- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The president of Amherst College has disavowed a language guide previously published on the school’s website that defined capitalism as “exploitative” and gender as “socially constructed.”

“The ‘Common Language Document’ produced by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and circulated yesterday at Amherst takes a very problematic approach,” Amherst President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin wrote in a statement last week. “I was not aware that the document was being produced and I did not approve its circulation. It cuts against our efforts to foster open exchange and independent thinking. … Awareness and understanding of backgrounds and experiences other than one’s own are vital. Using language that conveys respect for those differences is part of building community. But prescribing a particular language and point of view is anathema.”

Ms. Martin was referring to a guide previously sent to students and published on the college’s website that offered a glossary of politically correct terminology like privilege, white supremacy, heterosexism and toxic masculinity. The guide also described capitalism as a racist, profit-driven economic system that “leads to exploitative labor practices” and gender as a “social construct” that is often “linked to and confused with sex assigned at birth.”

Supporters of the language guide reacted to Ms. Martin’s statement by posting fliers of the statement crossed out in red marker, The Daily Wire reported. Other fliers that cropped up on campus had the statement crossed out with the #NotMyPresident hashtag.

In a second statement, Ms. Martin defended her decision in disavowing the document but also praised the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for its effort.

“My email inbox and the conversations I have had over the past forty-eight hours are ample proof that we do not need an executive order to ensure freedom of speech or diversity of viewpoints on our campus,” she wrote, referring to the executive order President Trump signed last week to protect free speech on campus.

“There is no simple roadmap for building community in a racially, socioeconomically, and ideologically diverse environment,” she wrote. “Mistakes will be made, as they are made everywhere — on campuses and off. All we can do is acknowledge missteps and work to do better.”

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