“She’s a [expletive] professor!” Those four words screamed by pro-choice protesters could well sum up the issue for the State University of New York at Albany after the arrest of sociology professor Renee Overdyke. At a recent pro-life demonstration, Overdyke unplugged an electric display to prevent students from expressing their opposition to abortion. She then resisted arrest. The question, which we have previously discussed, is where the university should draw the line in the conduct of faculty in preventing free speech.
The pro-life display at the university attracted a loud counter-demonstration, which is of course fine and good. Universities are supposed to be a place for debate and both sides were exercising their free speech rights.
As students chanted “my body, my choice” and other messages, Created Equal continued their own demonstration against abortion with the help of a large electronic display. The display showed aborted fetuses to bring home what they called the “reality of abortion” and “what abortion does to preborn babies.”
That is when Professor Overdyke, 57, allegedly unplugged Created Equal’s electronic display.
Overdyke took this action despite the university distributing a pamphlet to students at the event repeating the rules for free speech behavior, including a prohibition on actions to prevent or obstruct someone else’s free speech. This message was all the more important because a conservative speaker had been shouted down two weeks earlier.
As a posted video shows, Overdyke then proceeded to resist arrest:
Professor arrested for shutting down pro-life event.
On April 19, U. of Albany sociology professor, Renee Overdyke, was arrested for shutting down our large LED screen and then resisting arrest. Her swift apprehension by police permitted Created Equal to resume the broadcast of… pic.twitter.com/SCePpybjjk
— Mark Harrington (@mharringtonlive) April 21, 2023
One student screams “she’s a [expletive] professor.” That is precisely the point. As the university was telling students that they could not obstruct the event, Overdyke is accused of doing precisely that. She sought to prevent others from being able to speak on campus.
Years ago, many of us were shocked by the conduct of University of Missouri communications professor Melissa Click who directed a mob against a student journalist covering a Black Lives Matter event. Yet, Click was hired by Gonzaga University. Since that time, we have seen a steady stream of professors joining students in shouting down, committing property damage, participating in riots, verbally attacking students, or even taking violent action in protests.
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). Even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech. At University of California- Santa Barbara, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.
As more schools have expressly declared that they will not permit such shout downs, many academics still insist that preventing others from speaking is free speech. It is an absurd and dangerous claim. It will convert our institutions into little more than shout fests where the loudest prevails. Given the dwindling number of conservative or libertarian faculty, it is a way to effectively bar opposing views from being heard on campuses. It is as easy as unplugging a display at the University of Albany.
The question is what is to be done with Professor Overdyke. In taking this action, she not only sought to silence students but directly violated the policies of the university. Free speech and free inquiry are the very touchstones of higher education. She has taken a stand against the right of others to be heard and the university has an obligation to take action to sanction this conduct.
Of course, such action has been relatively rare even when universities object to anti-free speech conduct. We recently discussed the cancellation of federal appellate Judge Kyle Duncan by Stanford Law School students, a disgraceful attack on free speech that led to an apology from both the law school dean and the university president. However, as I discussed earlier, many faculty support such anti-free speech measures. Stanford notably refused to take action against the students, though a dean did take a leave of absence.
In the meantime, Overdyke is now facing criminal charges for disturbing a lawful assembly, resisting arrest, and obstruction of governmental administration.
The criminal charges may not prove as much of a professional barrier as one might think. Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young pleaded guilty to criminally assaulting pro-life advocates on campus and was supported by faculty and honored by other schools.
Professor Overdyke has now presented Albany with a clear choice. It can confirm that faculty members are accountable to free speech rules or it can confirm that these rules are a mere pretense of principle.
167 thoughts on ““She’s a … Professor!”: Albany Professor Arrested After Obstructing Pro-Life Display and Resisting Arrest”
If she is convicted, the pension system for faculty members should look into whether her pension is forfeit for committing a felony on the job.
THAT would be a deterrent.
Please tell me “Overdyke” is a nom de plume.
Very funny line . . .
THE CRIMSON WALL
January 23, 1973,
How can it be.
Fifty years of devastation,
Leading to the ruin of our nation.
Abortion the elephant in the room,
As a womb becomes a tomb.
Over two thousand children killed every day,
Never, ever allowed to play.
Who should live, who should die,
America needs to look God in the eye.
Our country has bought the lie,
Eat the fruit, you will not die.
Like God you will be,
As your child takes a knee.
Time to end the sea of red,
No more children waking up dead.
America needs a monument in D.C.,
Never forget or let it be.
A crimson wall with over sixty million spaces,
No names, no faces.
A Mother’s Day Prayer
I pray for mothers whose kids drive them wild,
For every mother of a preborn child.
I pray for mothers who cannot be,
For them to cling to Jesus, His Blood, and the tree.
I pray for mothers’ who gave their child away,
For their suffering day after day.
For a mother of a child never born,
And for her heart trampled and torn.
I pray for her regrets and fears,
I pray for her tears.
May every child look their mother in the eye,
My ultimate prayer, they won’t have to die.
Hear the whisper, end the strife,
“Mom, take my hand, not my life.”
Suspected Suicide Attempts by Self-Poisoning Among Persons Aged 10–19 Years During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2020–2022
Weekly / April 21, 2023 / 72(16);426–430
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are the top 2 OTC drugs kids used during COVID lockdown to attempt suicide, some successfully
When a civilization justifies ending life over ideologies, it does not portend anything good for that civilization. Who ever made these lockdown decisions should be held accountable. Children are being sacrificed for ideologies. Choose one or the other, but you can’t have both
Worst governmental response to a public health crisis in history. Did so much more harm than good. Every aspect of it. Masking children, locking them out of schools, forcing poison “vaccines” on them . . . it was a crime against humanity.
oldmanfromkansas – The federal government, under the control of the Left, has become an ongoing “crime against humanity”: encouraging riots in our cities; inflaming racial tensions; encouraging “gender transitions”; waging permanent undeclared wars in the middle east and elsewhere; allowing deadly drugs to flow into the country; once again encouraging high risk mortgage loans; destroying the currency, including its status as a reserve currency; incurring debt that will result in fiscal collapse and probably another Depression; immiseration of the working class; encouraging dependency on the government; denouncing ordinary, hard-working Americans as extremist, racist, et cetera; imposing draconian criminal sentences on people walking in protest through the Capitol on January 6; using the judicial system to destroy Donald Trump, and thus intimidate any other possible Populist; depressing the quality of public schools, and questioning the value of merit as such; using public schools to sexualize young children; pushing too many people into colleges, to decrease the quality of education, while submitting a larger portion of the public to propaganda; and, most of all, trying to control what we can say, read or even think through every form of media. The list seems endless. It is not unfair to suggest that the federal government is more dangerous to us than the Empire of Japan, or the Soviet Union, ever was. Of course, by “federal government”, I include the MSM, its vital ally in the war against middle America.
May 4th be with you!
There are things of just slightly more import being discussed here than George Lucas’ ripoff of ‘The Hidden Fortress’ and it’s subsequent mediocre followups. This is not a real holiday, and most of us let it go with childhood.
James, I’m retired so every day is a holiday as I progress into my 2nd childhood. 🙂
Jonathan: There is more reporting on other defamation lawsuits. They are coming in droves! A judge in NY judge just threw out another of Donald Trump’s defamation lawsuits–this time against the NY Times. Robert Reed, the NY SC justice, slapped Trump with all the Times’ attorney fees and other expenses. Could amount to over a million bucks! For those that don’t recall in 2018 the Times got a Pulitzer award for its series of articles casting doubt on Trump’s claim he was a self-made millionaire. The tax records, turned over to the Times by Mary Trump, showed Trump inherited over $400 million from his father and then used dubious tax schemes to avoid paying most of the taxes on that inheritance. Justice Reed ruled Trump’s claims against the Times “fail as a matter of constitutional law” because when reporters engage in ordinary news gathering “these actions are at the very core of protected first amendment activity”.
It should be recalled that last year Trump sued CNN for defamation. In 2020 Trump sued both the NT Times and the Washington Post for defamation. All those cases were dismissed as lacking merit. Sue, sue and sue again. That’s Trump’s modus operandi. It seems the Trumpster is having a bad day in the courts lately!
Get your Budlite, ice cold budlite. Com on folks, get your bud lite, ice cold bud lite. They can’t even give it away at Fenway park in liberal Boston.
At my local grocery store here in SC, there was a huge BudLite display: Sale! Marked Down!
Congressional investigators “believe the FBI possesses an unclassified internal document that includes very serious and detailed allegations implicating the current President of the United States,” Grassley said in a press release from House Oversight. “What we don’t know is what, if anything, the FBI has done to verify these claims or investigate further. The FBI’s recent history of botching politically charged investigations demands close congressional oversight.”
Killer Mike: Free Speech Lets Me Know My Enemy