The College's Student Activities Board paid
$2,500 to host Hedda Nussbaum,
who, along with her adopted daughter, suffered beating
by her companion in 1988; the 6-year-old died of her
injuries (in a controversial legal decision, Ms. Nussbaum,
whose own culpability was hotly debated, was granted immunity
for testifying against the man, who was convicted of manslaughter).
Ms. Nussbaum thought the atmosphere on campus was "too hostile"
for her to appear.

Some students and professors, part of a campus Women's Group,
felt that Ms Nussbaum's behavior both before and after the crime
was prosecuted was moot, and deplored the "cheap sensationalism"
they felt would result from her talk. They felt that their
protest was not an attack on freedom of speech, but a criticism
of the choice of speaker. The group responded as it did partly
because a significant number of the College's female students are
themselves mothers, and should have a "better role model." They
had planned a silent vigil if she did appear.