Phi Beta Cons

Positive Alternatives at Williams

The recent disinvitation issue at Williams College introduced me to the Williams Alternative, the students who sponsor the Uncomfortable Learning series and who invited Suzanne Venker to speak critically  about feminism. The same group disinvited her when it appeared to Zach Wood, the leader, that he could not prevent possibly dangerous protests at her presentation.

The group has a lively blog, which I now subscribe to. Today it published a letter from a liberal Williams professor of social sciences, Sam Crane. The thrust of his message is that there is plenty of conservative thought on campus, and the Williams Alternative is not only unnecessary but it reeks of  “conservative privilege” because it has outside funding and doesn’t need to follow the rules and procedures that student groups normally go through to obtain funds.

Not only is there conservative thought at Williams, but if there isn’t enough on campus, the school is connected to the wider world, says Professor Crane. And there’s plenty of conservative thinking out there.

We live in an intensely saturated media environment, instantly connected to national political debates. When presidential candidate Jeb Bush utters the sentence, “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,” those words circulate through and around Williamstown. In this case, feminists are not shielded from anti-feminist thinking; rather, they are confronted on a daily basis with challenges to their standpoint.

So, says Professor Crane:

What we are left with then is something rather familiar: a group of conservatives, most notably conservative alumni, who are able to use significant amounts of money, unavailable to others, to advance their ideology. All of this is couched in the language of “fair and balanced” discourse–but we’ve heard that before.

And:

To recapitulate: conservative arguments are present at Williams, in both curricular and extra-curricular ways, and, more powerfully within the political discourse and actions that surround and permeate the campus. If conservative students wish to increase the presence of their views on campus, there are regular procedures and rules that can be followed, as has been done by Williams for Life and other groups.

By the way, some of the speakers they have brought on campus include KC Johnson, Greg Lukianoff, Richard Vedder, and Richard Sander (Democrats and Republicans both, all with ideas worth listening to on campus).

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

Most Popular

Elections

The Democrats’ Disastrous CNN LGBT Town Hall

A few days after Donald Trump committed the worst foreign-policy blunder of his presidency by betraying America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, former vice president Joe Biden, the elder statesman and co-frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, was on a national stage talking to CNN’s primetime ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
White House

What Is Impeachment For?

W hat is impeachment for? Seems like a simple question. Constitutionally speaking, it also appears to have a simple answer: to cite and remove from power a president guilty of wrongdoing. Aye, there’s the rub. What sort of wrongdoing warrants removal from power? I’d wager that the flames of ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More
Elections

Beto Proposes to Oppress Church with State

Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign is within the margin of error of non-existence, but in his failure he has found a purpose: expressing the Democratic id. His latest bid for left-wing love came at a CNN forum on gay rights, where he said that churches that oppose same-sex marriage should have to pay ... Read More