Laurie Patton, wya?

by on October 11, 2017

Posted in: News

Two weeks ago, the Campus published an article detailing the racial profiling of former student (and WRMC DJ) Addis Fouche-Channer by a Public Safety Officer on March 2, after the Charles Murray talk. Last spring, a Judicial Affairs dean ruled that Fouche-Channer was not at Murray’s car, after being presented with statements from friends and a coworker, time-stamped emails and blog posts, and location-tracking wifi logs from the college’s IT department.

Now, the college has reversed its ruling, deciding that it believes both Fouche-Channer and her phone’s location data are lying about her whereabouts that night. Conveniently for the college, this eliminates their culpability in a racial profiling case. The article highlights a disturbing, but not unfamiliar example of the college systemically marginalizing already marginalized students.

On March 3, President Patton wrote, “Today our community begins the process of addressing the deep and troubling divisions that were on display last night.” So why hasn’t she addressed this issue? Is racial profiling not a serious enough example of Middlebury’s deep and troubling divisions? Let’s look at some more quotes from our President. In the same email, she wrote:

“I extend my sincerest apologies to everyone who came in good faith to participate in a serious discussion, and particularly to Mr. Murray and Prof. Stanger for the way they were treated during the event and, especially, afterward.”

Is Addis deserving of an apology for how she was treated? Which of the college’s conflicting rulings does the President side with? Does she agree that Addis is lying? On March 6, she wrote:

“There is hard work ahead for all of us: learning to be accountable to one another, and learning to stand in community with one another.  We must affirm our shared values and goals and hold each other to them…”

Is staying silent about racial profiling what hard community-building work looks like? Is it what accountability looks like? Given that she has publicly defended Murray’s speech and the college discipline process, the President’s silence says a lot about which values of the school’s are being affirmed. If she can’t be bothered to even address this, how can students expect any tangible action toward ameliorating campus divisions?

“I look forward to the many conversations we can and must have over the coming months.

Cool. How about you start by adding your voice to this one? And if you choose to do that through an op-ed, make sure this one’s not hidden behind another Wall Street Journal paywall.