Campus Free Speech

Scripps College Students Protest Madeleine Albright, and That's Okay

There's no such thing as a non-controversial commencement speaker.

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Albright
Screenshot via Dartmouth

Scripps College's decision to invite Madeleine Albright to give the spring commencement address has met with a familiar backlash. Many students at the all-female college think Albright is an unfit speaker.

She's also a war criminal, according to some of the students, who take issue with the former secretary of state's policies regarding Iraq and Rwanda. Student Kinzie Mabon criticzed Albright for saying "there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." (Mabon supported Bernie Sanders, I gather.)

Albright is just the latest in a very long line of commencement speakers at various colleges who provoked the ire of one student group or another. It's very hard for colleges to find someone who is acceptable to everybody on campus, and it may even be the case that the least controversial people are so boring they aren't worth inviting at all.

Students who pressure universities to rescind speaking invitations are in a sense refusing to listen to ideas with which they disagree. They are also denying their fellow students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the words of a famous expert.

All that said, I don't have any problem with students announcing their opposition to Albright. The coverage of the controversy does not suggest that they are actually trying to get her disinvited—they are merely criticizing her. They certainly have that right: they are, in fact, engaged in free speech. And for what it's worth, I think many of their criticisms of Albright are merited.

(I was deeply opposed to the policies of my own commencement speaker, President Barack Obama.)

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  1. (I was deeply opposed to the policies of my own commencement speaker, President Barack Obama.)

    And I was deeply opposed to mine, Elie Wiesel.

    1. I went to the school of Hard Knocks. I believe my commencement speak was my disapproving mother.

      1. I went to the school of Hard Knockers, and the commencement speaker was…wait, is this thing on?

    2. And I was deeply opposed to mine, This individual?

    3. I had Bill Clinton and H.W. Bush tag team for graduate school commencement. Wankers.

      1. Tough to beat that tandem.

        How about Jim Wright and Dick Thornburgh for a tag team? They were my grad school commencement features.

      2. I only got the first half of that duo.

    4. I would’ve had Obama if I had graduated from UC Irvine one year earlier. Instead, I got some judge.

    5. Mine was Bob Newhart. He was charming but didn’t do the fake phone conversation bit, which was a bummer.

  2. Scripps College Students Protest Madeleine Albright, and That’s Okay

    Now you’re just trolling us, Robby. I say bravo to you. Well played.

    Now get your shine box.

  3. So it’s Not Not Okay?

    And… is Rico younger than I am? smh or something

    1. He’s younger than all of us, except for cytotoxic probably

        1. I didn’t picture you as a tween.

          1. Google hitlerjugend and you’ll get the idea.

        2. But not wiser.

        3. I sometimes forget about you because, unlike Cytotoxic, you realize children should be neither seen nor heard

        4. Nice new handle Irish. It’s be a shame if something were to happen to it…

  4. She’s also a war criminal, according to some of the students, who take issue with the former secretary of state’s policies regarding Iraq and Rwanda.

    By the way, lot of nuance here. Some of this nuance is that Albright is a war criminal because she didn’t involve us in certain “good” foreign entanglements.

    1. Some of this nuance is that Albright is a war criminal because she didn’t involve us in certain “good” foreign entanglements.

      yeah, i know. Its apex-retarded. But then…. Its California, Jake.

      The people who think the Clinton-Sanctions of Iraq “War Crimes” really changed their tune when Bush II came along. But then they revert back to it whenever it becomes handy.

  5. While I don’t have a problem with students opposing or peacefully protesting Albright’s invitation , I do have a problem with students petitioning for a dis-invite given the supposed purpose of educational institutions . These petitions always seem to take the form a demand regardless of the students right to do such petitioning.

    1. Yeah, this actually sounds like good news. Albright gets to speak, the protesters get to make their position clear, free speech wins

      Weird.

    2. Yeah, this actually sounds like good news. Albright gets to speak, the protesters get to make their position clear, free speech wins

      Weird.

    3. I am strongly opposed to calling for the disinviting of speakers at normal school events where the purpose is to hear opinions and one can choose not to attend. But I have a different opinion for commencement. That is a celebration. It’s purpose is not primarily an educational event. And it is for the benefit of all those graduating. So I think there should be an effort to choose speakers that will not offend or otherwise put a damper on the event. For example, having the Grand Wizard of the KKK as a speaker is entirely appropriate for a come-if-you-want-don’t come-if-you’re-offended educational event. But not appropriate for commencement. It’s not necessarily easy to define where the line should be drawn (Albright seems pretty benign to me) but I think an effort should be made. And I have no problem with students calling for a disinvite if they think a speaker is inappropriate. Whether they should be accommodated is another matter….

  6. That’s Okay

    Phew. I was on pins and needles.

    Here was a pioneering woman who fled political persecution as a child and became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and America’s chief diplomat. Like Xu and her classmates, Albright also attended an all-women college.

    “She was our top choice,” Xu said. “I was really, really ecstatic.”

    i then scanned the entire story for what precisely people find objectionable about her… and it really seems that the core of it is her remarks about “Bernie voters”. Its not until the very end of the piece, after lots of throat clearing about how speakers are being disinvited left and right for any and all reasons that they get to any detail about Albright…

    They cited Albright’s foreign policy role during the Clinton administration ? a time when U.S.-led sanctions were blamed for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children and the United Nations declined to intervene in the Rwandan genocide.

    Really? Nothing Palestinian-related? nothing about Bosnia-Herzegovina?

    Her role in the “genocide” (i.e. = ‘not using that word’, and therefore not demanding UN intervention) was a political decision by Clinton.

    If they really gave such a shit about that decision you’d think they’d ask Hillary about humanitarian intervention at some point.

    1. If they really gave such a shit about that decision you’d think they’d ask Hillary about humanitarian intervention at some point.

      Whoa whoa… let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re not going to fuck up her historic candidacy over some spilled milk from the 90s.

    2. “nothing about Bosnia-Herzegovina?”

      According to the National Enquirer, there’s a photo of her dad hanging out with Gavrilo Princip.

      1. Never mind Hugh, what were you doing on June 28th, 1914?

  7. Tom Hanks should do all commencement addresses.

    1. I assume he’d wear blackface for the Howard U address?

    2. No, they should just read Feynman’s 1974 speech.

      http://calteches.library.calte…..goCult.htm

      “During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. (Another crazy idea of the Middle Ages is these hats we have on today?which is too loose in my case.) Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas?which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn’t work, to eliminate it. This method became organized, of course, into science. And it developed very well, so that we are now in the scientific age. It is such a scientific age, in fact, that we have difficulty in understanding how? witch doctors could ever have existed, when nothing that they proposed ever really worked?or very little of it did.”

  8. I feel like it’s wrong for hell to institute differing punishments based on the gender of the sinner.

    1. Yeah, you’d think hell of all places would be politically correct.

      1. Like PCU except all the students are David Spade.

  9. It’s a fucking shame things like the internet, videotape, audio recordings, and books don’t exist.

    1. They are also denying their fellow students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the words of a famous expert.

      sposed to be above the above.

  10. LOL @ headline (heh…head).

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      1. Do you think he’s alone tonight?

    2. Hey, I don’t think these are cleaning materials that he left in my trunk.

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  12. Scripps College Students Protest Madeleine Albright, and That’s Okay

    Even so, there’s a special place in hell ….

    1. Wait, are the women protestors going to hell for not supporting Albright or is Albright going to hell for not supporting the women protestors?

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  15. at the all-female college…

    I’m having some difficulty grasping the parents’ decision on this. Good god, Marge, for only $47,000/year we get her out of the house.

  16. I believe I’ve said this before…this isn’t about free speech, it’s about honoring the students. Ideally, representatives of the graduating class should select the commencement speaker as someone as broadly acceptable to the graduates as humanly possible.

    For once, students get a day where they are *entitled* to feel special and at the center of attention. The speaker should reflect this, should be someone who inspires them, not someone they’re massively uncomfortable with *for any reason,* even if the reason is icky and leftist.

    1. So if the students are female Bernie aficionados, then they shouldn’t have to listen to someone who wishes them in hell.

    2. students get a day where they are *entitled* to feel special and at the center of attention.

      By all dressing the same, sitting quietly in a massive clump, and marching in an alphabetical line?

      1. Are they wearing plaid skirts cut 4 inches above the knee?

        1. I did for my graduation.

    3. Agreed. Commencement is not primarily an educational event. It’s a celebration. A speaker shouldn’t be chosen who is knowingly, and within reason, going to offend or otherwise put a damper on the celebration. Not an easy line to be walked, but an attempt should be made.

    1. I assume they fired your diploma at you out of a t-shirt cannon?

      1. i loled for some reason.

        I presume a UC-something school?

        1. It was made out of hemp.

        2. Berkeley.

          He later attended.

      2. No, but he did actually do the dinner roll on stage.

    2. He is the first Puerto Rican to become a member of the U.S. Ski Team.

      Bitchin

    3. Kudos to him for wedding in Telluride.

      1. I bet he has connections in every ski town in America.

  17. “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women advocate a foreign policy that kills half-a-million children.”

    1. And Rachel Carson is waiting there for some company.

  18. I mentioned this in the PM links =

    the second Clinton administration began with a full-fledged pivot to Africa, with Madeline Albright undertaking a high-profile visit to the continent early in her tenure as secretary of state. It was a substantive trip.. where she articulated America’s intention to change its relationship with the continent.

    But.. this approach meant embracing now-problematic leaders like Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and, to a lesser extent, DRC’s Laurent Kabila and Eritrea’s Isais Afewerki.

    Under Clinton’s Africa policy, these leaders — all of whom were former rebels who had taken power through violent means — would serve as a vanguard for the social and political transformation of the continent. Above all, they would be treated as normal allies… .By the end of Clinton’s presidency, Afewerki and Zenawi had fought a war that killed between 70,000 and 100,000 people; Kagame and Museveni fought Kabila in the eastern DRC, and then turned their guns on each other. Many… believe that Clinton’s policy enabled both Rwandan and Ugandan adventurism in Eastern Congo, prolonging a conflict that still reverberates. [and which resulted in 2-4million deaths]

    Direct complicity in instigating the Congo wars, imo was more significant than “not acting” in Rwanda

    1. “…a vanguard for the social and political transformation of the continent.”

      I nearly pissed myself laughing so hard.

    2. One day, someone will do a seriously intellectual scientific breakdown of why Albright is seen as the War Criminal but Clinton isn’t. I suppose it has something to do with sexism.

      1. why Albright is seen as the War Criminal but Clinton isn’t.

        I’m pretty sure someone will scream OIL! BUSH! and that will settle the matter.

  19. Honestly any member of the political class would have gotten a rotten egg from me.

    I got lucky, I had John Irving. He was quite good.

    1. Were bears involved?

  20. Eh, this is old news. Albright spoke at my commencement in 2001. Several students stood up and turned her back to her back during her speech as a form of protest. Nobody was harmed, she continued on. And that’s Okay.

  21. “She’s also a war criminal, according to some of the students, who take issue with the former secretary of state’s policies regarding Iraq and Rwanda.”

    We intervened in Iraq (including during the Clinton years), but didn’t intervene in Rwanda. So if the same students are protesting both decisions, one wonders if they are not even thinking about these issues and are just protesting for the sake of it.

    1. if the same students are protesting both decisions, one wonders if they are not even thinking about these issues and are just protesting for the sake of it.

      That, and the fact that they seem to overblow things that Albright herself had little hand in, while completely overlooking things *she orchestrated directly*, suggests they don’t know a single fucking thing about the issues they’re “protesting” and are just being outraged because someone told them there was some potential cause for outrage.

      Most of these people were in pampers when Albright held office. They’re about as qualified to protest things like “Iraq Sanctions” as I would have been protesting Watergate in the mid-1990s. The difference is that people would have considered that behavior idiotic and pretentious in the 90s, whereas now its de rigeur.

      1. they’re “protesting” and are just being outraged because someone told them there was some potential cause for outrage.

        Never let a potential cause for outrage go to waste.

    2. The thing is, the people who make such charges aren’t saying “you broke some objctive code of conduct”, they are saying “you didn’t, in each and every case, do what we now think you should have done.”

      Profoundly adolscent.

    3. Fuck me, just realized now that these kids weren’t even born when that stuff happened

  22. “Student Kinzie Mabon criticzed Albright for saying “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

    Kinzie Mabon and Preet Bahara should get together for dinner and a movie!

    1. Women helping other women?

      1. Preet Bahara investigated a commenter at Reason for writing “There’s a special place in hell for . . . “

        1. I was making a sexist insult against Bhahaha, suggesting he’s a woman.

          That’s unfair to the ladies, of course. It was a true low blow.

          1. Yes, I’m aware of the double standard by which Albright need not fear any investigation for using the same phrase.

  23. My wife went to Scripps.

  24. To be fair, that shrivelled old cunt IS a war criminal.

  25. Student Kinzie Mabon criticzed Albright for saying “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

    Vote Vagina!

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