Editorial: Closed Minds Win Out

October 13, 2014

By Herald Staff at Boston Herald

Symptoms of closed-mind disorder have erupted at Scripps College, an all-female institution in California that has disinvited conservative columnist George Will from giving a speech in a program devoted to conservatives.

Will, whose column this newspaper carries, was rejected because in June he criticized statistics and examples purportedly showing a tsunami of sexual assaults flooding colleges.

Here is what Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga gave as the reason.

“Sexual assault,” said her statement to the college community, “is too important to be trivialized in a political debate or wrapped into a celebrity controversy. For that reason, after Mr. Will authored a column questioning the validity of a specific sexual assault case that reflects similar experiences reported by Scripps students, we decided not to finalize the speaker agreement.”

It’s rather arrogant for anyone to assume that debate is “political” and trivializing.

The college didn’t like Will’s comments about one case described in an article in Philadelphia Magazine about Swarthmore College. To our knowledge the report has not been contradicted.

A female student, in a sexual relationship for three months, found her partner asleep on her bed. She climbed in. He awoke and made advances; she told him she did not want to; he continued and, she said, she did not resist. Six weeks later she reported a rape.

Make of that narrative what you will.

Will’s “crime” was apparently repeating and drawing lessons from it. You would think that an auditorium of sharp minds should be able to explore such issues, but it won’t happen. The self-regard of Scripps is apparently too fragile. Scripps thus adds to a list of 192 disinvitations since 2000 compiled last May by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It will have another busy academic year ahead.

Schools: Scripps College Cases: Nationwide: Colleges Across the Country Disinvite Commencement Speakers