It’s clear that being an exceptional individual isn’t enough to get into Princeton. Almost everyone has had some sort of exceptional privilege, in their financial situation or a more specific admissions booster. A “real” Princeton student is a product of privilege, luck, and money, and I do think that needs to change. There are broader, systemic inequities in the admissions system, like the over-representation of certain races and income groups, and faculty and legacy preferences. When people question the legitimacy of my admission, it usually comes from a feeling of personal injustice.
My point here is not that everything that occurred on the Middlebury campus was justified, but that discussing Murray’s inability to lecture as an affront to academic freedom is irresponsible. The debate surrounding academic freedom is an important one, but not all ideas deserve to be protected in our academic spaces, and Murray’s certainly don’t.
Most central to his self-defense was his claim of good intention — that because he would never intentionally discriminate or offend, his actions could not possibly have been wrong. But just because Rosen’s actions were not intentionally derogatory does not mean they were not hurtful.