Students Block Shapiro From Speaking at Hastings College of Law

We have been following the controversy at Georgetown over the effort to fire conservative law professor Ilya Shapiro. Now, the campaign to cancel Shapiro has extended to other schools, including law schools where free speech should be most fervently and faithfully defended. Yet, students at the UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco shouted down Shapiro to prevent others from hearing his views on the upcoming confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. What is particularly chilling is to see the support of some faculty in this campaign.

Shapiro is under fire for his opposition to the pledge by President Joe Biden to limit consideration for the next Supreme Court nominee to a black female. Shapiro sent out a horrendously badly worded tweet that supported a liberal Indian-American jurist as opposed to a “lesser black woman.” He later removed the tweet and repeatedly apologized. He explained that he was referring to lesser qualifications vis-a-vis his preferred nominee, Sri Srinivasan, a liberal judge on the D.C. Circuit.

Georgetown faculty has supported the effort to fire Shapiro, including my former colleague Paul Butler whose op-ed in the Washington Post is being cited by Hastings faculty and students for barring Shapiro from speaking.

Many of us have encouraged Georgetown to resist such calls in support of free speech and academic freedom protections.

I have defended faculty who have made similarly disturbing comments including “abolishing white people,” “detonating white people,” denouncing policecalling for Republicans to suffer,  strangling police officerscelebrating the death of conservativescalling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters and other outrageous statements. I also defended the free speech rights of University of Rhode Island professor Erik Loomis, who defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence.

Even when faculty engage in hateful acts on campus, however, there is a notable difference in how universities respond depending on the viewpoint. None of these academics calling for Shapiro’s termination called for termination of those professors. Nor should they. This is all about free speech.

Conservative sites like National Review have detailed what occurred at Hastings where Shapiro was going to debate another professor on the selection. Students came for the debate titled “The Battle Over Justice Breyer’s Seat,” but other students insisted that they should not be able to hear Shapiro’s views. The 45-minute video shows activists affiliated with the school’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) pounding the tables and shouting to prevent Shapiro from speaking.

As Shapiro tries to speak, the students yell insults like “When did you start balding? Are you sad that you’re balding? I would be.” Another yelled “You’re a f***ing coward!” as others blocked his view from the lectern or clapped in his face.  The charge of cowardice is particularly odd given Shapiro’s willingness to face such critics. It is the mob that did not want to allow his views to be heard in a free and fair debate.

Academic Dean Morris Ratner tried to remind the students that they are not allowed to block or interrupt events under the student code. Ratner explained “There’s a way to do that that’s consistent with our institutional codes and norms.”

The response was laughter with one student stating the common mantra used today to excuse anti-free speech campaigns:  “It’s not a legitimate point of view!” Another yelled “Remove him off the f***ing campus, because that’s what we want.”

The students are voicing anti-free speech sentiments legitimated by professors and administrators. CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students).

Some faculty take more direct action. At the University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.  In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech.  We also previously discussed the case of Fresno State University Public Health Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher who recruited students to destroy pro-life messages written on the sidewalks and wrongly told the pro-life students that they had no free speech rights in the matter.

Hastings Law Professor Veena Dubal supported the BLSA campaign and objected that the law school would allow such views to be heard on campus: “Why is the voice of someone who has made overtly racist & misogynist statements being elevated? . . . I found [Georgetown Law Professor Paul Butler’s] OpEd in the Washington Post useful in drawing a sharp line between speech protected by the ideal of ‘academic freedom’ & speech that is racist & sexist.”

Such views are being readily embraced to treat free speech as inherently harmful. Polls show growing support for preventing dissenting views from being heard on our campuses. We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting.

The danger is not just that protesters can stop others from speaking but that school authorities can use that speech as a pretext for barring or shutting down events.  The issue is not engaging in protest against such speakers, but to enter events for the purpose of preventing others from hearing such speakers. Universities create forums for the discussion of a diversity of opinions. Entering a classroom or event to prevent others from speaking is barring free speech. I would feel the same way about preventing such people from protests outside such events. However, the concern is not with outdoor events where all groups can be as loud and cantankerous as their voices will bear. Both sides have free speech rights to express. The issue on campus is the entrance into halls, or classrooms to prevent others from hearing speakers or opposing viewpoints by disrupting events.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others.  Berkeley and other schools have been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, even including a few speakers like an ACLU official.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.

A few years ago, I debated NYU Professor Jeremy Waldron who is a leading voice for speech codes. Waldron insisted that shutting down speakers through heckling is a form of free speech. I disagree. It is the antithesis of free speech and the failure of schools to protect the exercise of free speech is the antithesis of higher education. In most schools, people are not allowed to disrupt events. They are escorted out of such events and told that they can protest outside of the events since others have a right to listen to opposing views. These disruptions however are often planned to continually interrupt speakers until the school authorities step in to cancel the event.

Absent enforcement of school rules on such disruptions, there is little hope for the open exchange of ideas and a diversity of opinions on campus. The rules of most schools properly draw the line between protests and disruptions. Everyone is allowed to be heard. However, if you enter to disrupt it, you are disrupting free speech.

The question is whether Hastings will now sanction these students. The law school issued an important and commendable email stating that “disrupting an event to prevent a speaker from being heard is a violation of our policies and norms, including the Code of Student Conduct and Discipline, Section 107 (“Harmful Acts and Disturbances”), which the College will—indeed, must—enforce.” However, it does not state that these rules will be enforced in disciplinary actions taken against these students.

We have previously seen universities decline to do so, even when protesters disrupt actual classes at schools like Northwestern. These students were told that disruption of the events violated the student code and they continued to disrupt the event.

The only way to protect free speech is to enforce these rules against those who would block opposing views from being heard on our campuses.

Here’s video.

125 thoughts on “Students Block Shapiro From Speaking at Hastings College of Law”

  1. Just more evidence that communism won. America is dead and in it’s place a Lord of the Flies version of Amerika. These are not students nor are they educated of being educated. They are Pavlovian dogs who react on cue to destroy western civilization.

  2. Threats are precursors to violence. When someone threatens me, I take it seriously. These threats are directed at me. I’m paying attention. I WILL defend myself.

  3. Mespo is touched in the potatoes. Nothing that he says makes any sense.

  4. Mespo, as long as you have a warm butt hole, there is a way for you to earn an income.

    1. Aninny:

      I like to reply to your tasteless comment but the chuckling prevents me. I’ll just shut up knowing I’ve gotten completely into your oh so fine head.

  5. Emotions must have survival value or else they would not have evolved.

    1. “Emotions must have survival value or else they would not have evolved.”
      Like cancer cells, right?

  6. Putin is dying from cancer and Parkinson’s disease. If he has to die, he might as well take as many of us as he can with him. It could very well go nuclear.

  7. If nuclear contamination from attacked reactors blows over and reaches NATO nations, could this be considered an attack, or
    having to deal with the result and effect of an attack? It might not be a direct attack, but it is certainly a danger, one created by Russia.

  8. Meanwhile, over at the one of the last remaining dungeons of dismal woke ideology, Harvard University has announced that progressive deity and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda ‘soulmate of failed autocrat Gretchen Whitmer’ Ardern will be the principal speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony. A few questions spring to mind.

    Ardern rules over a nation with a per capita GDP less than that of Mississippi. Why not cut out the middleman and ask Mississippi Governor Jonathan Tate Reeves speak instead? Reeves is a white, male Republican so bringing a little diversity to the Harvard campus would advance a fundamental progressive value, no?

    With her failed ‘Zero COVID’ policies, the Ardern regime imposed some of the world’s most draconian and oppressive lockdowns, leading to unprecedented isolation, massive economic and social dislocation, and popular protests rivaling those of Canada’s Freedom Convoy. How exactly is it that Ardern is even allowed to leave New Zealand? Wouldn’t it be best for everyone if she just streamed the address from the safety of lockdown in Wellington? That way, the students could pretend to watch it on their smart phones. What better way to introduce the graduates to the brave new world of the global Zoom elite.

    And what about the massive carbon footprint from jetting halfway around the world just to give a short address at Harvard? Climate change is an existential crisis after all. Maybe she could follow Greta Thunberg’s example and take some kind of sailboat. Ardern could use the time at sea to ponder the science of rising sea levels while inspiring the world with her personal commitment to global COVID quarantines. Or maybe not.

  9. Isn’t WOKE so beautiful, I can live my Fantasy life!
    Also what I observed most of the protestors where of the she/her classification or in normal language Female.

  10. It is ironic that the students who feel entitled to prevent others from speaking, often feel entitled to have the entire world listen to their own opinions.

    It would be funny if Shapiro, or his proxy, followed these students around all day, laughing, shouting, and clapping whenever they try to speak. Golden Rule.

  11. If you have cancer, do you want the best oncologist, who specializes in your particular cancer, or do you want a black female oncologist, specifically hired because of her race, with lesser qualifications than other applicants?

    Who cares what color skin, hair, or eyes your oncologist has. You just want him or her to save your life.

    All we had to do was ensure that applicants are not discriminated against based on race and gender. Actually, I can’t even say that. There are movie roles which deliberately discriminate to cast actors of a particular race. The Twilight movies, for instance. They required actors to submit a Certificate of Degree, issued by a tribe, in order to audition for any of the Quileute rolls. There are also gender requirements in certain jobs, such as women only to sleep in the girls cabins at camp.

    We should seek the best legal minds our country produces to sit on the Supreme Court. Instead it’s like a twisted pageant, where contestants compete based on race, gender, and other intersectional identity politics, and actual legal qualifications seem least important.

    Character, merit, reliability, ethics, wisdom, and talent are not skin deep.

  12. People who shout down an invited speaker, or anyone trying to speak to defend their position, clearly feel unequal to a reasoned debate. They seek to prevent anyone else from hearing this opposing point of view, because they do not feel they have a strong position.

    Shapiro opposes race and gender discrimination. The world’s gone mad if that’s now considered unpardonable.

  13. So many mothers hoped to give their children a good, happy life, but then Putin ruined all of that.

    1. The sheer waste of it all is tragic. This is a war about Russian greed and thirst for power. The Ukrainians are fighting to save their homeland, their families, and their way of life. That’s the good fight. Putin has drowned two countries in mothers’ tears for his ego.

        1. Maybe most people, Prof Turley even?, are unable to just forget Putin just for a moment to consider the USA own home grown American Hating Evil Scum.

          Henry Kissinger & his band of trained evil monkeys (Klaus Schwab), etc., are still mucking up the gears of the people’s govts of the world.

          I’m not going to write a book, here’s what Kissinger/Crew still thinks about You/Me & all our family & friends:

          (Pick our own source here on this topic & mine is not P Turleys opinion here on Ukraine)

          “Henry Kissinger’s quote of; “Military Men Are Just Dumb, Stupid Animals To Be Used As Pawns In Foreign Policy” is the real deal, and he really said it. It is fairly rare that the architects of illegal, imperial wars of aggression are caught saying what they REALLY feel, but this is one of those times.”

          BTW: Where is Biden/Pelosi/Schumer/McCarty/McConnell/EU Idiots going to get the Gold to buy Russia’s/Putin Oil/Gas now they’ve stolen Putin’s assets?

          Then about all those US funded illegal Bio-Weapons labs in Ukraine? Many of us would be very interested in hear the story about our US Govt’s Illegal Crimes Against Humanity in Ukraine & here in the US.

        2. You are correct. The conditions leading to war, war and the environmental conditions thereafter are often quite complicated. The common everyday citizens are usually those who suffer while the war makers benefit.

          It will be interesting to understand the heart of the matter. Regardless, the tyrant opened Pandora’s box. He has blood on his hands.

          When the smoke clears there will be a lot of “splaning’ to do.

      1. Karen:

        “The sheer waste of it all is tragic. This is a war about Russian greed and thirst for power. The Ukrainians are fighting to save their homeland, their families, and their way of life. That’s the good fight. Putin has drowned two countries in mothers’ tears for his ego.”
        You paint with too broad and too bright a brush. The Ukrainians have plenty of culpability here from shelling ethnic Russians in the east to provoking the Russian bear by threatening to join NATO and point a missile-shaped dagger at its heart. That’s the realpolitik reality. Unfortunately, yours is a text book ad misericordiam argument and a resort to emotions is exactly what we don’t need right now.

          1. DBB:

            “Vlad ther Mad is 150 years past his use-by date.”
            Yeah, juvenile insults will get us out of this Dim-constructed mess. What we need is pressure on Ukraine to recognize breakaway Ukrainian republics in the east (democracy, you know) and assurances that Ukraine will remain neutral in the Russia-NATO relationship.

              1. DBB:

                “No reasoning with madmen: Munich 1939.”

                Putin is hardly a “madman.” (Nor was Hitler for that matter. Evil, but hardly a madman). In fact, he’s a stone cold realist. A madman jumps into action without thought. Putin has communicated his intention since 2008 that he will not tolerate a NATO state on his souther weild with missles just minutes from Moscow. Same position we took in the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Was Kennedy a madman?) Likewise Putin’s attack plan is masterful. He moved in slowly with green troops to give the Ukrainians time to petition for peace and capitulate. Now that they’ve gone all Masada on the Russians they’ll likely face the same fate unless Zelensky — as he said today — is anxious to negotiate. Putin will drive a lot harder bargain that will culminate with a neutral Ukraine, two Russia influenced republics in the east and Zelensky out on his ear working night clubs with his raunchy standup routine in the Catskills.

                1. mespo72* — Oh? But he will tolerate a NATO country on the outskirts of St. Petersburg? Not to mention being surrounded by NATO countries in Kaliningrad.

                  He has on several occasions telegraphed his intension of re-forming the USSR. Mad.

                  1. DBB:
                    It would take me days to educate you about Russia’s history, Peter the Great, warm deep water ports, the Black Sea and the historical and strategic importance of all of that. Suffice to say, like most of your Leftist brethern you don’t know history, you don’t understand the complexities of governing Russia and you likely never will because to you life is a moral crusade and you’re always wearing the white hat. All the rest of it be damned.

                    1. mespo72* — Don’t bother. I had a year of European history my junior year at CalTech. We went as far as the guns of August. Since then has been on my own. Including extensive visits.

            1. Well to quote Churchill about another pompous, crowd favorite intellectual (Edward Halifax) of his time: “Krugman? Krugman is an idiot.” He famously said in 2016 “If Trump is elected, he will bring global recession.” What an authority! What a moron!

              1. Krugman readily admits that he was wrong.

                Did Edward Halifax have a Nobel prize?
                How well did Churchill do as First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI?

                1. DBB:

                  “Krugman readily admits that he was wrong.

                  Did Edward Halifax have a Nobel prize?
                  How well did Churchill do as First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI?”
                  Well Churchill did well enough to reprise the role in WW2 and then on to PM winning both conflicts.. Halifax was governor-general of India and later foreign secretary. He turned down the PM job, thankfully. So like Krugman he was handsomely rewarded for failure.

                    1. Who can argue with leftist wiki? My reading 20 or so books on the subject (William Manchester’s series being the best) is so much fluff, I suppose. My guess is that you’re obliquely referring to the Gallipoli debacle but that’s impossible to tell given your shallow knowledge as revealed through your sources. Suffice to say that blaming Churchill for that is like blaming Roosevelt for Pearl Harbor. There were lots of factors not the least of which were the delay between naval bombardment and beachhead landing. Almost 3 weeks. That’s a tactical failure and not a strategic one. Churchill’s “bold and imaginative plan” (as one military historian put it) was undermined by feckless commanders and mediocre ground leadership. Like so many great men, his ideas were subverted by lesser actors.

                2. David, you linked but didn’t provide anything. Likely you are thinking about Gallipoli. That was a failure, but one must know the history of Gallipoli. Gallipoli was poorly defended when Churchill designed his operations. Unfortunately, his superiors delayed the attack until Gallipoli was strengthened, so should the blame fall entirely on Churchill’s shoulders or should the blame fall elsewhere?

                  Now, what were you saying about Churchill?

                3. David: “How well did Churchill do as First Lord of the Admiralty in WWI?”


                  Churchill was brilliant in WWI as First Lord of the Admiralty. The fleet Britain had when the war started was largely due to Jackie Fisher and Churchill. Churchill was blamed for the Dardanelles failure but that disaster occurred after it was too late for Churchill’s proposal to succeed and when Kitchener took over. They couldn’t fire Kitchener. It was his face on all the recruiting posters.

                  Tanks made victory for the Allies likely even if America didn’t come in and they existed only because of Churchill in the Admiralty after the army turned the idea down. Funny that the navy under Churchill should create that winning land weapon. Churchill was a genius.

        1. Mespo,

          Thanks for that comment and perspective. I haven’t paid close attention to the problems there and held my opinion somewhat in abeyance. Maybe nobody is in the right in the way we too often sort issues.

          I was interested to see the Russian army run into so many competency problems. I thought they were more skilled. I suspect the competency of our military has been significantly degraded after the social tinkering of Obama and Biden and Congress. We should take warning. But we won’t. Some of the brilliant successes of the great Army of Northern Virginia came down to there knowing their primary job was to fight and fight with everything they had. Imagine what would happen to someone arguing about pronouns in one of their camps.

  14. “I meant to do that.” Putin is starting to sound like Pee Wee Herman: “The invasion is going according to plan. I meant to have thousands of my soldiers killed and hundreds of my tanks set ablaze.”

  15. Maybe some of these companies that are supporting this kind of behavior from these students should consider hiring the professors and placing them on their board of directors give these students managerial positions. These people with their philosophies should really increase the bottom line.

  16. “Students Block Shapiro From Speaking at Hastings College of Law”

    – Professor Turley

    …and Putin invaded Ukraine.

    That’s what communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) do – dictatorship and authoritarianism.

  17. I could solve this problem in half an hour.

    I would meet with the disruptive students and gently explain to them that they must immediately stop the disruption. I could say that any student who does not stop will be arrested by campus police in the next five minutes, charged with any offence I can find on the books, permanently expelled from the university, and charged with trespass if they attempt to return to the campus after expulsion.

    Some might even believe I am serious and stop this behavior and listen politely or leave. Those who don’t will be arrested, charged, expelled and banned from the campus.

    The next time I have to give that warning to a group of disruptive students I suspect that most will listen. For those who don’t, wash, rinse and repeat.

    Any faculty members who support this disruptive activity can expect to join the homeless in a big cardboard box. They won’t be on campus. That might clean out most of the wretched “studies” faculty.

    Of course that would require a school administration and faculty that doesn’t support heckling censorship and that actually has spines. If those two conditions are not met, the condition that they support free speech and have the courage to stand up for it, then get new faculty and administrators.

    This Red Guard crap has to stop.

    1. Half an hour? University of Florida solved a similar lone wolf incident when he was disruptive at a planned university event with John Kerry speaking. UF police did the right thing then and UC Hastings should have done likewise. Its not like they have any brain cells that would not benefit from the jolt

  18. Putting the issue at hand to one side for a moment – these kids will not be able to avoid opposing views for the duration of their lives, and they will not be able to simply shut down or cancel that random guy on the street. Is this matter egregious? Yes. i’m more concerned about the broader implications of generations raised and then intentionally groomed to expect that their own intolerance is some kind of virtue.

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