Phi Beta Cons

Tom Klingenstein’s Excellent Idea

Tom Klingenstein, who is no stranger to these pages, has an excellent idea that he discusses in his new essay at the Claremont Review of Books. Here’s the first paragraph:

I begin by offering the trustees of my alma mater, Williams College, a bit of advice: Establish a board level standing committee on free expression (COFE). Provide COFE with the staff and independence of the college’s outside audit firm. COFE’s purpose, to ensure free expression, is analogous to that of the audit committee.  Free expression is at least as important as financial soundness, and there is no reason to believe that the former requires any less oversight than does the latter. To an “Eph” who claims there is no free speech problem at Williams, I ask two, admittedly barbed, questions: How could you possibly know? Do you recommend that Williams disband the audit committee?

An “Eph,” by the way, is the name given a matriculant at Williams College, in honor of its founder, Colonel Ephraim Williams. You learn something new every day. 

An additional thought:  A good chair for the school’s new COFE would be Bill Bennett (Williams class of ‘65).

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