ve worked at has been bound by FERPA and getting the outcome of conduct sanctions out of them literally took a court order.

  4. If I was not so lazy, I would look up much worse punishments that students have received simply for supporting Trump or his wall.

  5. If your parents are paying $61,917 per year, there really should be no stifling while junior is roughing up two or more professors in the parking lot.

    It’s even worse than that — it’s a pro-forma opposition to criminal thuggery when it is employed to advance a desired political agenda. Yes, money speaks, we’ve all seen it, but this is something different and far more sinister.

    It’s not even “blaming the victim” as much as having contempt for the victim.

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