Columnist invited to speak because of conservative views now uninvited because of his conservative views
- Will wrote a column in June that excoriated universities for attempting to create "victim-free campuses" through soft-censorship.
- He had been invited to speak during Scripps College's ninth annual Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program
A conservative columnist was uninvited from speaking at Scripps College after he wrote an editorial claiming that universities have made “victimhood a coveted status” through their handlings of sexual assault cases.
George Will, a nationally syndicated columnist, was originally invited to speak at the college’s ninth annual Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, an event that aims to “bring speakers to campus whose political views differ from the majority of students,” according to The Claremont Independent. However, a few months after he wrote a column titled “Colleges become the victims of progressivism,” the all-women’s college rescinded his invitation.
“Now the codes are begetting the soft censorship of trigger warnings to swaddle students in a ‘safe,’ ‘supportive,’ ‘unthreatening’ environment, intellectual comfort for the intellectually dormant,” Will writes in his column.
“Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates,” he said.
“They didn’t say that the column was the reason [for the loss of the invitation], but it was the reason,” Will told the Independent.
The event’s conservative predecessors include columnists Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan.
According to a study by Emeritus Ward Elliot, a professor at Claremont Mckenna College, Scripps has no current faculty members that are registered Republicans.
“Among the 532 [Claremont Colleges] core faculty only 15 Republicans could be found in the registries,” Elliot wrote to the Independent. “Pomona, Pitzer, and Scripps have a very few registered third-party core faculty, but no Republicans at all found.”
The editorial was controversial amongst progressive groups and four Democrats from the U.S. Senate, who “signed a June 12 letter denouncing Will’s column,” claiming his “notion about a perceived privileged status of survivors of sexual assault on campuses runs completely counter to the experiences described to us.”
In a response to the letter, Will lambasted the Democrats.
“You say my statistics ‘fly in the face of everything we know about this issue.’ You do not mention which statistics, but those I use come from the Obama administration, and from simple arithmetic involving publicly available reports on campus sexual assaults,” he wrote.
“I think I take sexual assault much more serious than you,” Will told the senators. “Which is why I worry about definition of that category of that crime that might, by their breadth, tend to trivialize it.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO