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Student newspaper editor criticized for printing 'jarring' photo of Charles Murray

030718 RAP murray pic
A photo of political scientist Charles Murray is still considered "an open wound" to students at Middlebury College after protests last year led to violence at a Murray event. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke, File)

A student newspaper editor at Middlebury College was recently forced to accept full responsibility for printing a “jarring” photo of Charles Murray on the front page of the campus paper.

“During a heated debate in the newsroom on Tuesday night, most of the section editors, and the managing editor, said that running this photograph would be inappropriate. Though I deeply respect the input of my editors, I decided to run the photograph anyway. I take full responsibility for this decision. It was mine alone, and any criticism should be directed at me alone,” Editor-in-Chief Ethan Brady wrote in the Middlebury Campus.

Last March, Charles Murray was scheduled to give a speech on the Middlebury campus, followed by an interview with Middlebury professor Allison Stanger. During the event, a violent mob of students interrupted the speech with shouts and jeers, forcing the speakers to move to a room where they could continue the event via video broadcast. After the event was over, protesters assaulted both Murray and Stanger. Stanger required treatment at a local emergency room and was fitted with a neck brace.

One year later, the student newspaper ran a front page photo of Murray standing on the stage at Middlebury. Its printing received such backlash from the campus community that Brady published an editorial sympathizing with students who found the photo to be “jarring,” noting that Murray’s visit to campus is still an “open wound” for some students.

“I recognize that it may be especially jarring, particularly for students of color who feel that Charles Murray’s rhetoric poses a threat to their very humanity,” wrote Brady. “I also recognize that Murray’s visit to campus last March is an open wound for a campus trying desperately to move forward from it.”

According to his editorial, Brady decided to run the photo despite being advised against doing so by a number of his fellow editors. While Brady does not directly apologize for running the photo, he does express unnecessary sympathies toward a group of students who were so vehemently opposed to free speech, they resorted to violence that sent one professor to the hospital and resulted in 67 students receiving disciplinary sanctions by the Middlebury College administration.

In what world does a photograph of a man who thrust a college into a national spotlight over free speech issues require an editor’s note? Simple: Middlebury College.

John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute regularly.