I've been quiet about this so long I'm glad someone has finally asked my opinion. Forgive me if this is too long. But you'll edit as you see fit I'm sure.
You asked about my response to the several faculty emails recently.
I heard an anecdote (don't know if it's true) -- when the Duke lacrosse team rape case was breaking 9 or 10 years ago, there were 88 Duke faculty members who took out a public ad about the incident that simply presumed the crime had happened. A year later, as it was becoming clear that the rape had never occurred, they published another article defending themselves, saying they weren't presuming the incident had happened, but were just using it to bring up all sorts of related issues, such as racism and sexism that were perfectly real. When it turned out the whole thing was a fraud -- here's the anecdote -- I heard that only one of the 88 faculty members apologized to the students who had been falsely accused of the crime. After publicly humiliating them on the basis of fabricated charges, they couldn't bring themselves to apologize (if this is true). Probably because they still couldn't see themselves as having done anything wrong.
Well I can believe this anecdote because the situation at Connecticut College feels the same way. The language they use is the same. "It was about racism, and underrepresented voices, not about Andy." I can't tell you how often these people said that. Yet look at all the "community statements" that nearly all the faculty signed, that the College saw fit to put on their website and keep up for months. Condemning exactly the sort of language that Andy was being accused of -- in the students' petition to which these statements were responding, you know, the one that produced death threats to us and our children -- but pretending it had nothing to do with Andy. Funny how almost all of the statements referred to him, and several named him explicitly, then. Funny how the student government passed a resolution condemning him. Funny how everyone was talking about his Facebook post. Funny how his philosophy colleagues found it appropriate to write emails to the philosophy majors condemning his post. Funny how it was Andy getting the death threats. Strange coincidence, all that, since it had nothing to do with him. You wonder how these people can look themselves in the mirror. The utter dishonesty of the whole thing. At least have the courage of your convictions, if you're going to run a colleague off campus.
Speaking of the dishonesty, of course, the charges against him were also fabricated. The students and faculty member who led the campaign knew his Facebook post was about Hamas but misrepresented it anyway, and everyone fell for it. (And the students' letter that changed the words of the text to make it sound like he was calling for genocide--I still cannot believe that no one on that campus was outraged when that libel was exposed in the Washington Post of all places. You would think their Honor Code would prohibit changing people's words to make it sound like they were calling for genocide.) Andy had written 17 posts about the Gaza war through that day, 16 of which explicitly named Hamas, and then this one. Being about Hamas, the post couldn't be racist or hate speech. One faculty member, McKenna, actually said with a straight face in public that it didn't matter if it was about Hamas because it was still "dehumanizing." Huh? There's no difference between saying something bad about a people as opposed to saying something bad about a terrorist group? Was he actually offended by "dehumanizing" Hamas? You don't know what to make of such a person. The best you can hope for is that he is not aware that Hamas is a genocidal terrorist group that calls for the death of Jews in its charter and pursues the death of Jews every day, or that he completely doesn't understand how a metaphor works. Either way you wonder what he's doing teaching at the college level and expressing opinions about things he clearly has no grasp of.
So, several people have now apologized. That's terrific. But if the anecdote about Duke is true, several out of 200 Connecticut College faculty members isn't a whole lot different than the one out of 88. It's hard to get too excited about it.