Campus Free Speech

Williams College Students Urge Boycott of the English Department, Claiming It Promotes Racist Violence

"The English Department has a long, well-documented, disturbing history of racism, sexism, transphobia, and other violences."

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Some students at Williams College have called for a boycott of the English department because of the "racist violence" faced by women of color who have had the misfortune of studying and teaching there.

"We are receiving an inadequate education from the English Department that not only hinders our learning but also enables the Department's racist culture," write the boycott's leaders. "We are undergoing this boycott to create the pressure necessary to force the Department, and the Administration, to take these issues seriously and to redress past and current harm with urgency."

A website lists the activists' grievances, which are largely directed at Kathryn Kent, chair of the English program. Students believe Kent should have resigned after having the audacity to argue with another professor, Dorothy Wang. Wang had confronted Kent last April about the chair's failure to hold meetings that would address the department's "longstanding history of hostility toward faculty of color," according to The Williams Record. This irritated Kent, who snapped that Wang didn't know what she was talking about. Two Wang-sympathetic students who witnessed the incident told the paper they feared for her safety, and their own:

Kasulis, Wang and Zheng described the incident as emotionally harmful. "This is something that none of us are going to forget happened, and for a week afterward I would wake up in the middle of the night and think of it," said Kasulis, who reported that she was physically shaking throughout the incident.

According to the students, the incident confirmed what they felt were longstanding issues within the English department and a departmental culture of intimidation, fear, racism and disrespect toward FoC [faculty of color], and in particular FoC who specialize in academic fields relating to minority literature and other underrepresented disciplines.

Kent admitted it wasn't her finest moment and apologized for losing her temper, to no avail.

The boycott's organizers want the English department to submit to an outside investigation. They want a new chair, and they want four new tenure-track scholars who would teach African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American literature. This protest, which has received extremely favorable coverage in the local paper as well as Inside Higher Ed, calls to mind similar campaigns against allegedly Eurocentric curricula at other liberal arts colleges.

Students are well within their rights to demand greater diversity with respect to kinds of literature and ideas discussed in their classes. But that's no excuse for overdramatizing their struggles. Getting something other than the exact program they wanted is not the equivalent of suffering violence.

For more about student activists and their demands, check out my book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump.

NEXT: President Trump and DHS Secretary Dukes Made it (Nearly) Impossible to Defend DACA Rescission

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  1. We are receiving an inadequate education from the English Department…

    In that we don’t yet know what the word violence actually means.

    1. It’s not that they don’t know what it means, they are trying to change the definition.

    2. And that it really can’t be pluralized into violences.

    3. When I’m guilty of other people’s feelings, I put myself in an emotional prison.

      1. Conversation between a newly incarcerated guy and his cell mate named ___________(fill in your name of choice):

        “_____” says “what you got to decide is – are you gonna be the husband or are you gonna be the wife?”

        The new prisoner pauses for a moment, then says “I think I’m gonna be the husband.”

        “———-” smiles and says “That’s just fine – now come over here and suck your wife’s d**k!

    4. And we use poor diction when we say “We are undergoing this boycott . . .”
      Dear children: you called for, organized, and are maintaining the boycott. Drop the victim mentality and at least pretend to be in charge here. Choose active verbs instead of transitive verbs! The boycott is not something that others are imposing upon you that you must endure against your will — you are imposing it upon others. Be fierce! We is wimmixns and hear us roar!

  2. I am sure Kent is a good far left Prog who never dreamed the little monsters she helped create would ever turn on her.

    1. LOL

      She’s a racist. Racists are right-wing by definition.

      1. and Intellectual Dilettantes are left wing by definition, lol

      2. Haha, it’s left wingers today who are overtly racist. They define everybody by race and seek to discriminate by race.

        Non lefties advocated for color blindness and are accused of racism.

        By the way, stop the pretense and admit you are a left winger.

        1. Don’t feed the trolls, my friend. I don’t even know if OBL believes anything that he says or is just looking to get a rise from everyone.

      3. Ok Boomer is all the woke children need to know or say

    2. Dr. Kent’s areas of expertise: “Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U.S. literature; literary theory; queer theory; feminist and gender theory; US women’s literature; US queer literatures; cultural studies and cultural theory; biography; oral history”

      https://english.williams.edu/profile/kkent/

      1. So, this is a case of leftards playing “more batshit than thou”?

        -jcr

      2. Sure, but is she “woke” enough? Apparently not, All that “queer studies” stuff is so retrograde now. She needs to be on board to bring down the whole temple.

      3. Her queer and feminist backgrounds were probably trans-exclusionary and therefore apostasy to the modern trans-inclusive queer feminist cult.

  3. “They want a new chair, and they want four new tenure-track scholars who would teach African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American literature.”

    As Koch / Reason libertarians, we should support this. After all, Shikha Dalmia, the world’s most eloquent voice for billionaire-funded open borders advocacy, has argued that Minorities Will Save American Constitutional Traditions in the Age of Trump. It’s therefore logical that minorities will save the English department at Williams College.

    #DiversityAboveAll
    #LibertariansForAffirmativeAction

    1. LatinX is a racist term. You might as well be dropping N bombs. 98% of Spanish speakers object to it. Stop appropriating other people’s language.

      1. If you were to ask them, I’m sure they’d tell you they know better than the uninformed 98%, and it’s their job to get them all woke up.

      2. I wish I was in college again so I could be that one young student that tries really hard, but still comes up short:

        “This school is subjecting women, people of color, the disabled, and the queer and shemale community to endless amounts of oppression and it must stop!”

        I would wait until a popular news org wants to interview me to drop something like that.

    2. Somebody needs to remind these privileged children that the department is the English department. It is, first and foremost, about the history of English literature. So, for the most part, Hello, Dead White Males.

      What the college SHOULD do (and lacks to guts for) is replace Ms. ‘Queer and Gender Theory’ with an old fashioned scholar who would emphasize Shakespeare, Johnson, Chaucer, and other giants. And leave the diversity pygmies to the later electives.

    3. Great idea! Let’s get Shikha appointed to chair the Williams English Department!

  4. “This irritated Kent, who snapped that Wang didn’t know what she was talking about. Two Wang-sympathetic students who witnessed the incident told the paper they feared for her safety, and their own”

    “This is something that none of us are going to forget happened, and for a week afterward I would wake up in the middle of the night and think of it,” said Kasulis, who reported that she was physically shaking throughout the incident.

    In the English Department no less, where the most dangerous thing you can expect to encounter to is knowing a gerund from a participle and Blake from Elliot.

    Can you imagine how they would react if they were to face actual violence?

    1. You mean aside from the violence of being referred to as “Wang-sympathetic”? Are we really just going to let that slide? It’s like I don’t even know you people any more.

      1. I tend to be wang sympathetic most times.

      2. I was thinking of something along the lines of assuming that “Wang-sympathetic” would be a support group for people with tiny penises and not people who are such huge dicks.

        1. That’s what I’m talking about. *sobs*

      3. I would’ve gone with “Wang supporter.”

        When I had the misfortune of living in the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts, just down the road from Williams no less, I couldn’t stop myself from giggling every time I heard an advertisement for an event at Boston’s Wang Theater.

        1. “…an event at Boston’s Wang Theater”

          The possibilities are endless; longest wang, widest wang, deepest diving wang…

        2. I would’ve gone with “jock strap.”

          1. If you can’t be an athlete, you can be an athletic supporter.

        3. I always giggle when something is “NOW PLAYING AT THE WANG.”

    2. I need Tim Meadows to appear, say “Wang-sympathetic” and then disappear.

    3. Everybody have fun tonight
      Everybody Wang Chung tonight

      Or Wang Dang Sweet Poontang. Critcally study that one, bitches!

  5. Some students at Williams College have called for a boycott of the English department, which should be greeted with the same level of alarm as shoplifters threatening to boycott Walmart. I’m not sure I see the problem here.

    1. Why not a womancott? Or a xecott?

  6. “The English Department has a long, well-documented, disturbing history of racism, sexism, transphobia, and other violences.”

    I am pretty sure there is no long history of transphobia, as that was just invented a few years ago.
    As for sexism, a (verbal) catfight between two women hardly qualifies.
    And nobody pays attention to racism anymore; “wolf!, wolf!”

    1. I’d like to see their documentation.

      1. its well documented so no need for them to present their documentation to you you lazy racist are you calling them liars or something. Racist.

        1. Sounds like they went to the Elizabeth Warren school of dialectics.

          “We’ve done the math, and it’s good; next subject.”

      2. Sorry, bud, but they are not going to enact your labor for you. What do you think this is?

  7. English is about as euro-centric as you can get. Perhaps they should the English courses in Spanish or Mandarin. That would show true inclusion.

  8. …should teach…

    WTF is this with no ability to edit.

    1. WTF is this with no ability to edit.

      Or preview.

  9. Kent admitted it wasn’t her finest moment and apologized

    Mistake #1.

    1. If she really feels guilty, she should talk it over with friends who are sympathetic and wouldn’t tattle on her.

      Her attackers have not moral standing to complain about how she responded to their attacks – if in an ideal world a person being attacked should respond more philosophically, but if someone responds to attack with a counter-attack, what possible grounds do the attackers have for expecting an apology?

      That’s granting them moral authority and conceding that they have the right to attack you in the first place.

      1. ATTACKER: “You’re a racist.”

        HAPLESS COLLEGE ADMINISTRATOR: “Fuck you, you ignorant little shit.”

        ATTACKER: “OMG, I’m so triggered, I’m literally shaking, I demand an apology at once!”

        HCA: “Look, I’m sorry I lost my temper.”

        ATTACKER: “Your admission of guilt isn’t good enough, you must resign!”

        1. And this is how we get Trump…and why the SJWs are so furious Trump doesn’t play their kabuki game.

  10. Just another day at one of the USA’s illiberal institutions of higher learning. Yawn.

  11. Some students at Williams College have called for a boycott of the English department

    “Very well. Williams College is calling for a ‘boycott’ of some students’ graduations.”

    1. *** boycotts closing tags ***

  12. Who knew that the English Lit department of a liberal arts schools would be one of the worst Alt Right bastions?

  13. > who reported that she was physically shaking throughout the incident.

    Wow, are college students really that fragile? How did they manage to make it out of junior high school?

    1. No shit when I was in college I got in a couple shall i say loud discussions with my professors, loud enough to be heard outside of his office. the other students commented about how it might not be good but I said no we have a mutual respect for each others opinions. I stilled Aced the class

    2. What I like here is how the student was so eager to report that she was so scared of Kent’s words that she was shaking. “Ooh, I’m scared, you have to protect me!” My God, brat, have a little dignity. And fearing for one’s safety? What, was an English professor offering to beat you up? Was a university department head reaching for the rope? Are you kidding me?!?

      1. Of course the “triggering” isn’t about an actual threat; it is more like a metaphorical threat, over which they can claim soul shaking fear and angst, as a substitute for any actual power to influence those around them. In many instances it has worked, and as long as college administrators give them a platform to promote their agenda, they will keep using it.

    3. They were coddled there too. They’ve been coddled their whole lives by mommy, daddy, teachers…for different reasons of course (teachers don’t want mommy & daddy suing them, for example).

      1. Probably. My dad taught sixth grade for forty years. In his later years he would complain about parents coming in and complaining that he gave low mark to their child. In one case threatening to sue the school because Little Johnny was suspended for hitting another student. Fragile parents.

  14. From the college catalog 2019 – 2020

    WGSS 132 – 01 (F) SEM Blackness, Writing, Prison
    Taught by Ianna Hawkins Owen.

    Who also teaches,

    Note: courses with * are not offered this academic year.
    ENGL 132 / WGSS 132 (F)
    Black Writing To/From/About Prison

    *ENGL 152
    Direct Action & Other Political Acts in Black Cultural Texts

    ENGL 218 / AFR 218 / AMST 218 / WGSS 218 (S)
    Gender and Sexuality in the Neo-slave Narrative

    ENGL 254 T / WGSS 274 (F)
    ‘As If Her Mouth Were a Weapon’: Jamaica Kincaid

    *ENGL 309 / COMP 300 / AMST 308 / WGSS 308
    Thinking Diaspora: The Black Atlantic and Beyond

    *ENGL 346 / AFR 347
    Negative Affects in African American Literature

    ENGL 355 / WGSS 355 (S)
    Asexuality and Other Absences

    1. So, what’s supposed to be an English department is just offering a pile of leftard political bullshit.

      Fuck it, I don’t care which of those assholes wins this trivial power struggle.

      -jcr

      1. That’s just one teacher. There are far more English class than the above available.

        What I was attempting to point out is that there are classes for the woke despite student claims.

        1. Not good enough; need to get rid of comparative British literature because of those white imperialistic bastards and all.

  15. Before anyone rejoices – “look, the leftists are fighting each other like Kilkenny cats!” – consider that the craziest element of the left is getting valuable experience in attacking fellow-leftists – experience which will help them in their attacks on the normies.

    1. experience which will help them in their attacks on the normies.

      Nah. A snowflake who’s used to their fellow snowflakes rolling over and presenting their ass for a reaming is going to be completely flummoxed by anyone who tells them to go fuck themselves.

      -jcr

      1. Absolutely. These snowflakes only have power over other snowflakes.

        But what scares me that is too many of them are infiltrating HR departments. Soon their pathetic whines will take over the corporate world. I’ve seen them try. but I’ll be retired by then so I won’t care. I’ll just sit back on my lawn and laugh.

    2. experience which will help them in their attacks on the normies.

      I think you have this backwards. Their tactics only work in institutions controlled by left wingers. These tactics fail in unconstrained arenas. So their experience in these battles is counterproductive when they attack others.

      1. It’s like playing Risk – they first consolidate their control over the continent of Leftistan, then from there they can replenish their forces and launch their attacks on Centrestan and Conservastan.

        1. That’s not how it works though. It only works among left wingers because they set the rules that way. Anyone who rejects the rules and simply laughs at them wins. Hence Trump.

          1. I sure hope you’re right and that I’m wrong! I would never rejoice so much about being in error.

            1. Saul Alinsky basically advocated confrontations with “opponents” who would have been willing to yield without a fight – the very experience of fighting would help get your followers in the right kind of combative attitude in preparation for going after *real* opponents.

              The example Alinsky gave was some private social-service agency which wasn’t in the neighborhood he was organizing, but would have been willing to set up in the neighborhood if requested. Instead of a nice request, Alinsky organized a confrontational demonstration so that his followers (who weren’t in on the joke) would feel they won a glorious victory through their confrontational tactics. When the group “granted the people’s demands,” then Alinsky could cite this as an example of the virtues of militancy.

              Coincidentally or not, angry demonstrations demanding that college English departments become more woke fit the tactics that Alinsky outlined as useful practice for real battles.

              Should this be reassuring?

  16. The one fanatical extremist cult that seems immune to both mass suicide, and deprogramming.

  17. The issue is that I’ve seen biased college professors. There was a constant concern that one engineering professor in my college took ten points off the top of any woman’s test. It was widely known, but unproven.

    However, the current environment is so toxic and progressives have conflated active discrimination with simple disagreement and call it all “violence”. Without reading the specific accusations with details about what was said, I cannot evaluate this.

    1. There was a constant concern that one engineering professor in my college took ten points off the top of any woman’s test.

      Bullshit. You can’t fake the answers in an engineering test.

      -jcr

      1. It’s easy to fudge scores if you are brazen enough. He never returned the tests, refused to explain answers, and all of the ladies got shockingly low scores, especially on projects.

    2. Try this test:
      No blood, no violence.
      or
      No criminal charges even filed, no violence.

      Words are NOT violence.
      otherwise, the entire democratic party would be under arrest.

  18. “Two Wang-sympathetic students”

    Low hanging fruit, but I laughed.

  19. I’m surprised they don’t want the name of the college changed.
    Williams was founded by the estate of Col. Ephraim Williams, a colonial militia officer implicated in the war against native Americans that we know of as the French and Indian War. Williams was killed in battle with the indians in 1755. It is horrible to think that any student today would want to hang a sheepskin on his or her’s wall that honors this genocidal maniac.

    1. You mean his, hers, their or xir’s wall. And what’s with killing innocent sheep to make diplomas?

  20. “..for a week afterward I would wake up in the middle of the night and think of it,” said Kasulis, who reported that she was physically shaking throughout the incident.”

    i can’t comprehend this. have people like this actually had such a complete lack of actual conflict in their livese that they would react this way to witnessing (not even being a part of) a disagreeable conversation?

    1. First world problems.

      1. paraphrasing joe rogan (i think): this is what happens when its too easy to find food and water

    2. “”have people like this actually had such a complete lack of actual conflict in their livese””

      It starts when parents never say no.

    3. Have you ever seen the Jerk Store episode in Seinfeld?

      These people remind me of George when he obsessively tried to revive a conversation he was humiliated in. Except instead of working so hard to try and re-do the conversation, these people just skip to the end and fire that person. Same neurosis, just different tactics.

      1. You’re their best seller, jerk!

  21. Teaching English literature in English is discriminatory against people who don’t speak it. Or something.

  22. ” But, that’s no excuse for overdramatizing their struggles.”

    Yeah, no shit. From the headline you’d think people were getting lynched.

  23. This is Karma. I’ve known Katie for years, she a great person but she’s always supported things like this when they happen to others. Labelled people she didn’t like ‘racists,’ words she didn’t like’hate speech.’ If it wasn’t her, she’d cheering on the Twitterverse bleachers. Now that they’ve come from her, well, that’s Karma. I hope the rest of Williams learns from this. But I especially hope Katie does too. A bad day doesn’t make you racist, that term should reserved for those who deserve it.

  24. A boycott? How cute!

    Does this mean they’ll skip class? Maybe they can be flunked out and replaced by better Americans who would be more grateful to attend one of our great liberal-libertarian schools!

    1. When they say “boycott”, they mean disrupting other student’s classes and having the administration give them a pass for their behavior.

    2. They are paying $50 grand a year (or whatever it is now) to refuse to be educated. I don’t think they quite get how this boycott thing is supposed to work.

      1. Between government grants and student debt that they think the government will cover, YOU’RE paying their $50 grand a year.

  25. The truly HORRIFYING thing about this story (and no, it’s not the fact that wannabe communists masquerading as students are organizing ANOTHER boycott) is that these are the FUTURE LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY!

    I served in the Marines and ended up getting injured. THIS is not the country I was willing to die for. THIS is looking more and more like a Marxist/Leninist vision of Hell.

    For the first time in my life I truly fear for our country and my children’s welfare and safetly.

  26. “For more about student activists and their demands, check out my book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump.” — We already know that Mr. Soave wants to sell his book. His ending his articles with advertisements is getting tiresome.

  27. “…Kasulis, Wang and Zheng described the incident as emotionally harmful. “This is something that none of us are going to forget happened, and for a week afterward I would wake up in the middle of the night and think of it,” said Kasulis, who reported that she was physically shaking throughout the incident…”

    This is someone you really don’t want to rely upon in case of anything more brutal than a ‘jo momma!’.

    1. I’m impressed by the ability of these various activists to take what ought to be liabilities – their brittleness, oversensitivity, avoidance of personal responsibility, and various neuroses – and use these very things as weapons.

      They found a way to take their fragility and vulnerability, carefully cultivate it, and weaponize it against their hapless targets.

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  29. If the offended students cannot figure out that there demands are infantile and moronic, then perhaps; just perhaps, such students are not well suited for higher education. Which, I guess if you follow a bit of logic, means that these colleges are not institutes of higher learning. The absurdity of all the recent instances are just saddening.

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