Alleged Transcript Shows Public Safety Officer Contradicting College Account

by on November 16, 2017

Posted in: News

Disclaimer: WRMC is a community radio station. We are re-posting this transcript because of great interest on behalf of our listenership and readership, and especially because it will not be posted elsewhere, as other local sources do not take anonymous submissions. We believe in shielding those who submit anonymously from possible retaliation because timely, relevant information should be regarded as such. As President Laurie Patton often says, our community needs “a robust public sphere.” Providing relevant information, or as Patton described, “better research” and “better data,” is central to that mission.

Yesterday, Beyond The Green posted an alleged transcript of a Public Safety officer detailing the actions of VP of Communications Bill Burger on the night of March 2. The transcript can be found here, and is also posted below. Among other interesting points raised, the officer directly contradicts the account provided in a press release from the college on November 6, titled “Middlebury Statement on ‘Profiling’ Investigation.” Whereas the college describes Burger’s driving as “slow” and “careful,” and accusations otherwise as “without any basis in fact,” the officer describes in detail Burger’s attempts to pick up speed to throw a protestor from the hood of his car while on Route 30.

While discussing Charles Murray, Professor Allison Stanger and Burger’s exit from the college in a car Burger was driving, the officer allegedly states: “And I saw him make that turn and he sped up on the highway a little bit. Then I saw where that person [a protestor] was on the hood, rolled off the hood onto the southbound lane of 125 or Route 30. I was like, oh, my gosh. He was going probably 18, 20 miles an hour, maybe… I mean, so I, trying to pick up speed. But obviously the person, you’re not going to hold onto the, be on the hood of a car at 18, 20 miles an hour for very long.”

Compare that with the account given in the college’s press release:

“Separately, there have been anonymous accusations regarding Middlebury Vice President for Communications Bill Burger’s conduct on the night of March 2. These claims are without any basis in fact. The Middlebury Police Department’s investigation did not corroborate the anonymous accusations. Moreover, Middlebury’s independent investigators found that – as reported by multiple eyewitnesses to the incident – Mr. Burger drove slowly and carefully, stopping frequently to avoid harming individuals who threw themselves against, in front of, and sometimes on top of the car.”

“Trying to pick up speed” when already around 20 miles per hour does not sound like the actions of someone driving “slowly and carefully, stopping frequently to avoid harming individuals”. Furthermore, how can Middlebury’s private investigators have found that to be the case when allegedly presented with testimony to the opposite? Either the investigation or the college’s reporting of it must have been faulty. The discrepancy would most likely be located in the fact that Burger directly oversees all college press releases.

The eyewitness account of students also corroborates the public safety officer’s alleged testimony, down the rough estimate of Burger’s speed, which again contradicts the account of Burger and the administration.

On March 4, students wrote: “The crowd began to disperse as Burger turned onto VT Route 30/South Main Street. A person was still on the hood of the car. Consistent with security personnel’s shouts to “go faster,” Burger accelerated to approximately 25 miles per hour, at which point the person, fearing for their safety, rolled off the hood and into the middle of the road across from Meeker House. Burger did not stop, and drove away from the person lying in the road.”

This alleged transcript wouldn’t just prove lying by omission by the administration, it would prove an outright attempt to mislead the public. The administration continually expects students to want to work with and engage in dialog with them while denying outright facts and shutting down student narratives in media. Burger having any role in over-seeing how the college talks about March 2nd is an egregious conflict if interest, and just one more example of the condescension and disrespect with which administrators view the voices if students.
The transcript, reposted with permission from Beyond the Green (Nancy is the college’s private investigator, Gary Bender is a Public Safety officer):