A freakout at Wellesley College

Hillary Clinton is a Wellesley grad, but that’s no excuse for this inane letter from Wellesley president Paula Johnson to the “Wellesley community”:

For many of us hoping to see our first woman president, this election has surprised and disappointed us. But the Wellesley spirit is indomitable, and it is in this spirit that I wanted to express to you my feeling of resolve—a powerful resolve to transform this moment into a call for action. Though it may seem impossible in the rush of emotions many of us are feeling, this must become one of those rare moments of clarity for us as a community that we cannot let pass.

We must reaffirm our most deeply felt values as a community: equity, social justice, the embracing of difference, the search for knowledge based on fact, the demand for civil discourse that is inclusive while challenging in its rigor. Through our actions, our ethics and our perseverance in the face of obstacles, we must show the world that at Wellesley we believe in a path forward for every single person, no matter your race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and no matter what country you came from, your immigration status, socioeconomic background, or political affiliation.

And perhaps at the heart of all of this stands our conviction that women’s leadership is the surest way to change the world for the better. Wellesley is uniquely qualified—and compelled by our mission—to move forward with our work to close the gaps that many women still experience. We must continue to strive for full equity for women, now more than ever.

It is up to us to create the future we want.

I have trouble reconciling the second paragraph — equity for all, regardless of gender, etc. — with the third — “women’s leadership is best.” This dogmatic claim sounds like female chauvinism to me. But maybe chauvinism, like racism, can only operate in one direction.

Johnson is right about this much — the defeat of Hillary Clinton should present a rare moment of clarity. But clarity is not to be found in Johnson’s reassertion of generic left-wing feminist nonsense.

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