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Fatal Flaw

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CHICAGO - The distinguished free speech absolutist, Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago, has reviewed the Sawicki Report and found it disappointing. To be more precise, he calls it "lame" and labels it "long and turgid."

The only thing Coyne likes about the report is it dropped the suggestion floated earlier by Jana Sawicki at Inside Higher Education that each student group should have a faculty adviser who would "...talk with the club members about whether they'd thought through how the speaker's views would affect their peers."

Ultimately, Coyne asserts it is impossible to combine freedom of speech with inclusion and diversity.
Setting an example of simplicity and grace, Coyne introduces his article with a short and easy to understand summary of the Sawicki Report and its most significant and fatal flaw. "The committee’s statement does not constitute a policy," he writes. "...it’s a farrago of good intentions and desires to …

Weepy Futch Potato

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Over on Twitter, Franny Choi announced that she had accepted a two-year fellowship in English at Williams College. "I’m so so so excited to work with the fierce students at Williams," she wrote. Here's how she describes herself on her website:
Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American poet, playwright, teacher, organizer, pottymouth, GryffinClaw, and general overachiever.  She is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). I imagine the prolific Choi will feel right at home given her hatred for Trump, her advocacy for illegal immigrants, and her hostility to the second amendment. Inexplicably, her tweet indicates her surprise at her new appointment. "Can you believe," she tweets, "they wanted to hire this weepy futch potato?"

Out of curiosity, I looked up "futch." It means s…

The College Fix

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 Report this morning and highlighted the reactions of those of us who were hoping Williams College would adopt the free speech absolutism of the Chicago Principles including Jerry Coyne, Luana Majora and me.

Ethan Berman, a student at the University of Texas-Austin, criticizes the Sawicki Report saying "...this ad hoc committee on 'Inquiry and Inclusion' instead gave the administration plenty of loopholes to regulate both student and faculty speech, including a 'feedback' protocol that resembles a community-wide heckler’s veto."

The article favorably quotes the pessimistic views of Jerry Coyne, a top leader of the New Atheist movement, who asserts it is impossible to reconcile freedom of speech and inclusiveness, and silly to think the Sawicki Report will fix things. “If Mandel and the committee thinks that this policy will quell the discontent of Williams’s woke students when they return this fall," Coyne writes, "they are sorely mistaken."

O…

Global Warning

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John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.

Cheating Freedom

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WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Williams College has been named as one of the top five worst schools for free speech by civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate, a co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The school won a not so coveted Campus Muzzle Award largely due to highly visible student protests against the adoption of the Chicago Principles and a generally "spineless" faculty response. According to Silverglate, a key moment was when
...a group of about 20 Williams students showed up to the faculty meeting to protest, some waving signs that stated “free speech is hate speech.” Disruption notwithstanding, the faculty was extremely accommodating, inviting the students into the meeting and permitting them to read their response aloud. But the students continued to be disruptive, at one point demanding that white male professors sit down and admit their “privilege,” and at another screaming that faculty members were trying to “kill them.” Most of Silve…

Internet Discourse Bad

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WILLIAMSTOWN - I had a chance to read through the final 75 page report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion. Here's my take on what we will now refer to as The Sawicki Report.

The most positive thing about the report is it illustrates the vast majority of students and alumni don't like it when the school bans speakers. Most significantly, the report indicates hosting a speaker does not imply the school endorses the speaker's positions. These findings support the interpretation that the vast majority of us do not buy the most important arguments for banning speakers.

In general, the report confirms what many of us active in off-campus social media - including Zachary Wood '18 - have been saying and complaining about regarding Adam Falk's decision to ban John Derbyshire.

On the downside, the report does nothing to reverse viewpoint discrimination.

The report mentions, then thoroughly ignores, complaints that conservative views are absent on campus and th…

The Young Billionaire: Career Advice for Young Women from Elizabeth Holmes

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I noticed all the folks giving out career advice to young people. I thought it might be interesting to see what advice might come from Elizabeth Holmes. As you may know, Holmes was at at 31, the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. Here's the advice she gave to Cindi Leive of Glamour.

Holmes' actual life goal is not simply to make more money; it's to change our entire view of health care.

I was very blessed to grow up in an environment in which I was encouraged to believe that there was nothing I couldn't do. For example, when I was about seven years old, I began designing a time machine, and I had very detailed "engineering drawings." And I'd show them to my parents, and they [would say], "Of course. How's the development going?"

If they say no to me a thousand times, I'm gonna keep on trying for the next thousand.

When you find what you love, you do it. That's it.

My parents were wonderfully supportive. They let me t…