New Mexico Students Shutdown Conservative Speaker in Latest Attack on Free Speech

We have another anti-free speech incident involving liberal protesters shutting down an event. Fox News pundit Tomi Lahren was cancelled at the University of New Mexico by students who refused to let others hear her remarks.  There is, however, a major (and hopeful) difference in this incident: the school is actually pledging to hold the students accountable. Some of us have called for such action for years to quell the anti-free speech movement sweeping across campuses.Groups organized on social media by posting an image which read “F**K WHITE SUPREMACY — Rally Against Tomi Lahren’s Speech at UNM — We Won’t Allow Racist Rhetoric to be Spread on Our Campus Unopposed.” The result was pandemonium as students entered the auditorium chanting “F**k Tomi Lahren” while others banged on the door. The threats led to Lahren, her father and a Turning Point USA representative having to lock themselves in a “back room” until local police arrived to support the campus cops already on scene.

The students celebrated their shutting down the free speech of others.

Fox News reported that “the University of New Mexico insists students will be held accountable for their actions” and added

“The safety of our campus community and visitors is our first priority. We are deeply disappointed in the actions of those individuals who intentionally chose to disrupt a scheduled speaker and infringed upon the rights of the speaker and those who attended the event to listen and engage, vandalized University property and unlawfully pulled a fire alarm. UNM is investigating these incidents and will hold anyone who violated the law or University policies accountable.”

If the university fulfills its promise, it will be a rare example of such accountability. Universities often mouth support for a diversity of viewpoints while not taking actions to discipline those who deny the free speech of others. That is a common pattern in schools ranging from Yale to Northwestern to Georgetown.  Blocking others from speaking is not the exercise of free speech. It is the very antithesis of free speech. Nevertheless, faculty have supported such claims. 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).

The most chilling aspect of this story is how many on the left applaud such censorship. A prior poll shows roughly half of the public supporting not just corporate censorship but government censorship of anything deemed “misinformation.” We discussed this issue with regard to a lawsuit against SUNY. It is also discussed in my law review article, Jonathan Turley, Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

We have seen how in universities (including state schools) this can turn into a type of “heckler’s veto” where speeches are cancelled in advance or terminated suddenly due to the disruption of protesters. 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 disputing events.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others.  Berkeley has 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.  At another 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.

The University of New Mexico can defend diversity of viewpoints by holding these students accountable. Those who entered the event to disrupt it (or engaged in threatening conduct) should be reprimanded, suspended or expelled depending on the gravity of their conduct. We are at a critical point in higher education where we must either fight to preserve free speech or yield to a mob-led orthodoxy on our campuses.


170 thoughts on “New Mexico Students Shutdown Conservative Speaker in Latest Attack on Free Speech”

  1. Ok here we go again. My position on this foolishness has not changed since post high school. Keep it simple.
    College is a Privilege. You are Not forced to attend. You ask to be admitted and spend thousands of dollars to be there if you are
    accepted. These are institutions of higher learning. Anything you do as students or staff that disrupts the process should result in immediate probation and expulsion if it happens a 2nd time. That would seriously reduce or end these protests. Read and sign papers saying you know about this policy and accept it as a part of the admission process.

  2. Max Coll, in 2003, led a movement in New Mexico to secede from the United States, principally driven by his strong opposition to our invasion of Iraq in that year.
    19 years later, these ‘protesters’ are the derivative of Coll’s efforts, in a different venue — shouting down those they don’t like.
    Max Coll’s calls for secession went unheeded and unheard by most: these current protests are getting far more ‘press’ coverage than Max ever got.

    Yesterday, I wrote about the Kent State killings in May of 1970 — THAT event got more press coverage than anything else at the time — and Neil Young wrote a smashing hit song about it which still pays his rent!

  3. Any views on the William Barr piece in the Atlantic. This is upsetting and I’m getting intestinal distress.

  4. Please explain the difference between phony propaganda media by an overly paid political hack to achieve an endpoint and media baloney by a third rate comedian?

  5. Take me to the time machine and what is the difference between government documents in an unsecure location and a diary. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

  6. More On Turning Point USA:

    January 6th / Covid Disinformation

    Turning Point USA’s close ties to Trump generated more criticism in the run-up to the 2020 election and afterwards, when co-founder Charlie Kirk promoted false claims that Trump’s loss was due to fraud.

    Turning Point Action worked with about a dozen other groups to support Trump’s 6 January “March to Save America” by bringing busloads of Trump allies to DC for the rally that preceded the Capitol attack.

    On another disinformation front, Kirk’s groups have been busy this year promoting falsehoods on campuses and in social media about vaccine mandates, efforts that the groups have used to raise funds and which have sparked criticism from health experts.

    Kirk wrote false text messages charging that Biden has sent “goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a covid-19 vaccine”, as the Washington Post first reported.

    Further, a Kirk non-profit ran alarmist and erroneous Facebook ads, which were seen millions of times, stating that the government has “NO RIGHT to force you to inject yourself with an experimental vaccine,” and warning that in response to advice about shots “LOCK YOUR DOORS, KIDS!!”

    Edited From:

    Professor Turley pretends not to understand why New Mexico’s students were so riled. But the students clearly recognized that Turning Point USA was behind the scheduled event. They knew that Turning Point had supported the January 6th protests.

    Turning Point USA was also active in spreading Covid disinformation and opposing vaccines and mask mandates. But here’s an interesting twist, Turning Point’s co-founder, William Montgomery, died of Covid in July of 2020.

    1. “Turning Point USA’s close ties to Trump generated more criticism in the run-up to the 2020 election and afterwards, when co-founder Charlie Kirk promoted false claims that Trump’s loss was due to fraud.”
      You’re a democrat, i.e., a pathological liar.

      1. Please explain why you make such a provocative statement. I sense your history is clouded from reality.

    2. “. . . why New Mexico’s students were so riled.”

      An Apologist apologizing for the goonish behavior of Leftist students.

      Imagine that.

  7. Fox News Coverage:

    Dearie Wants Assertion That Records Were Declassified

    But Trump’s Lawyers Fear Legal Peril

    Special Master Raymond Dearie held a hearing with former President Trump’s legal team and Justice Department prosecutors in New York on Tuesday and outlined his plan for an independent review of records seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid of Mar-a-Lago last month.

    Dearie called Trump lawyers and lawyers for the government to federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday, and admitted that there is “little time to complete the tasks” he has as special master before the court-mandated deadline of Nov. 30.

    Dearie told Trump lawyers that they needed to prove whether documents held at Mar-a-Lago, and later seized by the FBI, were declassified. Trump’s lawyers argued that they should get more time to assert the classification of the documents seized.

    Dearie, though, said that the Justice Department gave him “prima facie evidence that these are classified documents.”

    During a back-and-forth between Trump lawyer James Trusty and the special master, Trusty suggested Dearie was “going a little beyond what judge Cannon contemplated.”

    Dearie replied that he was “taken aback” by that comment, and read part of the order by Cannon, detailing what he is expected to do as a special master.

    As for the declassification of records, Trusty argued that Trump, while serving as the sitting president of the United States, could declassify whatever records he wanted.

    “The presidential records act does supersede traditional classification concerns,” Trusty said, adding that presidents “do have unfettered access along with unfettered authority.”

    Dearie said if Trump’s lawyers will not assert that records have been declassified and the Justice Department instead makes an acceptable case that they remain classified, then, “as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it.”

    Trusty said Trump’s team should not be forced to disclose a possible defense, but Dearie replied: “I guess my view of it is, you can’t have your cake and eat it” too.

    Meanwhile, Dearie gave Trump’s team until Friday to pick a third-party vendor to scan, host and provide both parties access to the materials seized by the FBI.

    Edited From:

    1. Even Turley is agreeing with Dearie: “The court’s request for support of the declassification was highly predictable and the absence of support at this stage is a striking.”

      1. “The court’s request for support of the declassification was highly predictable and the absence of support at this stage is a striking.”

        At this stage the determination is meaningless. So far no crime is charged. The case is simple. Classified documents illegal held by Trump. Charge him and lets have a trial.

        1. They’re in the midst of their investigation and couldn’t care less that you want it rushed.

          The sole issue right now is whether they can use the documents in their investigation now or are prevented by Cannon’s ruling.

  8. Upstate Farmer and those negatively impacted by ATS:

    Historically on the blog, people complained because of deleted responses. I was not the only one to notice, but I did note that most of these deleted responses came in response to ATS. I learned that if one posted under a banned address, their responses were deleted from the blog.

    There were obvious upticks when ATS said something that ticked a lot of people off. He did the same to me, so I watched and noted what he was doing and when. Sometimes, when the heat was on, I think ATS was spiteful to those with whom he disagreed, so he planted a response he knew would be replied to by many, and his and theirs would likely be deleted. That is spitefulness.

    I tested to see if I could predict when ATS would use an address where the probablility of deletion was high. Sure enough, ATS’s response and my own were deleted. I predicted this on the blog, and it proved correct. I posted the address where this occurred before, but I don’t have it readily available.

    Since then, I have made many posts responding to ATS where I say self-deleted or something similar because ATS writes replies meant to create disharmony. That address is deleted, much like his initial statement and your response. Handily ATS was able to recapture it from web files archived, likely because he is trying to prove his case. Not all blog responses are archived unless someone requests things to be saved. I think he is playing his usual games presently.

    Of course, WordPress can delete comments with certain words or by accident, as has happened to all of us, but none of them exists in the pattern seen with ATS. As you recognize, EB had some posts deleted, likely because of his frequent use of four-letter words. There too, everything below his post was deleted as well. Others were banned, but I don’t think they are spiteful in the fashion of ATS.

    A new icon and character have arisen, Jonathan, Who is trying to explain what is happening. ATS has used many icons and names. He has been caught on those as well. I guess, like the other phony names, Jonathan is ATS as well. He is deceitful, a liar, and spiteful.

    Take note, under the anonymous icon, ATS has been called Anonymous the Stupid and ATN. Some have their special names for him. Naming him provides the ability to look at his patterns and history.

  9. Students are being brainwashed to behave like Brown Shirts. They have no respect for the free speech of others, and attack the character of people with no regard for truth. They want everyone to care passionately about their opinions, and hang on their every word, yet they use the threat of violence to prevent others from having the right to speak.

    Little Fascists.

  10. OffTopic: Is Czar Putin going to give up?

    OnTopic, sort of: I used to walk through the UNM campus on my way to and from 2nd half of 6th grade. In those days of yore it was the edge of the city on the NE side.

  11. Professor Turley Writes:

    “The threats led to Lahren, her father and a Turning Point USA representative having to lock themselves in a “back room” until local police arrived”.

    KEY PASSAGE ABOVE: “a Turning Point USA representative”.

    It so happens that Turning Point USA is essentially a MAGA youth organization that receives millions in funding from conservative donors. Those millions are then used to influence student elections at colleges all over the country. The concept is to cultivate the next generation of conservative leaders.

    Ironically Professor Turley notes the presence of Turning Point in a column that is supposedly about ‘free speech’. Ironic because Turning Point publishes a watchlist that presumes to name academics who ‘discriminate against conservatives’. However named professors have a tendency to get threats from anonymous strangers!

    Turning Point has now started a second watchlist to name school board members whom they judge ‘too liberal’. And getting named to that list is a ticket to harassment by anonymous wingnuts.

    Below are the first 2 paragraphs of Wikipedia’s article on Turning Point USA.


    Turning Point USA (TPUSA), or Turning Point, is a right-wing American conservative nonprofit organization that advocates to identify, educate, train, and organize students to “promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.” The organization was founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk and Bill Montgomery. TPUSA’s sister organizations include Turning Point Endowment, Turning Point Action, Students for Trump, and Turning Point Faith. The group also works closely with PragerU. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, TPUSA “is now the dominant force in campus conservatism.”

    The organization is known for its Professor Watchlist, a site that claims to expose professors that TPUSA says “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom”. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, TPUSA has attempted to influence student government elections in an effort to “combat liberalism on college and university campuses’. In 2021, TPUSA started the School Board Watchlist website. It publishes the names and photos of school board members who have adopted mask mandates or anti-racist curricula.

    Edited From:

    1. Wiki? Wiki?? You are kidding right. If Wiki is your source, you have no source, just leftist propaganda.

    2. That justifies it, eh? Next will you support the guy who ran down the 18 year old kid in ND for being a Republican?

      Not to mention, Wiki is progressive propaganda that regularly censors other views.

    3. They should look at the state Depts of Education to see what they are pushing on school boards. Same with the superintendent associations. And, “education-oriented” NGOs. Some push Marxist and/or WEF ideas.

    4. Anonymous:
      “However named professors have a tendency to get threats from anonymous strangers!” . . . Turning Point has now started a second watchlist to name school board members whom they judge ‘too liberal’. And getting named to that list is a ticket to harassment by anonymous wingnuts.” Can you name a single person who has been physically harassed?

  12. When are the loons in society asked where they learned their lunacy?
    And then the lunatic Imperators are thoroughly punished.

  13. Apparently, a “Civility Rule” does not exist in New Mexico or anywhere else in the dependent, parasitic and insolent “third world.”

    Would that denizens were required to “earn” their fortunes of their own capacity and dint, reverence would pay substantial dividends.

    Communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs), being deluged by “free stuff,” are not compelled to any semblance of deference or esteem given that they are independently wealthy with counterfeit status and other people’s money.

  14. “We have another anti-free speech incident involving liberal protesters shutting down an event. ”
    Liberal? Like Alan Dershowitz is liberal? Let’s call a spade a spade. These are Brownshirt Biden “voters” enraged by Red Joey’s speech calling MAGA conservatives enemies of the state. Old Joe best be careful where he sows, whirlwinds are unpredictable and aren’t particularly political.

  15. My heart is breaking at the bipartisan destruction of not only public education but of our republic. The corporatists have a nice racket going on. None of this is fit for a free people. Stop listening to either side. Open your eyes and ears to the machinations of both Ds and Rs.

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