Georgetown Student Association Condemns Conservative Student For Criticizing BLM and The Bostock Ruling

Georgetown_sealWe have been discussing the targeting of professors who voice dissenting opinions about the Black Lives Matter movement, police shootings, or aspects of the protests around the country from the University of Chicago to Cornell to Harvard to other schools.  However, student face even greater pressure to conform to a new orthodoxy enforced on our campuses.  An example is conservative Georgetown University junior Billy Torgerson who was the subject of a formal resolution of condemnation by the Georgetown University Student Association as well as a call for a bias complaint to the university. The reason is a column posted on his own website entitled “A Nation Of Virtuous Individuals” in which he espouses widely held conservative views of the law and patriotic views of the country.

Torgerson prefaces his column by offering a view of the country as basically good and defending what is commonly called “first principles” of constitutional interpretations by conservative scholars.  He starts by saying that “I’ve done a lot of thinking since March 2020. Through all of the conflicting ideas running through my head, one idea remains true over all of them: I love the United States of America.”

The substance of the column first and foremost addresses Torgerson’s criticism of the ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, a decision extending protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to transgender individuals with the expanded interpretation of the term “sex.”  Torgerson advocates a position similar to that of three justices in dissent and a large number of conservative lawyers that the term “sex” was never intended to go beyond the narrower meaning. However, he adds

“I bring up this ruling to make my point – yes, the outcome of the case is good for people that identify as LGBTQ. The benefits for these individuals are not the problem. The problem is that this was an overreach of constitutional authority by the Supreme Court of the United States that will have unintended consequences. The process was wrong, and it was perpetrated by flawed actors within our faithful institutions. This is also a failure of Congress to perform a check on the Judicial branch.”

Torgerson spends much of his column praising the United States and rejecting the notion that the country is inherently racist.  He also criticized Black Lives Matter as a movement.  This criticism is distinguished from the more general cause by Torgerson, who added a clarification that

“In this article, “Black Lives Matter” refers to the ORGANIZATION, not the MESSAGE. Of course Black lives matter – in fact, as far as I am concerned, every life matters. Nobody matters more than anyone else, just like nobody else’s opinion matters more than anyone else. If you don’t like my opinion, draw your own.”

As is always the case on this blog, we are focused on issues of free speech and academic freedom. There are ample reasons to disagree with Torgerson on his statements and his analysis.  Indeed, he invited such debate.  However, the student government decided that his voicing his opposing views was worthy of censure and many want him investigated.  Negrete-Retamales put forward the approved resolution which was adopted with only two dissenting votes.  The resolution calls out Torgerson for such transgressions as “the vocabulary in this article invalidates the experiences of BIPOC individuals in and outside of the Georgetown community.” It also objects that “the article states, ‘The United States of America is not systemically racist today,’ by which the author negates the existence of institutional racism.” It also includes the express call for “the Senate body and the campus community to file bias reports in response to the article and journal entries.”

Just two students voted in favor of the free speech rights of a fellow student.  The article condemns Torgerson because “the rhetoric in this article is racist, ignorant, discriminatory, demeaning, and hateful.” As is often the case, the University said nothing as a conservative students was censored by the student government for expressing his views on a Supreme Court case and current controversies.  For example, the University or the faculty could issue a simple statement from the school’s Speech and Expression Policy that asks students “to judge the value of ideas, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting those arguments and ideas that they oppose.”

Again, Torgerson knew that his column would be controversial and the points that he raises should prompt spirited debate.  That is precisely what higher education should foster: respectful but passionate debate. The students isolated legitimately controversial elements about this column like Torgerson’s criticism of the commonly held view of systemic racism and his criticism of the BLM organization.  I also disagree with such sweeping statements as:

“Black Lives Matter is a movement entirely based in unfalsifiable ideological possession, and it does not deserve your support. If you support this group, your emotions are being manipulated to push for fundamentally-incorrect solutions to problems that have many moving parts. The United States of America is not systemically racist today.”

I would have liked to see an exchange of students on such issues but that debate is not occurring on our campuses, as vividly demonstrated by this censure resolution.

Instead of publishing their own views on this case or the other issues raised in the column, these students sought to punish Torgerson for expressing dissenting opinions on legal and social issues.  As Torgerson is isolated and attacked by the student body, Georgetown remained conspicuously silent.  Not a word about how the university must remain a place for diverse opinions and viewpoints. Outside of a couple conservative sites, there has also been virtually no coverage, let alone a defense, of this student columnist by the media in the interests of free speech.  The incident was reported on the website The College Fix.

The message from this incident is clear for conservative, libertarian, or just contrarian students: if you voice dissenting views, you will be formally denounced as a racist and your views treated as a “bias incident.” These students know that such action could have a harmful impact on future applications or prospects for students like Torgerson.  The intended chilling effect is glacial on any others who want to engage in a good-faith debate over the issues that will be defining our nation for generations.

116 thoughts on “Georgetown Student Association Condemns Conservative Student For Criticizing BLM and The Bostock Ruling”

  1. I appreciate your defense of his right to freedom of speech, even if you don’t entirely agree with his opinions. You’re right, this is the type of conversations we *should* be having. And this is what free speech is all about. We don’t have to agree, however, shutting down a dissenting opinion is not productive. Thank you for making an honest statement! All the best for this University student.

  2. I like the Turley article.
    As for BLM. Black Wives Matter. Black Labs Matter (Labrador dogs). Bank Lenders Motivate. Bad Leaders Matter. Bernie Listens Mustard. Bob Left Milwaukee.

  3. Why doesn’t JT state what his exact opinion of BLM is, including its Marxist leanings? Instead he couches himself in vagueness to appeal to his Democrat readers (“I also disagree with such sweeping statements…”) What is there to defend the BLM organization for? And in my question, I mean the organization with ALL it stands for, not the words “Black Lives Matter,” which, like “Pro Choice,” have been twisted into meaningless.

  4. Conservatives care about Black people. That is why conservatives talk about Chicago murders of black youth that liberals have refused to deal with for 50 years. Democrats don’t care.

    What is Black Lives Matter and what is it’s soul? …a cop killer.

    “Black Lives Matter was formed in 2013 by three self-styled “Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries,” who selected as their movement icon convicted cop-killer and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur.[4] Shakur had fled to Cuba after being convicted of the homicide she committed when her car was stopped for a broken tail-light by two New Jersey state troopers. Without any warning, Shakur shot trooper Werner Foerster. The 34-year- old Vietnam veteran was lying wounded on the ground pleading for his life, when Shakur walked over and executed him. Officer Foerster left a widow and a three-year-old son.[5] Black Lives Matter activists refer to the murderer as “our beloved Assata Shakur” and chant her words as a ritual, “at every meeting, every event, every action, every freeway we’ve shut down, every mall we’ve shut down.” [6] The chant is this: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” The last line is lifted directly from the conclusion to the Communist Manifesto, a document and war cry that has led to the murders of millions.[7]”___David Horowitz

  5. An example of Torgerson criticism of BLM the organization that “emotions are being manipulated to push for fundamentally-incorrect solutions to problems that have many moving parts.”

    Saw a video interview where the female student being interviewed asked if the interviewer voted for Trump to which the answer was “yes”. She responded immediately with the accusation, “White Supremacist.” The interviewer asked, “Are you going to vote for Joe Biden?” to which the student responded “yes”. The interviewer denied the accusation and smartly retorted, “Pedophile. Child sniffer”. The student coiled with disdain and exclaimed, “What?!! I am no such thing!!” then asked the interviewer to say “Black Lives Matter”, which the interviewer said all live matter, including black lives. The student again immediately hurled the accusation, “White Supremacist.” The interviewer repeated her Biden question and response, then pointed out that there is video evidence of Biden being handsy with little girls and sniffing their hair, and asked for proof that Trump was a white supremacist. The student could not provide a single example to support her accusation. The hypocrisy of her false accusation and bleeped mantra as well as the irony of her accusations was completely lost on the student. Sad!

    1. Are you suggesting that anti-Trump sentiment and support of the BLM is all based on propaganda?! If so, they you’re correct. 🙂

  6. EOM!!!!!! While attending Georgetown in the 1960’s there were many spirited conversations on campus and in the Hoya newspaper. The Vietnam War was raging!!! No one was ever silenced or censured for their opinion!!!! The present student “ Thought Police “ at Georgetown University needs to be DEFUNDED !!!! EOM!!! Everyone’s Opinion Matters!!!!!

    1. U.C. Berkeley students started the “Free Speech Movement,” which I believe was also sometime in the 60s. Now it’s just another bastion of thought police. It’s a shame how these once-elite universities have deteriorated. I wouldn’t be surprised if students and faculty all started wearing Maoist uniforms.

  7. The debate isn’t happening on campus because that isn’t a place to be if you want to hear productive conversations about anything really. The university has turned into an ideological re-education camp. I’d suggest listening to Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Coleman HughesSteven Pinker or anyone from the intellectual dark web if you’re interested in reason or what the data have to say about any of the current taboos around BLM and their claims.

    1. Sam Harris did a great podcast on the data surrounding the notion of systematic racism in the police forces. It could have been 1/3 the length, but he had to spend sooo much time getting his audience ready to hear something they wouldn’t like.

  8. Such facism is obviously terrible and “res ipsa loquitur”. It’s super scary when the grownups in the room either think it’s a good idea, or are afraid to speak out.

    1. Why post this more than once on Turley’s website? This Brooks piece has nothing to do with free speech and is just a bunch of academic posturing. It doesn’t have one original idea and certainly nothing that supports free speech.

    2. Steve Brown– Brooks says, “But we do have a lot of people on the right and the left who have lost faith in the institutions of free speech and open debate.” I have not heard of any serious people on the right who have lost faith in free speech and debate. What I have seen and heard are people on the left doing all they can do to shut down free speech and debate. I do not understand why Brooks wholly ignores this elephant in the room.

      1. Good point, and it demonstrates that Brooks no longer sees himself on the right and doesn’t discuss politics with those that do.

    3. Brooks is confused, but that shouldn’t be any surprise. His form of classical liberalism was abandoned long about by the Democratic party because it’s basically a core tenet of conservatism. He’s a soft conservative so he still sees the merits of classical liberalism but he’s fooled himself into thinking that the Democratic Party shares those ideals to some extent.

      Within the Democratic party, Liberals are traditional democrats – those who support free speech, women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, etc., and they tend to want to solve problems by working within the existing institutional framework of the nation. Liberals are the old guard such as Pelosi and Bill Clinton (I exclude Hillary because she has no principles).

      The Left, however, generally supports actions that are essentially revolutionary. They want to tear down institutions instead of reforming them. They strive for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity and see current institutions as an impediment to these goals. The left has your historically extremist elements of the Democratic party that tend to be Marxist or Socialist in their thinking.

      The Left USED to be a minority in the party with their extremism tempered by the Liberals in control, but that balance of power has shifted. That’s why the cancel culture is succeeding and why comments by OAC and Ilhan Omar that were initially outlandish, are quickly becoming orthodoxy within the DNC. And of course, much of this Leftist ideology is rooted in academia, where the cancel culture and SJW mentality has been successful for awhile. Now, it’s leaking out into the real world, and that is only emboldening the Leftists in academia. Quite the vicious circle.

      Brooks ends with:
      “I defend liberalism because I think our core problem is ignorance and incompetence and not an elite conspiracy. The world right now is astonishingly complicated, our systems need reform. I don’t think one vantage point can grasp reality or devise solutions. We have to have the open exchange of views that is the essence of liberalism.”

      Obviously, he doesn’t get it. He’s hoping the Democratic Liberals will apply reason to the extremis of the Left, but it’s too late because the Left is in charge and fascists aren’t interested in an “exchange of views.”

  9. I still am astounded that Black Lives Matter– the organization– is not being hounded out of existence. The organization is a fraud– the only black lives that matter are those taken by police; the organization is Marxist — it openly seeks the destruction of this country; the organization is violent– hundreds of millions in property damage so far and a call to kill police officers.. BLM can speak all they want but in a civilized society, it has forfeited its right to be heard just like the KKK.

    The Georgetown student government is just the latest example that our free and open society is on a downward spiral. Need more proof? After witnessing the horrific destruction of our monuments, including that of Christopher Columbus in her own home town, the most powerful democrat in the country could only say, “People will do what people will do.”

    1. If you concluded that these revolutionary ideals were becoming orthodoxy in the DNC, would you still be astounded?

      1. I have many democrat friends who will vote for Biden who have no idea what we are talking about because they are shielded from reality by their sources of news and information. One is a published historian! They believe President Trump’s remarkable and uplifting July 4 speech was “dark and disturbing” because that’s what the New York Times and MSM told them it was, and of course, they wouldn’t dare listen to the speech themselves because they have been trained to hate the President. By the time they discover they have been played for fools, it may be too late.

  10. Lives matter. If you need a color in front of those two words you are in need of some serious therapy.

  11. College administrators have given implicit support to these student behaviors for years thru their silence. I’m sure students these days feel very emboldened to take whatever action they deem necessary to silence the opposition without intervention by anyone. It’s scarily astonishing to see this play out again and again and again.

  12. Actually formulating and publishing counter arguments would take some time and effort. It’s much easier to go along with the Twitter Mob and tweet out some vapid comment while you’re lying on the couch eating Cheetos and watching t.v. Which is why I’m surprised that major corporations and institutions are so easily cowed by tweets and online petitions. Those who purportedly join a cause or threaten a boycott with such little effort are not to be taken seriously. I can easily tweet that I’m boycotting Starbucks, Chick Fil A, or wherever, as an act of virtue signaling, but that “boycott” will last a day or two at best. As for colleges, Congress should consider withholding federal funds from institutions that fail to protect student and faculty constitutional rights, especially First Amendment rights.

  13. People on both sides of this debate should read John M Ellis’s book – The Breakdown of Higher Education: How It Happened, the Damage It Does, and What Can Be Done.

    1. I have not read the book but what drives me nuts is why hasn’t there been a conservative counter attack to this educational madness? Why aren’t colleges popping up that are intolerant of liberal views. You have roughly 50% of the population that would support these institutions.

      1. Because conservatives grow up and move on with their lives and don’t really pay attention to colleges except for sports and when they have kids of their own. The liberals who get all worked up about this, for them the propaganda starts to define their existence and especially when they don’t move into a work environment exposing them to actual grownups who aren’t the monsters they had imagined from their coloring books.

    1. Thanks – I figured out the “B” and “POC,” but was stuck on what the “I”could mean…..So it’s those folks who are indigenous to Mongolia and traversed the ice bridge to North America long, long ago. I think of them as Amer-Asian, due to the fact that their DNA identifies them as Asian. Which is not how they wish to be perceived, but who cares? I don’t think Bruce Jenner is a woman, either. Just a freaky guy who cut-off his d!ck and put on a dress.

  14. Just emailed the president and vp of Georgetown asking them to defend the free and open exchange of ideas.

    1. Could you share their email addresses? Thanks! This is the worst thing to come out of Georgetown since The Exorcist was filmed on their campus.

  15. There is something hypocritical in its basic sense when an institution historically based on the free interaction of ideas, concepts, philosophies, etc. works to thwart that freedom. When that representing a segment of society, BLM, that has been restricted regarding freedoms and rights, wields power sourced from a common uprising against those restrictions against others who seek to voice their opinions, exercising those very freedoms and rights; the hypocrisy is even more heinous. Since the Middle Ages universities have fought to be that crucible of interaction and learning, against despots, religions, and other status quo policing.

    The only conceivably justifiable reason for an institution founded on the freedom of expression to work to curtail opinions mitigating today’s forces for change for the better is that these forces are swinging in an equal and opposite manner from an extreme to an extreme in such a volatile manner that perhaps it is wiser to allow the steam to vent at this time rather than allow conditions of open confrontation. Unfortunately that argument is what caused the pendulum to swing so far away from the desired center where all lives matter. If the movement to catch minorities up regarding freedoms and rights is strong enough it surely should be able to address the opinions of others by allowing these others to openly address the moment without fear of censure. The oppressed becomes the oppressor. Human nature can be seen at work in all its negative ways as well as positive.

    1. Maura Healy, attorney general of Massachusetts said that only after a forest burns down can it regrow. Can I deduct that portion of my taxes that is used to pay for law enforcement?

  16. It seems the only things you can say are exact parroting of the party line. The slightest deviation to invite thought or consider multiple factors in complex situations are re-defined and twisted – they put words in your mouth, and then condemn you for their interpretation. By taking on themselves the right to define the meaning of anyone else’s words they define the person. You are either their parrot or quasi criminal legitimate target for social exclusion and disapprobation. Where’s the diversity? Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the equality? Where’s the social respect? This is the approach of dictators. Who put Tweedle-de-Dee in charge?

  17. THEREFORE, be it RESOLVED by the Georgetown University Student Association Senate as follows:

    CONDEMNS the racist, hateful, and ignorant ideology and vocabulary of the article A Nation of Virtuous Individuals and the public journal entries;
    ENCOURAGES the Senate body and the campus community to file bias reports in response to the article and journal entries;
    REITERATES the necessity for University administration to properly investigate and respond to all bias reports promptly;
    AFFIRMS our support of the Black Lives Matter movement and commits to promoting an inclusive and safe environment as demanded by our Jesuit values of Diversity and Social Justice;
    CALLS UPON Georgetown students to further educate themselves on both the struggles that have been — and continue to be — imposed on Black Americans and the stigmatization of mental health so as to ensure that racist and ignorant rhetoric such as this does not happen again.

    **************************

    CALLS UPON C.A.R.EN ACT

    I couldn’t resist the urge to do this (above).

  18. Two things 1) I first saw BIPOC when the Army got caught using last week and 2) where is this systemic racism?

      1. TIN – BIPOC is Black, Indigenous and People of Color. The Army was slipping in some diversity training where MAGA would have been considered White Supremacist. They did get the training stopped, but you can be sure it will pop up somewhere else.

        1. Thanks, Paul. Sounds like the Army contracted with some “diversity” group and let them put on a presentation without reviewing it first. More taxpayer 💰down the drain!

Leave a Reply