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. Americans now recognize that Jeff Sessions was a spineless wastrel of an AG who willingly stood aside while Rod Rosenstein, James Comey, Robert Mueller and their cast of deep state operatives perpetuated the Russia collusion hoax. The students should be toasting Sessions, not shunning him. The one thing this episode does show is that attempting to appease the progressive mobs does not end well.

  2. Turley says:

    “Debating, protesting, condemning are part of free speech.”

    What does it mean to condemn a person for their speech? It means “to express complete disapproval of, censure.” Turley, for instance, called for Trump to be censured by Congress for his speech on 1/6. The question obtains- what are the consequences of being censured? Are citizens supposed to give a censured person a platform to continue to air the speech which led to his condemnation? That would be absurd!

    Turley says;

    “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.”

    No one is censoring a censured speaker; instead, those who agree with his condemnation are merely shunning and ostracizing him which are the natural and reasonable consequences of having been censured!

    Turley says:

    “Forcing delays and remote locations are all ways of creating barriers to the exercise of free speech and association.”

    Barriers yes, censoring no! Citizens *should* discriminate against individuals who have been censured or their speech otherwise condemned by ignoring and shunning them as long as they are able to speak freely *where they are welcome.*

    1. Hey Jeff. I am honored that you would quote me in one of your replies. But back to the previous subject if I may. Biden never should have said he would limit his nominee in anyway other than qualifications. I am sure there is a Black woman with outstanding qualifications. As you said he said the quiet part out loud. And the Republicans are already misplaying this. The Dems have the votes to get any nominee across the line that they want. And to not wait until a specific nominee is named to start objecting is political suicide. Of course any opposition will be deemed racist and sexist regardless of qualifications. Maybe the Republicans could bring out their version of serial liar Blasey- Ford. But they should wait until after the selection process starts. And it is all moot anyway. The nominee will be very liberal and will not change the liberal/ conservative makeup of the Court anyway. Although I don’t consider Roberts a conservative. This SC Justice is not the hill to die on for the Republicans.

      1. Hi Paul,

        It looks like you are back on your rhetorical feet. I don’t disagree with you though how do you *know* that Ford was lying? I agree that her memory was suspicious, but can you prove it? I thought that was the problem; too little FBI investigation of his background and hers.

        Be that as it may, take a look at this comment of mine. I’d like your opinion:

        https://jonathanturley.org/2022/01/29/university-of-illinois-chicago-law-professor-sues-over-exam-controversy/comment-page-1/#comment-2154651

        1. Let me reply to the ” Know” comment . I will get back to you with my opinion. This is not a court of law and I cannot get testimony under oath. But if my memory serves me correctly NOT ONE of her accusations was corroborated by the individuals who she testified witnessed the supposed actions by Kavanaugh. Most said they were not even at the venue where she said the allegations occurred. I also remember her testimony was delayed because she was afraid of flying. Her boyfriend later stated that they had flown together many times. Not iron clad but as someone who has stated on many occasions of his contempt for serial liar Trump, this would be cause for concern.
          And this in itself certainly does not impeach Blasy- Ford, I recall one P.O.S Avenatti client Julie Swetnick who made similar accusations that were embraced by the Left.

            1. Jeff, Unfortunately I can remember things from years ago better than yesterday sometimes.
              I just hope that Mazie’s wish for the newest justice to take societal impact as equal to the interpretation of the Constitution in determining a ruling never comes to fruition.
              Dinner offer holds. You might want to wait for the weather to get out of single digits.

              1. I am not aware of Mazie’s wish, but I do believe that the Constitution is a living document that is not etched in stone to reflect the values of 18th Century men. One cannot simply interpret the words of the Constitution to solve all our modern problems. Considering the effect of laws on society is not prohibited but is rather inescapable.

                Let me know what you think of my linked commentary.

                1. First on the Constitution. I am not a lawyer and certainly not a Constitutional historian. But I do remember taking a civics classes. If I understand the 3 branches of government correctly, in it’s most basic terms, the Legislative branch writes the laws, the Executive branch enforces the laws and the Judicial, ( in this case the Supreme Court) decides if the laws are Constitutional. In the cases of the Judicial and Executive there are other functions. But to my understanding, the Supreme Court has ONE job. Is it Constitutional or not? How society is effected is the job of the Legislative branch. As they are the one who are accountable to the citizens because they are elected ( voted in, not appointed). Solving ” all of our modern problems” is the job of the Legislative branch. Not The Supreme Court. This is exactly the problem in my estimation. When something cannot be ” solved” and that need is in the eye of the beholder, a certain group of people want to do an end run around the Legislative branch and have the Supreme Court legislate what they don’t have enough votes for ( Congress) to achieve. That is antithetical to the separation of powers. We can get into the calls for ” court packing ” later if you wish.
                  On your commentary, I think we are back to our ” people have the right to be stupid” disagreement again. Now I will grant you that the President is not some random idiot on Twitter. Although prior to him( Trump )being banned you might disagree. If it is true that the White House later said that the comment was sarcasm, that lends massive credence to your position. But I will say it again. If someone wants to believe that the pyramids were built by aliens, so what? Provide a counterargument. If someone wants to say the moon landing was fake, so what? Provide a counterargument. If someone wants to say Elvis is still alive so what? Provide a counterargument. I am against censorship in almost all cases. I know you can’t scream “Fire! “in a crowded theatre.
                  A while back you polled those on this blog to see if you should leave. I said no way, free speech. And I would say the same thing for those to whom I choose not to address on this blog because even though they appear to be on “your side”, they are super partisan, totally disrespectful to anyone who disagrees and seem to always invoke the name “Trump” into any subject matter addressed by Turley. He could comment on the weather in Pakistan and somehow the word” Trump” would get into their reply. That really gets exhausting. ( Hint,Hint).
                  Not sure if I have addressed your request. If I haven’t please let me know.

    2. JeffSilberman, you are correct in saying that Sessions can be shunned. So then, why not just stay away from his speech when he gives it? Oh no. Just shunning is not enough. The students must also call for a physical removing of his presence on campus if he wishes to make his viewpoints known. It’s not surprising Jeff that you are against fair and open discourse. You should be more judicial in the picking of your battles in order to not sully your reputation further.

      1. Whoever controls the prospective venue determines who gets shunned. If I was not open to discourse, I would have left this blog, but here I stay despite the many personal insults that I must endure.

        If it makes you feel better, rest assured that I am a nobody. I suffered ego death as a teenager. I am free to speak my mind because I have no reputation to protect. I have revealed by actual name unlike the majority of individuals here who hide behind a pseudonym.

  3. Hey maybe the universities should take a lesson from Spotify, if you don’t like the line up leave? Let’s see how dedicated they are to their cause? Maybe this is the answer to all the wokies!

    1. HEY ALUMS… Do you want your alma mater to be known as a place where the tail wags the dog in a way that is ignorant and, frankly, stupid? Before you give the University another penny, have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with the Administration.

  4. Although this blog by Professor Turley is but a very small sample of thought in the public square, it’s been repeated over and over again by many commenters on this site that these thin-skinned complaining students will become the policy-makers and leaders of tomorrow. I think it would be a worth effort, and goal, of all of us who think these complainers should never get into leadership positions in the future to start taking names and following up to make as sure as possible that they do not EVER get into positions of influence. Let’s start takin’ names!

    1. Future socialist leaders vying for a position in the ruling class of their classless society. Democratic? No. Constitutional? No. Socialist Fascist? YES!

      Students should be seen (studying) and not heard. Obviously the faculty has turned their former school into a mobocracy.

  5. “The “Safe Campus” resolution” = “Your ideas make us feel uncomfortable. You must be disappeared.”

    When are universities going to learn that when you teach students to indulge their feelings, and reject reason — they will indulge their feelings?

  6. The mindset of “the German American Bund” is taking over. Many of you don’t know what the “Bund” was or when. Trumps father was one. Then he supported the Klan. Trump was our President. America elected him once.

    1. On the other hand he did a superb job as compared to the socialist fascists that replaced him. The whole exercise just proves the party system has failed. Besides it isn’t constitutional. Replace it with the coalition system you might get somewhere. Besides mandatory practice in goose stepping and seig heiling. Woodrow Wilsons liberal Progressive party dream is showing it’s ugly face.

  7. Here’s an inconvenient truth. There is nothing that I’m aware of that prevents the “Jose Padilla Treatment” (also a U.S. citizen) from being done to some Trump supporters that invaded the Capitol on January 6. It seems Biden could imprison them for years without access to a lawyer or trial since Republicans (including Sessions) did this to Padilla. Biden could even send them to Guantanamo Bay. Republicans created that precedent when they violated Ronald Reagan’s Torture Treaty (codified into U.S. federal law).

    The goal is less tyranny, not more, but Sessions did very little to protect other people’s constitutional rights. Today the vast majority of “terrorism persons of interests” are some extreme Trump supporters – not foreign suspects. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Justice, ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Considering this legal precedent, one would think Republicans would want to start being conservative on the “constitutional rule of law” and start following Reagan’s leadership opposing torture. It’s also the law!

  8. While Sessions is the specific target in this case, the bigger issue goes even beyond free speech. Blocking speakers, like tearing down statues and canceling faculty are all of the same ilk — totalitarian responses to any kind of opposition. Today it’s students and college administration, so most of us aren’t affected. But it’s only a matter of time before those little fascists graduate and start running the economy and politics, and turn their twisted beliefs into policy. We have already witnessed how Biden and Democratic congresspeople (like Hirono) blithely disregard law, precedent and the Constitution to get what they want. Biden publicly stated: “by any means necessary.” Those words should send a chill down everyone’s spine. They are the words of the leftist revolutionary.

  9. The administration of the University of Illinois should do their job and teach the student government a lesson. They’re there to learn, right? Suspend the student government, period. Or at a minimum, suspend their advisory capacity. That will illustrate plainly for them the effect of curtailing free speech. After all, what is good for Sessions et al is good for the student government too, right?

  10. When the Republican-controlled Congress violated Ronald Reagan’s Torture Treaty (also codified into federal law) and perpetrated other “unconstitutional” violations (ie: warrantless wiretapping 6 months before 9/11 Qwest Communications, false imprisonment, kidnapping, imprisonment without charge or trial, etc) I don’t remember Sessions speaking out about that. Sessions swore an Oath of Office to protect the constitutional rights of all persons within his jurisdiction. Reagan wanted even cruel treatment, by officials, to be criminally prosecuted. As Attorney General, Sessions had a duty to prosecute post-9/11 torture.

    Now, Sessions wants the U.S. Constitution to protect his First Amendment rights while we still have kidnapped prisoners sitting in Guantanamo Bay never even charged with a crime (another unconstitutional action).

    1. It isn’t a matter of one individual or another “wanting” his first amendment (or any other) rights protected. It’s that the protection is afforded under the Bill of Rights for all citizens, period, and these self-important students have no right to cancel that. Your rights stop where the next persons rights start.

      1. It’s not just citizens, the U.S. Constitution protects all persons within an official’s jurisdiction. The official swears an Oath of Office to do this. For example, if a tourist visits the United States from England, the police and other officials still protect their rights. When Florida farmers were raping undocumented female immigrant workers, those farmers still went to prison and those undocumented workers still have basic rights.

        Torture, kidnapping and Guantanamo Bay is illegal and unconstitutional by design, engineered to appear legal. Biden should close it today. Sessions had a duty to close it also.

    2. Don’t remember it that way. Got any proof. Ah I forgot Socialists NEVER have any proof they just duck and run and go change their manifesto. So the answer is …. who would you debate. No one in the far left or right camouflaged as Democrats is capable.

  11. What do you know, the words you say, the actions you take can have consequences. Nobody is saying Jeff S cannot espouse his views. He is free to speak his mind on any subject. But turns out if your a racist A hole, some people don’t want you at their facility.

    1. I bet baby Trump has no issue with Al Sharpton being on MSNBC??? Is Al a “racist A hole” or not? Can Ellie Mysel keep bringing his racist rants to MSNBC or should Comcast ban him?

      People like Baby Trump (if he/she is old enough) hated Nixon and blamed him for everything from 1968 until 1980 and then blamed Reagan for everything from 1980 until 2000. Once we hit 2000 GWB became the new Hitler and him and Cheney, the new hero of the left, were the war mongers and they wanted them tried by the International Court of Justice. Then of course 2016 happened and then fools like baby Trump decided that Trump caused the world to end and maybe was even responsible for World War II.

      I’m guessing that Baby Trump has a gray ponytail, eats Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, still listens to the Grateful Dead…and never went to the senior prom.

  12. Actually legislatures should be the one to step up and cut funding to these schools that practice viewpoint discrimination. In Illinois, which is right next door, they are so Democratic that is unlikely to happen. Next should be the federal government which has grants to public and private universities and could impose viewpoint diversity or lose such grants. I would even support busting the filibuster for that Law (not a regulation which is often capriciously ignored, changed, or rendered inactive) Thirdly, the Alumni by not supporting the university, can make them take notice. Forth, parents could send their students over to Purdue next door and get an equally outstanding, if not better education, with many viewpoints heard.(there is precedent for states giving certain out of state students in-state-status in areas near another state’s public university) Fifth, well that could be lawyers getting together to protest this but that would be like still standing at the wharf waiting for the Titanic to sail in. Sixth-review the status of the ACLU tax wise.

  13. When are the Alumni going the get involved? There has to be Alumni that have their names on buildings, and lacrosse fields, that know exactly how to convince the University to the importance of diversity of ideas.

  14. Let see now, you’re in high school and you apply to a university. Admissions decides to accept you. Once you get past this process you, the student, is in charge. You decide university policy. You set the tenor of the environment on campus. The administration hides in a closet.

  15. Instead of sending troops to the Ukraine send the members of DEI to support the Ukrainian’s. I’m sure the men, women of the military and their families won’t mind if the DEI members take their place.

  16. At least he speaks out….and is quite correct to do so.

    I would very much enjoy seeing a coalition of like minded Lawyers come together and start taking legal actions to challenge such infringements upon Free Speech.

    A function the ACLU used to perform until it was subverted by the Leftist movement to the mockery of what it was at one time.

    1. “. . . a coalition of like minded Lawyers come together and start taking legal actions to challenge such infringements upon Free Speech.”

      That’s what FIRE does:

      “The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a non-profit civil liberties group founded in 1999 that focuses on protecting free speech rights on college campuses in the United States.”

      https://www.thefire.org/

  17. As long as spineless administrators keep giving in to these adolescent temper tantrums this behavior will continue

  18. These Turley Bombs used to be shocking to those of us who cherish free speech and open debate. Now they are just ho hum p*****ing in the wind diatribes. Limitations on speech have now become so commonplace that they are accepted as the norm. Very unfortunate.

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