This quote jumped out at me: “This is not an issue of freedom of speech. We think it is necessary to allow a diverse range of perspectives to be voiced at Middlebury,” the alumni wrote. “However, in this case we find the principle does not apply”
Count on it, when somebody says that shutting someone’s public voice down is not about free speech then it absolutely is about free speech.
This also brings up the question of what is going on with American university students now? Back in my undergraduate days students might get rowdy and loud when controversial figures roll in to town (that comes with the territory) but they didn’t use violence to try to shut down speech that displeased them.
My guess is that there will be more of this, mostly from the left and that it’s (anotyher) sign of political realignment. The last time students got aggressive and/or violent on campus was in the late 1960s (which led straight into the realignment that saw the ascent of neoliberalconservativism, the system that’s being rejected at present).