“I feared for my life,” Stanger wrote in the New York Times the week after, adding that she “spent a week in a dark room to recover from a concussion caused by the whiplash.”

Weeks later, the small Vermont liberal arts school is finding itself still squinting against a harsh, unwanted spotlight, condemned both for students’ actions and the administration’s lack of preparation. It’s likely for that reason that several other universities have now made plans explicitly preparing for provocative speakers’ appearances to turn sour. Those include, per the Times (paywall):

That last measure, communicating with graduates, will be the one most crucial to universities’ bottom line in the long term. While hiring extra security staff at speaker events may be expensive, offending or confusing alumni—particularly wealthy older alums, whose contributions often fuel new expansions, research ventures, and capital projects—can literally cost a school millions.

Alumni donations to elite colleges are already hitting record lows as debt-ridden graduates feel disillusioned with the return on their educational investments and older graduates find themselves unable to relate to today’s college students and their seemingly bizarre concerns.

Take Yale as an example of that older-generation dissociation. The university isn’t among the schools currently dealing with a speaker controversy, but its alums recently found themselves split over whether to scrub a prominent 19th-century slave-owner’s name from a building. After a spurt of campus protests from current students, Yale decided this month that it will take the name off—and then promptly launched what can only be seen as an emergency, damage-control alumni fundraising campaign.

Schools smaller than Yale can much less afford the loss.

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