Let’s Stop – William McGuire III


Let us review the Williams Alternative articles we have all read in the wake of Uncomfortable Learning’s non-event featuring Suzanne Venker. I will add my own emphasis.

Zach Wood ’18, an organizer of the event, wrote an opinion piece claiming that some Williams College students view political issues through the lens of “motivated ignorance” resulting from “the myopia of those who look through it.” He also names “a torrent of online bullying” as a key factor in the group’s decision to cancel the event. … Read more

Conservative Privilege on Campus – Sam Crane, W. Van Alan Clark ’41 Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences


The “Uncomfortable Learning” brouhaha has subjected Williams College to a torrent of national media criticism. Most notably, conservative news outlets have shouted charges of censorship and liberal intolerance and general decline of Western civilization. Lost in the right-wing screaming match are the specific dynamics of this case, especially the fact the College administration itself, and the faculty, had nothing whatsoever to do with this particular disinvitation. Such evidence is irrelevant, however, to the pre-determined narratives of conservative critics of academia. … Read more

On Feminism, from the Desk of the Ghost of Ephraim Williams


Verily, it is with great chagrin that I find myself once again rising from my dusty tomb ‘neath the rolling green pastures of Williamstowne. While I had, as always, set the alarm-clocke to end my astral slumber for October the 31th, the highly celebrated holiday known in my time as All’s Hallow’s Eve–an occasion of great revelry for me as I harass, possess and otherwise torment young children engaged in their petty, and, may I say indulgent, tradition of harvesting sugars–I instead awoke early, risen by the clamor and fervor over the arranged visit of a Ms. Venker, a correspondent of the news amalgamation syndicate known as Foxxe. Read more

Why Uncomfortable Learning Is Right – Alex Sun ’15


In a recent piece penned for the Williams Alternative, Zach Wood ’18 (co-President of Uncomfortable Learning) criticized the culture of “motivated ignorance” on campus, a term he used to describe the insularity of many students and their unwillingness to challenge their esteemed beliefs. I agree with Zach’s stance that “we are all biased”. He and his peers at UL are biased. Those upset by their invitation of staunch anti-feminist, Suzanne Venker, as well as those who lauded it as a practice in intellectual freedom, are biased. I too am biased. I take sides. And I believe UL stood up for something right: freedom of speech at a college that prides itself on critical thinking and intellectual freedom. But criticism of their decision to invite Suzanne Venker is grounded in something very real, as is criticism of Zach’s piece in the Alternative. And yet, I think these critiques are ultimately mistaken. It’s my license to think so, and it’s yours to disagree. … Read more

Learning Through Dissent – Annika Guy, Emily O’Brien, Gerardo Pelayo Garcia, and Sam Alterman


CW: Transmisogyny, Antifeminism

Before we begin, it is necessary to clarify what our intentions were at the beginning of this controversy, which has since been heavily misconstrued by the press. We will then give our reasons for objecting to Suzanne Venker’s visit to Williams College through the group Uncomfortable Learning. … Read more

An Eph Abroad: Part 2 – Quentin Cohan


As a kid I had a fairly nasty habit for homesickness. Any sort of prolonged absence from home threatened to riddle me with anxiety – about what, I was never fully sure; I guess I just liked the comforts of home. Even sleepovers at a friend’s house could cause more harm then good. Not until eighth or ninth grade did I really mature out of this problem, so that I could enjoyably spend time away from the nest. By the time I began at Williams I was itching at the chance to live “on my own” for once, but I don’t shed feelings easily, and the old, familiar, nostalgia sometimes pops back up. … Read more

Breaking Through a Ring of Motivated Ignorance – Zach Wood


“When you bring a misogynistic, white supremacist men’s rights activist to campus in the name of ‘dialogue’ and ‘the other side,’ you are not only causing actual mental, social, psychological, and physical harm to students, but you are also—paying—for the continued dispersal of violent ideologies that kill our black and brown (trans) femme sisters. … Read more