April 14, 2011
An Open Letter To the Academic Standards Committee:
I am informed that Michael Wilner CMC ’11 has written to you accusing me of a whole host of offenses, none of which are true. I write now to correct that false record and to offer evidence which I hope will dissuade you from granting Mr. Wilner’s request to keep his thesis offline. As this letter will demonstrate, I believe this willingness to censor his own thesis and yet use others theses against them exhibits a pattern of hypocrisy and chutzpah that is unprecedented in Claremont McKenna history.
It is worth bearing in mind why Mr. Wilner would like to have his thesis taken down from public viewing; He has been found guilty by Claremont McKenna’s J-Board of violating the school’s code of conduct and may face criminal assault charges. He, understandably, does not want his record to be known to a wider audience.
On February 27th, 2011, Michael Wilner, according to a police report, repeatedly struck a female CMC student repeatedly in the face. [Document 1] More than a month later, on April 1st, he was found guilty by the J-Board and sentenced to 20 hours of community service. [Document 2] Criminal charges are still pending against him. Michael, who had been drinking during the altercation according to witness statements, has a history of drunken misbehavior dating back to at least 2008. [Document 3].
Alas, rather than accept his punishment and move on with his life – he has never once apologized for striking the victim because he, according to the investigating R.A., didn’t want to be seen as making potentially incriminating statements. Meanwhile, Michael has chosen to spread a series of falsehoods about me.
He writes to you,
Charles Johnson has written and entertain others posting attacks on my integrity, my sense of character, and my moral judgment; the company I keep, the professors who teach me, my sexuality and the people I am intimate with. At its worst, the Dean of Students Office has had to monitor his blog for my safety, since no boundaries have been respected regarding the viciousness of the character assassination he has waged.
It would seem that a physical attack on a female student in which she required medical attention speaks for itself. If that does not, the photos do. I have not “entertained others” to post anything attacking him.
He is referring to the open comment policy I have on my website in which I allow anyone to comment anonymously, even those who criticize me. Some of those comments have mentioned Wilner’s alleged sexuality. When possible and alerted to them, I have deleted them. I should note, by the way, that Mr. Wilner, in violation of the CMC Forum’s policy on comments has unilaterally deleted any mention of his attack on that female student without consulting any other Forum writer. [Document 4]
This censorship of the school website has never extended such a courtesy to any staff writer or to anyone else. He merely deleted material that criticized him from a school-funded website. It seems that that fits a pattern: anonymity and protection for Michael, but not for others – and that seems to be at work here in his most recent petition for special treatment.
Michael, after all, made public the victim’s boyfriend’s thesis at the J-Board hearing to impugn both of their characters and yet doesn’t want his own thesis on heroism made public? This is again, a rather ironic and hypocritical stance. If you are going to grant Wilner’s request to have his thesis not be made public, why not grant all requests that theses not be made public?
He has accused me of saying that I hope he is “unemployable.” This is false. Here I suspect Mr. Wilner is referring to a conversation I had with the victim in which I promised her, late one morning after I saw photographic evidence that showed the physical damage that Michael had done to her face, that I would write on the story. When she asked me what I thought would be the end result, I said, “I suspect it’ll make him unemployable.” [I should note that Michael is relaying this conversation back from one of his admitted friends, who overheard a portion of the victim’s and my conversation, but not its entirety.]
Of course, his argument is entirely for naught. I have no interest in whatever Michael has written in his thesis on “heroism,” nor do I have any interest whatsoever in publicizing this matter further. Though I don’t have to, I hereby promise not to write a word about it on my website. As my writing is his stated reason for being exempt. Based on this concession by me, there is no longer any reasonable basis upon which to grant Mr. Wilner’s peculiar request.