Middlebury Didn’t Really Punish Students Over Charles Murray Riot

Middlebury Didn’t Really Punish Students Over Charles Murray Riot

For the past month, Middlebury College in Vermont has been handing out daisies proclaiming that it has been disciplining students involved in a March incident involving social scientist Charles Murray that resulted in an injury to a professor.

It turns out the punishments were mere slaps on the wrist. The school on Tuesday announced it had completed its disciplinary process for the March 2 protests, disciplining a total of 67 students for their behavior. College officials broke down the incident into three stages. The first stage involved students who stood up and shouted so Murray was unable to give his speech.

The second stage occurred when Murray and professor Allison Stanger, a Democrat who was there to moderate the event and ask Murray critical questions, were taken to a separate room to conduct the speech and interview via livestream since they couldn’t function in the original auditorium. Students located the two and banged on the windows and pulled the fire alarm to further disrupt the event.

The final stage came when the two attempted to leave campus. A mob trying to get to Murray attacked the car that the two had fled to with security, and Stanger was injured.

Forty-one students were disciplined for their role in the first stage. The sanctions ranged “from probation to official College discipline, which places a permanent record in the student’s file,” so it is reasonable to assume these students received only temporary probation. One student who was disciplined in an earlier round of sanctions told the Burlington Free Press that her probation would be removed from her record at the end of the semester.

The 26 students who received more severe sanctions may have a permanent mark on their records. “Some graduate schools and employers require individuals to disclose official college discipline in their applications,” the school said. The school cited the federal privacy laws to avoid detailing the specifics of the punishments.

When additional sanctions were announced in mid-May, it was revealed that Middlebury police were investigating the third stage of the riot that resulted in Stanger’s injury. That investigation has concluded without any charges. Middlebury police said they were unable, despite video and photographic evidence, to identify any specific students responsible for Stanger’s injury.

“[O]n consultation with the Addison County State’s Attorney it was determined that there was insufficient information to charge any specific person who participated in damaging the car or interfering with or blocking the car’s progress as it exited the parking lot,” the police department said. In response to the limited sanctions, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni tweeted criticism of the college:

I’d go a step further to say that it’s not only Middlebury that will see more disruptions and free speech violations. If students know they won’t be punished for violent and childish behavior, why would they stop?

One wonders if conservative students disrupting, say, a Linda Sarsour or Bill Ayers speech in similar fashion would receive such light sentencing. They certainly wouldn’t receive such a muted response from the mainstream media.

Ashe Schow is a senior contributor to the Federalist and senior political columnist for the New York Observer. She also contributes to a weekly segment on the Enough Already podcast. She has previously worked for Watchdog.org, the Washington Examiner and the Heritage Foundation.
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