College prez: Privileged people should be made 'uncomfortable'
The president of Albion College in Michigan says that it is “appropriate” for people of privilege to feel “uncomfortable from time to time.”
According to The Washington Free Beacon, President Mauri Ditzler made the remark during a meeting with a student regarding his girlfriend, Ashley Witkowski, who was allegedly harassed by anti-racism demonstrators last month.
The meeting between Ditzler, Witkowski, and her boyfriend, Trevor Hill, took place in late September during a gathering of the Student Senate, the publication reported.
Hill claimed that his girlfriend was verbally and physically harassed by a group of protesters who came out to condemn the College Conservatives club for producing a document containing "racist and violent remarks."
The document, however, reportedly contained conservative talking points on white privilege and were derived from the arguments of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
"Are you aware of this harassment and what are you going to do about this?" Hill asked the college president who, according to the report, came out in solidarity with the protesters.
"Obviously, on a busy day, lots of protests, on a hot day, lots of things happening, people are going to make statements they regret," Ditzler responded, conceding that “mistakes were made” during the demonstration.
According to the Free Beacon, Ditzler later said that he hopes the demonstrators hold an "after action" meeting to address "things they wished they could have been done differently to be more persuasive."
When confronted about his remarks earlier in October, Ditzler told The College Fix that he did not justify violence against Witkowski because of her privilege.
“I noted that peaceful demonstrations were designed to make us feel uncomfortable,” he told the publication at the time. “Many of those demonstrating report feeling uncomfortable every day. Those made uncomfortable by the demonstration experienced that for a day.”
“I went on to say that I was not uncomfortable walking past the protest, but my reaction was an example of how privilege (mine in this example) causes all of us to view events differently when we are in a privileged position,” Ditzler added. “Reports of physical altercations may be accurate, [but] reports that I endorsed those actions or that I said that they were deserved are false.”
In a statement to Campus Reform, Witkowski said that the university administration “should be unbiased to students” and that it “has done nothing to fix or even address any political problems that have occurred on campus.”
A college representative also told Campus Reform that since the September meeting, the school has “come together as a campus to discuss the situation, ensuring that all students, faculty and staff who want to voice opinions were heard.
“As a campus community, we will continue to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion—and we will focus that discussion on our students, faculty and staff,” the representative added. “Our paramount responsibility is to provide a safe, respectful learning and living environment for all of our students.”
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