04/11/2017

The Silencing Of Heather Mac Donald

William McGurn, Wall Street Journal

No one who knows her could ever describe Heather Mac Donald as a victim. 

Still, last Thursday night the Manhattan Institute scholar became the latest target of the latter-day Red Guards bringing chaos to so many American campuses. Ms. Mac Donald had been invited to talk about her book “The War on Cops” at Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Among her arguments is that if you truly believe black lives matter, maybe you should recognize “there is no government agency more dedicated to the proposition” than the police who protect the law-abiding minority residents of high-crime neighborhoods. 

You can imagine how well that goes over. At City Journal, Ms. Mac Donald offers a first-person account of that ugly evening. The day before, she says, event organizers told her they were considering changing the venue to a building with fewer glass windows to break. Such are the considerations these days on the modern American campus. 

That evening Ms. Mac Donald ended up live-streaming her talk to a mostly empty auditorium as protesters outside banged on the windows and shouted. As a result, she could take only two questions before authorities deemed it prudent to hustle her out for her own security. As if out of central casting, the vice president for academic affairs and president of the college each issued mealy-mouthed statements supporting her. 

With one hopeful difference.

In his note defending the university’s decision not to make arrests or force the hall open, CMC President Hiram Chodosh did say that students who blocked people from entering the Athenaeum “will be held accountable.” On Monday, a university spokeswoman, Joann Young, confirmed in an email that students found responsible face a range of sanctions including “temporary or permanent separation from the college.”

If true these are welcome words. For the main reason our colleges and universities are increasingly plagued by these illiberal disturbances is that there are seldom hard consequences for those who commit them.

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