Yale Law Students Disrupt Conservative Speaker . . . Then Object to the Presence of Police as Creating an Unsafe Environment

We have been discussing how academics and students now define blocking speech or shouting down speakers to be an exercise of free speech. It is the very denial of free speech but also violates the rules of many universities. Yet, administrators are either supportive of such cancelling efforts or fearful in being tagged the next racist or reactionary by a mob. So we have scenes like the one at Yale Law School where students disrupted a conservative speaker and required the intervention of campus police to safely remove the speakers. It is particularly distressing to see such scenes unfold at law schools where free speech was once taught as a defining right in our system. As shown recently at Georgetown Law School, free speech is often portrayed today more as a threat rather than a guarantee in our system. Indeed, Yale students later complained that the police presence at the event created an unsafe space for students as they disrupted the event. Police were needed to escort the speakers safely out of the event.

The event was precisely what law schools once strived to present in sharing diverse viewpoints and allowing for the opportunity of dialogue on issues that are important to our society.  A panel featured Monica Miller from the American Humanist Association and Kristen Waggoner, a conservative Christian of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) nonprofit to discuss issues related to the ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court over religious exercise, free speech, and anti-discrimination laws.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the panel was going to explore various issues. However, it also allowed a discussion from a liberal atheist and a conservative Christian on the right of a baker in refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. I have previously written about that case as well as the new case coming before the Supreme Court.

Notably, as Professor Kate Stith tries to remind the students that Yale guarantees the right to free speech, one student yells “this is free speech” in shouting down such speakers. Stith finally tells the students to “grow up.”

After the speakers were escorted out of the room, the protesters chanted “protect trans kids” and “shame, shame” in the halls of the law school in protest of the speakers being able to appear on campus.

Miller, who opposes Waggoner’s nonprofit as a “hate group,” shared Waggoner’s shock at the conduct of the law students and, as a liberal advocate, noted that “if you can’t talk to your opponents, you can’t be an effective advocate.”

Yale expressly prohibits this type of disruption. The guidance posting states:

Yale is committed to fostering an environment that values the free expression of ideas. In 1975, Yale adopted the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale (the Woodward Report ) as providing the standard for university policy. This guidance addresses the university’s freedom of expression policy as applied in a variety of situations.

The exercise of free expression on campus is subject to three general conditions:

1) access to a university event or facility may not be blocked;

2) a university event, activity, or its regular or essential operations may not be disrupted; and

3) safety may not be compromised.

Two days after event, 417 students reportedly signed an open letter that not only supported the disruption but claimed that protesters were “imperiled by the presence of police” as they worked to prevent the exercise of free speech. They also attacked Stith and the Federalist Society for hosting an event that “profoundly undermined our community’s values of equity and inclusivity.”

The open letter states in part:

“It is important to recognize that, nationwide, LGBTQ people are six times more likely to be stopped by the police than non-LGBTQ people and trans people are especially abused by the criminal legal system. The danger of police violence in this country is intensified against Black LGBTQ people, and particularly Black trans people. Police-related trauma includes, but is certainly not limited to, physical harm. Even with all of the privilege afforded to us at YLS, the decision to allow police officers in as a response to the protest put YLS’ queer student body at risk of harm. Police have targeted Yale students who did not appear to “belong” before, so concerns about police presence are real and present for many in our community.

The safety of a large contingent of YLS students—a group of largely LGBTQ and BIPOC students—was put at risk, possibly by our own administration. The risk was not just hypothetical: one of the officers called into SLB went as far as to try to move a trans student by physically pushing against them with his much larger body, despite the fact that the student was standing where OSA representatives had asked them to stand.”

Law student Rachel Perler objected that “[It’s] just ironic that students who showed up to engage in free speech, either by asking questions or by protesting the event, were faced with armed police.”

There is no indication that Yale will enforce its rules and hold anyone responsible for disrupting the event. That is a common pattern in schools ranging from Northwestern to Georgetown.

What is also notable is the silence of most of the faculty at Yale. That is also a common factor in these attacks on dissenting viewpoints on campuses. The message is clear. Events featuring dissenting views, particularly from conservative or libertarian speakers, will not be tolerated.

Notably, alumni at Princeton have also objected to how the university has repeatedly undermined free speech despite its strong commitment to guaranteeing the expression of diverse viewpoints. Edward Yingling and Stuart Taylor Jr. have detailed that troubling history of the university fueling attacks on faculty and students holding opposing views. The organization, Princetonians for Free Speech, have recently called on the board of directors to investigate and intervene to preserve diversity of thought at the university.

It is an all-too-familiar pattern being played out across the country. The record of most schools is at best passive aggressive in declining to enforce their free speech rules. The result is a chilling effect on free speech that is perfectly glacial.

137 thoughts on “Yale Law Students Disrupt Conservative Speaker . . . Then Object to the Presence of Police as Creating an Unsafe Environment”

  1. Judge Silberman’s email came following reports that a group of about 100 Yale Law students disrupted part of a bipartisan panel on civil liberties
    Silberman continued: “All federal judges—and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech — should carefully consider whether any student so identified should be disqualified from potential clerkships.”
    What Constitutional Judicial Bubble does Judge Silberman live within?
    He apparently has Not been watching what has happened in the US over the past 50-years!
    These 100 Yale Law students have now cemented their careers within the Left Wing Liberal Socialist Democrat community and will have top jobs with the Obama-Biden-Judges, ACLU affiliates, Media partners and Big Tech.
    Their Law School predecessors’ are now the Anti Law DA’s that are destroying any semblance of ‘Law and Order’ across the US.

      1. Yes, that was noted in the Slate article I linked to, as were the responses of some of the other judges on the list.

  2. Since when do those studying to become attorneys need a ‘safe space?’
    Haven’t these snowflakes ever seen the episodes of “Law & Order” in which attorneys are threatened with violence, and in some cases shot and killed?

    Those scriptwriters aren’t making those stories up — those stories are based in fact.

    In my view, every law school should require all first year law students to attend a set of presentations about the real world of lawyering, the risks, not just the rewards.

    1. None of the Yale law students will be prosecutors at the county/city level so they will never see real life at all. They will be employed as clerks in liberal courts and DC political law firms and as congressional attorneys in liberal reps offices, those who remain will work in high dollar corporate law looking for legal ways to screw the little guy.

  3. Maybe it’s time for these Universities to inform their entitled brats that everyone ‘s speech is ‘unsafe’ to somebody on campus and that these perceived threats are best avoided by cancelling ALL outside speakers, both in-person and through Zoom. Any group using student fees to violate this cancellation should be under threat of dissolution. Then see if the crybabies are still so fascistic. Time for the Far Left to experience ‘Illiberal Liberalism ‘.

    1. Unfortunately, cancelling all outside speakers would only affect conservatives because there is no need for liberal outside speakers as they already fill all the teaching positions in all the classrooms! There is no way to fix any of this without the administrators in higher ed growing a backbone and enforcing their own speech codes which disallows shutting down speakers as was done in this case.

  4. This is the generation our country has produced. These students’ behavior was not an anomaly, an outlier. It’s de rigueur on college campuses across America.

    The public education system and universities together have molded graduates who believe that only their opinions should be protected. They do not believe a dissenter has the right of free speech. They view opposing ideas as violence. Ironically, higher education renders them unequipped to rationally argue their point of view. If they had solid facts behind them, they should welcome a rigorous debate. Instead, they run from it. They scream and shout like giant sized toddlers throwing tantrums, denying others the right to hear opposing views.

    After menacing conservative speakers, often threatening violence, they proclaim that the police are the threat.

    These are entitled, emotionally fragile, unreasoning creatures.

    The few reasonable, responsible, thinking individuals we produce become targets of these Brown Shirts, or Red Army.

    We are watching the decay and rot of American greatness.

  5. Yale now reminds me of the movie Animal House, but stupider, lower standards, and more vicious

  6. “Miller, who opposes Waggoner’s nonprofit as a “hate group”
    not surprised that Miller who is on the left would refer to Waggoner’s group as a “hate group” . the terms “hate” or “hater” are thrown around like pennies. they replaced the use of nazi and fascist which lost their impact due to overuse. Soon “hate” and “hater” will be replaced by a new term. sadly whenever I see someone like Miller use those terms I know that they are unable to hold an intellectual debate or that they lack information that supports their position. instead they just wish to shut down debate much like the protesting students

  7. We are rapidly getting to the poiont where the only viable solution to the cesspool that academia has become involves thousands of bulldozers.

  8. Jeffy says:
    “Liberals seemingly excel at education. Must be because of their open minds, I guess.“

    Jeffy,
    Each time you submit your counter replies, I LMAO. I envision Norman Bates dressed in his mothers old dress with the gray wig thing, sitting in front of a keyboard. As he pounds away at the keyboard he’s verbalizing each word to a desiccated corpse in a rocking chair. Geez I loved Alfred Hitchcock movie’s, I guess?

    1. Margot Ballhere is a puppet of The Blog Stooge. Other puppets include: Ralph, Mistress Addams, Feldman, El Cid, Thinkthrough, Pblinca, N.N. and many, many more.

      1. This particular Anonymous, who comments 100 times a day is calling someone else a Blog Stooge? Anonymous obviously needs some love because he is sure crying out for it here. He is a pompous a** and a domineering, weak minded fool.

        Now as for Jeff…I see a weak little man who yearns for friendship and acceptance, He is not as bad a guy as Anonymous, but they both use the contrarian thing as a way to get noticed and boy, do they get noticed,

        The sad thing is that bot Jeff and Anonymous never went to their prom, never dated, never had a good group of friends and never even knew that they were odd. Personality is like a muscle or a physical condition, some people are born with issues, some you can see and some you can only know by reading their comments!!!

  9. Each participating law student should be awarded an automatic F in constitutional law, either retroactively or prospectively.

  10. Sir Isaiah Berlin ‘Hedgehog and Fox’ 1953

    “There exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision… and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory… The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs the second to the foxes.”

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