“Your Words are Violence!”: Coulter Cancelled at Cornell

This week, we saw another incident of protesters shutting down an event to prevent others from hearing opposing views. At an event with commentator and author Ann Coulter, one protester yelled “Your words are violence.” It is the latest example of how some on the left are treating free speech as harm on college campuses. Unlike many other incidents, however, Cornell has stood by the right of the student group, Network of Enlightened Women, to hold the event and pledged to hold students accountable for the cancellation of the speech.

Students and faculty previously pressured Cornell to cancel Coulter as someone who engages in “hate speech” and declared her speaking on campus as harmful. Cornell stood with free speech. However, the event lasted only 30 minutes until protesters succeeded in shouting down Coulter. 
One man is shown screaming “we don’t want you to be here, your words are violence. … They are threats, you cannot be speaking here. We don’t want your ideas here! Leave! Leave! Your words are violence! Your words are violence!”Two students chanted “no KKK no fascist USA” as they are escorted out by security. Others blared circus music and blew whistles.The Cornell Review reported a common tactic: protesters “seemed to be employing a chain tactic, beginning just as soon as the last heckler was removed, so as to continuously speak over Coulter.”

Joel Malina, vice president for University Relations at Cornell, told Campus Reform.“Eight college-age individuals were removed from the auditorium following Cornell protocols. All Cornell students among the disrupters will be referred for conduct violations.” He also apologized to Coulter.

Cornell is to be commended for its stance, particularly if it proceeds with appropriate sanctions for these students. The incident also shows the value of limiting these events to faculty and students of Cornell, who are subject to rules protecting free speech and open discourse on campus.

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 latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.

Faculty and editors are now actively supporting modern versions of book-burning with blacklists and bans for those with opposing political views. Others are supporting actual book burning. Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll has denounced the “weaponization” of free speech, which appears to be the use of free speech by those on the right.

We discussed this issue with regard to a lawsuit against SUNY. It is also discussed in my recent 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.

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, including a speaker from the ACLU discussing free speech.  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.  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).

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.

Recently, we have seen convocations and other important events disrupted by such protesters. Universities will have to take a stand or lose control over their campuses. Students who disrupt classes or events must be held accountable if we are to maintain open and free discourse on our campuses.

149 thoughts on ““Your Words are Violence!”: Coulter Cancelled at Cornell”

    1. The collapse of the left is inevitable.
      How long that will take and how much pain we all have to endure in the meantime, and how much our standard of living is harmed, before that takes place is unfortunately not settled.

      1. The collapse of the right is inevitable.
        How long that will take and how much pain we all have to endure in the meantime, and how much our standard of living is harmed, before that takes place is unfortunately not settled.


        1. I did not refer to “the right” deliberately – this is not a right left thing.
          This is all just about “the left”

          “the right” is actually growing – but that is not the point.

          The right is not actually “self marginalizing” itself. Despite left wing nut rants – “the right” is not becoming more extreme.
          “the left” is – and the measures it has had to take to retain power grow ever more extreme and alienating.

          If you wish to make this “right/left” – Republicans got almost 6M more votes than democrats this cycle.
          They came within a few thousand votes of a clean sweep. In 2020, Republicans came within 45, votes of the presidency, and 100,000 votes of a clean sweep.

          And “the right” is growing.

          The country is in the midst of a massive political re-alignment. Do you honestly want to debate that ? Democrats are absolutely taking ownership of the educated white vote. They own the elite vote. They own the corporate vote, the big business vote, Neo Cons are coming back home to the democratic party.

          But the working class vote is moving to the right. Minorities are moving right. These were purportedly democratic strongholds and democrats are consistently losing ground with nearly all minorities.

          It is the left that has claimed that demographics is destiny, that the US will be a minority majority country soon.

          In this election Democrats lost Miami Dade county in Florida.

          But this is not really about right/left. It is just about the left.

          We have had alot of failures in the 21st century. The rate of improvement in standard of living is 50% lower than it was in the 20th century.

          Some of those failures were on the right, some were on the left. The failures on the right are with policies the right is in the midst of disowning.
          The failures on the left are with policies the left is doubling down on.

        2. Your reply is a perfect example of why the left will self destruct.

          Do you honestly think more than hard core left wing nuts believe republicans are driving the economy into the tank ?

          There is a claim that a GOP house will reign in Democrat spending in the next 2 years.

          But lets presume that democrats by hook or crook held the house in 2022.

          I honestly do not know what they would do. But does it matter ?

          Do you think if they spent even more – successfully pushed forward on whatever policies they wanted that standard of living would magically improve ?

          We have know the causes of inflation for atleast a milenia.
          Do you honestly think that further massive spending on left wing nut priotites will raise standard of living ?

          We have inflation because the government spent way too much and the Federal reserve funded that by printing money.

          The fed has reversed course. If you want to continue to spend – you must borrow – at rapidly rising interest rates to do so.

          Our demented president and his left wing nut white house keep ranting that we are not in recession.
          Maybe, maybe not. But the FED is literally TRYING to force a recession. That is the only tool we have to reign in inflation and it is painful.

          We can debate whether Trump’s vs. Biden’s excessive spending is a bigger factor in inflation – but there is no doubt that over 3 years we took a moderately strong economy and crippled it. And that things are getting worse, not better.

  1. 66% of college students should be expelled or forced to take a basic high school civics class on the US Constitution, US History and the meaning of free speech.


  2. You can always return the favor. Put these marxist degenerates through struggle sessions of their own, wherever you may catch them.

  3. Seems to me those students are barking up the wrong tree:


    “The State Department is giving law enforcement and intelligence agencies unrestricted access to the personal data of more than 145 million Americans, through information from passport applications that is shared without legal process or any apparent oversight, according to a letter sent from Sen. Ron Wyden to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and obtained by Yahoo News.”

  4. RE:”Parents of high school students can make a difference..’ A list has been compiled of such institutions and is available for review. I sent it to my grandchildren who are preparing for college admissions. rankings.thefire.org

  5. RE:”Progressives should learn the simple concept of keeping quiet ..”That is not their in their interest nor does it serve their agenda.

  6. RE::”Mr. Hogg just really loves to “hog”..’ I sense that things are seldom what they seem, and what will be, with this Harvard brat. We have one in the family. Takes one to know one. Hogg talks ‘proletarian’ but I smell ‘bourgeoisie’. We yet but turn another page…..https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hogg

  7. I’ve been reading a lot of ‘March For Our Lives’ David Hogg’s ‘Gen-Z’ yada yada on ‘Twitter’ these past 24 hours. Though I empathize deeply with him and others in our community who suffered the Stoneman-Douglas shooting, my take-away from his voluminous comments is that the purpose of their ‘movement’ apparently has goals far beyond those organizational stated publicly.. The residents in Florida’s 10th Congressional District just elected a former officer of that organization to their seat in D.C.,to succeed Val Demings. It is the MFOL’s intention to pursue this political line of action in the next cycle. If what we are reading here regarding Cornell is an example of what Hogg states as their pursuit of a more perfect world, then our Constitution, as presently constructed, is in peril from this lot. A revisiting of Communist China’s Cultural Revolution and its sequelae is in order. The citizenry of this nation should be aware. Though Maxwell Frost’s bio appears ‘interesting’ and appealing to many factions, he and those with whom he identifies, allies, and sympathizes, bears careful watching going forward.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Frost

  8. T’silence is vi’lence
    But my eyes still see-ee-ee
    T’silence is vi’lence, vi’lence
    But my eyes still see
    But my eyes still see

  9. Once again. These things happen because of administrative cowardice. Keep it simple. Students you are here to Learn. WE did not seek you out. You Asked to be admitted to this school. You have agreed to pay thousands of dollars to be here. You have the right to leave for any reasoñ, but if you do ANYTHING that disrupts the educational process, you will be expelled and escorted off the property.
    Make this policy known, enforce it. Protest will dramatically drop.

  10. Interesting that the left claims Coulter is a bigot. She famously dated Asian and black men.

    If the Democrats manage to keep both houses and expand their lead in the Senate to 52 votes,
    they won’t need Senator Manchin’s support anymore. The following will happen:
    1. Democrats will kill the filibuster. This will make the rest possible…
    2. They will threaten the Supreme Court with court packing. The Court will yield.
    3. They will open the border and radically expand legal immigration.
    4. They will pass amnesty and fast-track citizenship. Hello Venezuela!
    5. They will nationalize election law–as if it still mattered at this point.
    6. They will nationalize abortion law up to the day of birth (and ignore postpartum infractions).
    7. They will pass laws making it easy to sue gun manufacturers into bankruptcy.
    8. They will introduce speech codes with criminal and employment penalties.
    9. They will formalize a censorship regime with corporate and social media.
    10. All corporations and government agencies will have compulsory DIE training.
    11. Democrats may pass cashless bail as a national right.
    12. BLM will be invited to the Whitehouse.
    13. CRT will be back in schools.
    14. So will gender theory.
    15. Grown men twerking in front of school children will be core curriculum in some places.
    16. And they might arrest you if you complain about any of it to your school board.
    17. No cashless bail for that crime, BTW.
    18. Defund the police will be back.
    19. Democrats will criminalize even home defense in some places.
    20. The military may start purging its ranks of deplorables–to “defend democracy,” of course.
    21. Law enforcement may be forced to do so as well.
    22. They’ll put Trump in prison anyway they can. But at least he’ll have Elon for a cell mate.
    23. Epstein didn’t commit suicide, but some murders will be quietly ruled a late-term abortion.
    24. Fauci will be enshrined as a national hero.

    Even a few of the above could precipitate civil conflict. Maybe I should seek refugee status and beat the rush.

    1. They won’t be able to do any of that unless they control the House too. They also have no prospect of 52; the most they could get is 51. Since Manchin and Sinema are unlikely to vote to change the filibuster, that leaves them with only 49 votes to change it, even if no one else defects.

      1. They might get the House. It will likely be closer than either side wants.

        52 is possible if they sweep NV and GA and Murkowski caucuses with Democrats. Even if she doesn’t, if either Sinema or Manchin change their minds on the filibuster, the VP’s vote could still kill the filibuster. All they need is to turn one of three Senators on the filibuster vote, and all the other dominos fall.

        Of course, if either Laxalt or Walker win, then overturning the filibuster goes from possible to probably impossible. Or…

        Manchin could switch parties. He may be facing some very tough choices as a result of this election.

      2. Also, if a GOP Senator dies in a state with a Democrat governor, that could change the math. Political stability will walk a very thin line if the Democrats get 51 Senators or even a single Republican defects.

    2. “If the Democrats manage to keep both houses….The following will happen:”

      And —->

      25. President Biden will confirm a record number of leftwing judges for 2 more years.

    3. You’re delusional. Either that, or you’re so hate-filled that you don’t mind lying.

      1. Your mother dresses you funny, either that or you’re beyond help from the irreversible damage from your gender distorting hormones. Your top surgery does not look promising either. follow the science

  11. The argument that “speech is violence” is simplistic, and ignores the many factors necessary to turn speech into violent incitement, including the agency of those listening. The anti-free speech mob is part and parcel of the “victim” parade of political identities who wrap themselves in victimhood and deny agency for both themselves and those whose “cause” they “heroically” champion. When you’re a victim without agency, all speech seems threatening, indeed, all life seems threatening. These people need to be pitied, but not enabled. They cannot be allowed to poison our constitutional rights or turn our universities into toxic waste dumps. People have agency, they are not victims, and telling them they are is an insult and a lie.

    1. Regarding the concept of victim, see trauma-informed approach. The Feds are trying to coerce schools (via ESSER funds) into treating nigh on everyone as traumatized victims ( in part due to the COVID policies they themselves put into place, e.g., masking, isolation via remote school). Nevermind that the studies underpinning all these policies are correlative, not causative. (Could lousy, low nutritional value Standard American Diets and lack of sunshine and exercise, etc also be playing a role? It’s never discussed.) Is it a good idea to focus on trauma (especially with kids!) and turn any stressful event into some kind of trauma (trauma is being diluted away from the DSM-V definition to include pretty much anything stressful)? Should kids be subjected to universal screeners for trauma or stress and then potentially steered into counseling or a diagnosis of some kind?


      1. Prairie Rose,
        IRT low nutritional value, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, and the documentary Fed Up, both discuss the ultra-processed foods in the public education cafeterias.
        Two documentaries I highly recommend.

        1. Yes, those are both excellent, UpstateFarmer. Alas, micronutrient deficiencies are not part of the trauma-informed approach discussion (such that it is). The perspective is that trauma/stress *causes* *permanent* damage so new policies for behavior and curriculum need to be put into place, and, since the policies are broadly written, it effectively means everyone is traumatized and in need of mental health care. Nevermind the association of magnesium insufficiency and anxiety, for instance (and no wonder since Mg is really important for building neurotransmitters and nerve function). Not much nutrition in a fast food diet…

  12. Jonathan Turley: Aha! So there are rules for so-called free speech.
    I see. A free-for-all shouting match isn’t “free”.
    Well, I told you so. So-called free speech has rules. Re: Philosophy 101.

    1. @David B Benson: Speaking over the top of one another is counter intuitive. Not allowing one to speak freely (of incessant interruption) is NOT free speech, it’s chaos. But then those that lack a cogent idea know that.

  13. These are the same hooligans who screamed that you were damaging the society if you didn’t wear your face mask that didn’t stop the spread of Covid. You have to admit, the professors who groomed em up did a fine job of indoctrination. Can you think of times in history when the same tactics were used to shut down the opposition? The real fascist used this approach with great success. The results of their efforts speak for themselves.

  14. The all day sucker crowd have once again stopped licking long enough declare their non-free speech to actually be free speech. Now their sucker is being taken away. Papa Joe has stopped taking applications for the student loan all day sucker. Joe knew that he would never deliver on his promise but he used it to get the suckers to the poles. Like the divorced dad who promises to take the kiddies to Disney Land when he knows he doesn’t have the money to make their dreams come true. He will try to blame the mother but when the kids finally grow up they will come to understand that daddy was the bad guy all along. In the mean time, they remain a bunch of bumpkin suckers at the county fair. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-student-loan-debt-relief-blocked-2022-11-11/

  15. My comments no longer post. Did I get banned and miss the announcement? If so, I’m not upset, but would appreciate a heads up so I don’t waste my time trying.

  16. At the Cornell event and similar events, were there peaceful protests outside the auditorium or just the protests inside the auditorium? Would people agree that outside is appropriate and inside is not? Thanks.

    1. I would agree that the same standards should be used for protests on the left as the right.

      I would also note that those protesting government are allowed to do more than those protesting private actors and private events.

      I can list the rules and differences between protesting a business, protesting an event, and protesting government.

      But what is most important is not that MY rules apply. Or even that rules developed over 100 years apply – though that is preferable.
      But that the same rules apply regardless of the viewpoint of the protestors.

      What Kavanaugh protestors are free to do – Stop the Steal protestors are free to do.

      What Antifa and BLM are free to do – the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are free to do.

      This goes far beyond just protesting.

      Manafort went to Jail for far less than Hunter has done.

      Papadoulis went to jail for far less than what Sussman and Danchenko did.

      We do not have the rule of law when the law is applied differently based on viewpoint.

      1. “Papadoulis went to jail for far less than…”

        Far less than, I am still trying to figure out what he did that was criminal and could possibly deserve jail time.

        1. Papadoulis in the midst of a grueling multiday interview by the FBI got the dates of some of his emails wrong.

          That is what the guilty plea was for.
          The real truth – like Van Der Zandt, and Cohen, and Flynn and Manafort – is that Mueller pulled every trick in the book blockmailing, extorting, threatening family, using legal process to bankrupt people to get them to rat Trump out.
          With Cohen he succeeded – Only Cohen did not have anything to give.

          BTW that was actually true of all of them.

          1. RE:”Mueller pulled every trick in the book..” Mueller was “braindead” He wasn’t competent enough to find the title page of his report. The architect for that sort of gambit would have to have been Andrew Weissman whom, IMHO, was running the investigation from start to finish. The SCOTUS overturning of the Arthur Anderson decision, refuting Weissman’s task force, and Weissman’s personal misconduct qualifies him to have had his hand on the throttle running Mueller’s train. Possessing such credentials, one gains an appointment to the faculty of a prominent law school. Such is the fate of the legal profession going forward in the 21st Century. . https://thefederalist.com/2019/03/05/explosive-new-documents-reveal-andrew-weissmanns-misconduct-enron-case/

            1. Mueller ? Weisman ?

              You are correct, but Does it matter ?
              None of them will EVER face consequences.
              And the conduct is WRONG.

              I keep repeating over and over that I am a libertarian, I look at the trend of most of my posts and sometimes it appears they lean nearly as far right as George.

              But it is not my fault that so many of the left wing nuts are complete idiots.

              Or that no one ever wants to discuss topics where I could actually support liberals.
              Or that increasingly it is REPUBLICANS that are moving towards real civil liberties.

              J6 is a watershed event for the right in this country.
              Conservatives are getting to see first hand what a corrupt and biased system of law enforcement can do.

          2. I am still looking for an answer to my question: ” I am still trying to figure out what he did that was criminal”.

            You put it nicely. That is what the guilty plea was for, but that was not a criminal act. Yet many leftists, including one particular individual on the blog, believe the entire Russia hoax started with Papadopoulos. The left approves of such treatment, which means when the left is in power, the rule of law disappears. I am questioning whether this nation will ever be free again.

            1. The first thing that was clear from the start and certainly after Mueller started was the Papadoulis had no role at all in the Trump campaign.
              He had no inside knowledge. He was not part of anything – nefarious or otherwise.

              There is still some lack of clarity regarding the conversation he had at a bar with Andrew Downer.
              The allegation was that Papadoulis told Downer about an email drop from Wikipedia demonstrating foreknowledge of the DNC breakin emails.

              Except that subsequently Both Downer and Papadoulis have denied that Clinton emails ever came up.
              What we do know is that in late July of 2016 after interveiwing Papadoulis and Downer – Strzok abandoned that line of inquiry, and shifted focus to the Steele Dossier.

              1. All this is true which means, based on the imprisonment of Papadopoulos, the DOJ is authoritarian and doesn’t represent American principles.

            1. You might know how to spell his name, but not much of anything else.

              You couldn’t even define fascism.

              You support a Supreme Court Justice who doesn’t know what a woman is.

              You supported a senile old man as President because he is more knowledgeable than you.

  17. I have long loathed Ann Coulter, but having said that, will still ardently defend her right to not be cancelled. Michael Moore, another that I find an intolerable wind bag, used to speak in my hometown every year, and I wouldn’t dream of ‘cancelling’ him. I just didn’t attend his events. Don’t want to listen to her? Don’t show up.

    We have legitimized these tantrums to the point that I have to wonder if there’s any going back. If anyone has any idea how to fix education other than defunding and a tabula rasa at this point, would love to hear it.

  18. FriscoDB and ZZDoc:
    Please re-post your comments this afternoon, and again tomorrow,–for those who do not always read ‘all the way down’ in lengthy comments threads. I consider your comments worthy of re-post and thank you.

      1. RE:”(your comments at 10:00 and 10:24 am, respectively” Thanks for the cudos. I’ve done a review and wonder if the time stamps requested are correct.

        1. I think if one clicks on the date of the comment the exact address will appear in the address bar and can be copied. That address will take one to the exact post.

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