University of Illinois Student Government Demands School Bar Jeff Sessions From Campus

The student government at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has overwhelmingly passed a resolution demanding that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions be barred from campus. Sessions is schedule to speak on February 1, 2022. The “Safe Campus” resolution passed 21-5-1 and declared that the visit is “inappropriate and insensitive” and a “‘slap in the face’ to the university’s commitment to DEI,” particularly during Black History Month.The campaign again Sessions comes on the heels of the refusal of students to fund a speech by former Vice President Michael Pence at Stanford University. (The decision was later overturned on technical grounds).The “Safe Campus” resolution suggests that allowing the former Attorney General to speak on campus is somehow unsafe for students. However, the greatest concern is the statement that it is a “‘slap in the face’ to the university’s commitment to DEI.”

Connecting support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs to limiting free speech is a chilling and tragically ironic notion. Many of us have raised concerns over the lack of diversity of viewpoints on our campuses. The students at Illinois are suggesting that limiting such intellectual diversity is key for any commitment to DEI.

The resolution states:

“Illinois Student Government recognizes and respects every individual’s right to freedom of speech. However, we have the duty to condemn insensitive and discriminatory statements, actions, or the presence of any individual that promotes such behavior.”

That is fine. Debating, protesting, condemning are part of free speech. However, the students then added that the student government “firmly insists that the keynote event should be taken off-campus and moved to outside of February.”

Other students and faculty likely want to hear from Sessions, who was removed as Attorney General for defying former President Donald Trump on the Russian investigation and has a long history in American politics. Forcing delays and remote locations are all ways of creating barriers to the exercise of free speech and association. We previously discussed the concern over the rising generation of censors on our student governments and journals. The link between DEI and limiting diversity of speakers on campus could further worsen that trend toward viewpoint intolerance.


46 thoughts on “University of Illinois Student Government Demands School Bar Jeff Sessions From Campus”

  1. Paul,

    You are missing my point. Of course, anyone can believe anything they want. We are not arguing about freedom of thought. We are discussing freedom of speech. More specifically the freedom to ban dangerous speech by non-governmental entities.

    Do you recognize that private parties have more freedom than the government to ban speech? Turley wants to argue that Little Brother should be as constrained as Big Brother, but he acknowledges that the First Amendment only applies to Big Brother. And for good reason. Private parties have to police themselves over dangerous speech because the government cannot (except when the harm is imminent).

    I am all for good speech inoculating bad speech, but there are exceptions to this general rule as in the case of Trump’s suggestion to use a disinfectant to cleanse the virus. Are you telling me that a network should broadcast to its millions of viewers Trump’s idiot musings and THEN state that it is not advisable that they follow his suggestion? The network knows that many of its viewers dismiss the network as “fake news” thanks to Trump’s denigrating the MSM. Thus many people will ignore the “good speech” of the network and reach for a can of Lysol. How many Trumpists will have to be harmed before it becomes reasonable for a network to refuse to repeat such dangerous speech in its coverage of the White House?

    I have indicated that Fox News has banned all Trumpist lawyers claiming the election was stolen ever since it got sued for defamation for broadcasting and endorsing such falsehoods. Not a peep from Turley. You do realize that these election companies suing Fox cannot control what Fox broadcasts. They can only force Fox to pay them damages. Fox could continue to spread the election conspiracies of Powell and Giuliani if they thought they were true. Responsibly, Fox has decided against continuing to spread falsehoods which undermine peoples’ faith in the integrity of our election. If Fox could see fit to censor such election conspiracy theories AFTER being sued, certainly it could have prevented spreading them in the first place had it acted more responsibly.

    Good speech should inoculate bad speech when there is a GOOD FAITH argument for the “bad” speech. However, when a speaker is a known liar acting in bad faith, e.g. the Russian FSB interfering in our elections, or the speech is a threat to health as in the case of Trump’s disinfectant musings, a broadcaster should censor it out of its responsibility not to harm the public. Not the government mind you. Private parties policing themselves.

    1. Jeff, sorry if I missed your point. I probably should not have responded at all. Had a death in the family and this is not the time for rebuttal. I will try to get back to you soon. I said that I would always have a good faith response to your points as you have always been reciprocal.
      Take care.

      1. Take care. You have my condolences. If it is not out of keeping with the circumstances, good luck on your wages of sin today!

    1. “The title of the column is clearly deceptive. The student body is not “demanding” sessions be kept off campus. “difference between “demanding” and “requesting.”

      This statement comes from an insulting know-nothing. The words used in the letter were “condemns Mr. Jeff Sessions presence” followed by ISG “firmly insists.”

      Get that dictionary out. To insist is to demand.

      Turkey’s don’t get laughed out of town. They get eaten on Thanksgiving.

  2. The left ruins everything. The ACLU used to bug us by protecting the IL Nazis but now they demand censorship.

    The ADL used to exist exclusively to fight anti-Semitism and now they just want to fight Israel and even arguably hire what appears to be Jew haters to leadership positions??

    The NFL supports groups that provide bail for people that go on to commit more crimes against Blacks in our cities. The NBA has decided that being anti-American is fine, but don’t speak out against China?? Watch as the NBA loses American support and eventually gets blacked out in China once the CCP goes so far that even the NBA will have to comment about it.

    The Teachers Unions have moved so far to the left that even docile, busy and trusting parents have decided that what is going on in their kids schools is a crime.

    The left has opened our border and now people are seeing what they actually support and it will be ruinous for the Democrats.

    The left decided that it was a good idea to harangue viewers during awards shows and now some aren’t even on TV anymore as viewership has tanked.

    CNN went full lefty and look at their ratings.

    Our biggest retail corporations decided to give millions to BLM to show how woke they were and now they are closing stores in big cities due to crime spiking due to laws promulgated by allies of BLM and other far left groups.

    See a pattern here? This is “go woke, go broke” writ large!

    1. I’d add Facebook to the pattern. And so many joined FB out of necessity as that’s how schools chose to inform parents. The govt propped up ” new accounts” for years but as parents take over their schools….that’ll reverse.

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