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Original Mission of College Long Forgotten

Wall Street Journal

“The Mob at Middlebury” (Review & Outlook, March 4) recalled an invitation in the 1970s I received from friends to attend the graduation of their daughter from Vassar College. The name of the guest speaker was an added inducement for us to attend. When we arrived on campus, we were informed that the president of the college would deliver the commencement address. She gave an eloquent speech extolling the virtues of the valuable liberal
education available at Vassar. The students had voted to reject the invitation to the scheduled speaker because of his political views. His name was William F. Buckley. Alas, history repeats itself.
Gene Masucci
Copiague, N.Y.

As one who has attended Middlebury College innumerable summers and who deeply loves the college, I am personally ashamed of the egregiously negative, disruptive behavior of angry protesters while Charles Murray was attempting to lecture. Succinctly, we appear to have nurtured a select group of students and agitators who feel that what they do is far more important than anyone elseʼs liberty.
Mel Yoken, Ph.D.
New Bedford, Mass.

This is vivid evidence of perhaps the greatest social problem facing the U.S. —intolerance of critical thinking and the threat to free speech on our campuses. How did this happen? Iʼd cite two reasons: the self-esteem movement in elementary schools that started in the 1980s and the infestation of college and secondary school faculties by leftists who hate our country and everything it stands for. Unless university and secondary administrations show some backbone and start taking severe actions to discipline and remove the cause, itʼs only going to get worse and weʼll all suffer, directly or indirectly. One way to start—vary college tuition rates inversely by marketability of the degree. Price the “touchy-feely stuff” out of the market. This way liberal arts programs would be ”subsidizing” engineering schools. You wonʼt find as many anarchists teaching engineering as political science.
Vincent McCord
Santa Monica, Calif.

Once again we have an ugly reminder of how low higher education has sunk with respect to the original mission of university: open, rigorous and fact based debate in the service of learning. Those of the progressive left, despite their elite education, have managed to erase any vestiges of intellectual rigor. No longer are there multiple views on any subject of the day. Now it is only argument by authority, or in this case, mob violence. Another lost opportunity to publicly debate Mr. Murrayʼs controversial views. How sad.
Tom OʼHare
Charlestown, R.I.