Saturday, March 4, 2017

Middlebury: When a Campus Paper Incites Mob Rule

The day before a mob shut down an appearance by conservative pundit Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley, an op-ed ran in the campus newspaper, The Daily Californian, urging students to show up and "kick  Yiannopoulos off campus", The result was a cancelled event, $100,000 worth of damage and people beaten.

The same can now be said for the campus paper of Middlebury College in Vermont, where this week, a student mob forced the cancellation of a speaking appearance by author Charles Murray. In the course of that incident, a professor trying to escort Murray off campus had her hair pulled and her neck injured requiring a trip to the hospital. Murray;s car was surrounded and rocked by the mob.

In the days leading up tom the scheduled event, the Middlebury Campus ran this editorial urging students to show up for the event and confront Murray.

"There are many valid ways to approach his visit, and we respect and admire any of those who choose to take non-violent action on Thursday.
But we cannot let the words of Murray be normalized or accepted without refute:"
This is the closest the editorial comes to "peaceful protest", but the following line seems to go against the argument of peacefully protesting. Giving the benefit of the doubt to student journalists, this is reckless journalism that borders on incitement. In my opinion, this campus paper bears partial responsibility for what ensued.

Given the volatile climate on university campuses across the nation, it is time for somebody to more closely supervise campus newspapers. By all means, exercise your First Amendment rights, but it appears that these young journalists-in-the-making need guidance in order to avoid the pitfalls of inciting their readers, intentionally or unintentionally.

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