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Charles Murray returning to college campus

It’s critical that students have the opportunity to hear different voices; that’s how they can formulate their own thoughts and engage more successfully after graduation.
— Former Gov. Jim Douglas

MIDDLEBURY — Controversial right-wing author Charles Murray’s 2017 speaking event at Middlebury College drew national attention when it was interrupted by demonstrators and other protestors rocked his car. Now Murray has accepted an invitation from the school’s College Republicans to speak on campus again, on March 31.
He will discuss his new book, “Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class.”
“With each event, we are committed to providing a forum in which the Middlebury community can engage in a thoughtful, rigorous, and respectful manner,” wrote Middlebury College Provost Jeff Cason in a statement. “We also recognize the value of nonviolent public protest and demonstration and believe that activism that enables community members to publicly display their concerns, values, and aspirations is a critical component of our commitment to open expression.”
But just because it may provide a forum for Murray — or allow nonviolent public protests — does not mean that the college approves or is endorsing either, Cason added.
Middlebury College Republicans and their advisor, former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, are working with Middlebury’s Event Policy Committee, Cason said. Many of the event details and logistics are still being discussed.
“I’m pleased that the college is committed to free expression and welcomes diverse viewpoints on campus,” said Gov. Douglas in an email to the Independent. “It’s critical that students have the opportunity to hear different voices; that’s how they can formulate their own thoughts and engage more successfully after graduation.”
Middlebury College hosts nearly 300 speakers every year to discuss a variety of topics.
Rather than recount the events surrounding Murray’s last visit and dissect the reasons his work is considered controversial at this point, the Independent asked more than a dozen Middlebury College professors to help compile a sample listing of upcoming college events that reflect the great variety and depth of scholarship and discussion that happen on the campus every day. All of these events are open to the public.
• Jan. 28: “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship,” Nadine Strossen, past president of the ACLU, with a response by Professor Erik Bleich. McCardell Bicentennial Hall 216, 4:30 p.m.
• Feb. 13: Scholar and climate activist Naomi Klein will deliver the 2020 Scott A. Margolin ’99 Lecture in Environmental Affairs. Wilson Hall, 7 p.m.
• Feb. 17: “Beyond the Green New Deal,” a presentation by Stan Cox, a research fellow in Ecosphere Studies at the Land Institute and the author of the forthcoming book “The Green New Deal and Beyond: The Road from Climate Emergency to Ecological Reality.” Hillcrest Hall, 7 p.m.
• Feb. 20: “Do We Need a Green New Deal?,” a Hamilton Forum Dialogue between Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Oren Cass and Robert Pollin Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Dana Auditorium, 4:30 p.m.
• Feb. 25: “1619 and the Legacy That Built a Nation,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, MacArthur Fellow and creator of The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project.” Wilson Hall, 7 p.m.
• March 3: Tara Affolter, Associate Professor of Education Studies at Middlebury College, will give a talk based on her 2019 book “Through the Fog: Towards Inclusive Anti-Racist Teaching.” Dana Auditorium, 4:30 p.m.
• March 4: Middlebury’s New Perennials Project sponsors a screening of the 2016 documentary “Forgotten Farms,” about a New England dairy farmer’s struggle to survive in today’s economy. Marquis Theatre, Middlebury, time TBA.
• March 5: Emily Bernard, professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of Vermont, and author of “Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine.” Wilson Hall, 4:30 p.m.
• March 18: The New Perennials Project sponsors a screening of the 2019 documentary “Fantastic Fungi,” about the magical world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth. Marquis Theatre, Middlebury, time TBA.
• March 31: Charles Murray. Wilson Hall, 4:30 p.m.
• April 6: “Thinking Race: Social Myths, Biological Realities, a Conversation with Drs. Richard Goldsby and Mary Catherine Bateson,” (respectively) professor emeritus of biology at Amherst College and professor emerita of anthropology at George Mason University. Wilson Hall, 4:30 p.m.
• April 16: Faculty Dance Concert, featuring works by Karima Borni, Christal Brown, Tori Lawrence, Laurel Jenkins and Lida Winfield. Mahaney Arts Center Dance Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
•  The monthly Carol Rifelj series on Wednesday afternoons provides the best opportunity to see the scholarship of Middlebury College faculty in action. For more information, visit middlebury.edu/academics/administration/calendars/fls.
•  The Critical Conversations series, through dozens of conversations every year, reinforces the college’s commitment to free expression and inclusiveness on its campuses, in its classrooms and throughout its diverse intellectual community.
Last semester the series hosted or cosponsored several events, including a talk by “Fun Home” author and Vermont Cartoon Laureate Alison Bechdel on campus, and an appearance by civil rights activist, author and U.S. Congressman John Lewis at the Flynn Center in Burlington.
For more information about upcoming Critical Conversations events, visit critical-conversations.middlebury.edu/events.
•  The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series is celebrating its 100th season this school year. For more information about the current season’s offerings, visit middlebury.edu/arts/performing/2019-2020-season-100th-anniversary-
Reach Christopher Ross at christopherr@addisonindependent.com.

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