Wisconsin Adopts New Policy Allowing Suspension or Expulsion of Students Disrupting Speakers or Events

WisconsinStateSealMany of us have been warning for years about the anti-free speech activities of various protest groups in barring speakers and even taking over classrooms.  I have long advocated suspending students who prevent others from speaking or attending such events and expelling those who are repeat offenders.  Now the University of Wisconsin system has adopted such an approach, though some of the terminology is problematic in my view.  Nevertheless, while the policy (found here) could be more specific in defining terms like “disrupt,” it is a move that could go a long way in restoring free speech protections.

Continue reading

NAACP Denounces Demand For Players To Stand At NFL Games As “Unconstitutional”

Naacplogo300px-National_Football_League_logo.svgThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying that any players who protest during the anthem will be disciplined and not allowed to play. The NAACP has denounced the policy as “unconstitutional.”  While one can certainly disagree on the merits over the protests, teh NAACP is wrong on the constitutionality of such a policy.  An employer can clearly bar political protests during work hours. Moreover, the First Amendment is primarily directed to limiting government interference or regulation of speech.  While a public university qualifies as a state actor, it does not necessarily mean that protests are protected.  Even on college fields, school are giving considerable leeway in setting such rules, including the recent dismissal of a college quarterback for kneeling.

 

Continue reading

“Expect Resistance To Anyone Who Opposes Us”: Oregon President Blocked From Speaking By Student Protesters Against “Neo-Nazis”

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 7.44.07 AM.pngUniversity of Oregon President Michael Schill probably thought that he would be the least likely university president to find himself silenced by the raising anti-speech protests by students. After all, Schill himself has been denounced as part of the anti-free speech trend after he supported the university’s punishment of a law professor for wearing an allegedly offensive Halloween costume at her own party off campus.  However, Schill was unable to give his annual state of the university speech after students took over the event and denounced him a  “CEO” of a “business firm.”

Continue reading

Of Cake Shops and Coffee Shops: Recent Controversies Raise The Question Of When Owners Can Refuse Service To Those With Opposing Views

275px-A_small_cup_of_coffeeWedding_cake_with_pillar_supports,_2009A viral video from a Seattle coffee shop illustrates the growing tension between free speech and religious exercise values.  In the Facebook video, Ben Borgman — the owner of Bedlam Coffee shop — threw a Christian group out of his shop while spewing vulgar and obscene comments about their views.  There are a growing number of such conflicts as store owners assert their right to refuse to serve those with opposing religious or social values.  On December 5, the Supreme Court will hear the argument in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Rights Commission.  That case will determine if a cake shop owner could refuse to prepare a cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of his opposing religious values.

Continue reading

“Well-Beings Are Being Put On The Line”: Berkeley Protesters Interrupt Class To Protest The Midterm Exam As Too Stressful

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 9.13.44 PMUC Berkeley Professor Harley Shaiken  probably did not expect to be denounced as a tool of the racist establishment when he came to class recently.  After all, he was simply giving a midterm exam when protesters appeared to demand that he checked his “privilege” and cancel his exam due to the stress that it was causing for students.  Instead, the students demanded that he assign a “take-home essay with significant time to prepare.”  The scene was truly Felliniesque but whatever humor might be found in the moment was lost by the fact that this is not an isolated occurrence on our campuses, as we have previously discussed.

Continue reading

Bloom Out As Weinstein Adviser Amidst Questions Over Conflicts and Tactics

641cb0dc-9146-4fff-9965-534a6bcd4b2eFeminist attorney Lisa Bloom is under fire from all sides over her work on behalf of Harvey Weinstein, a producer who is accused of breathtaking attacks of sexual harassment against those under his control or influence.  Much of the criticism has accused Bloom as well as Clinton advisors like Lanny Davis.  However, there appears to have been push back from her actual clients at the Weinstein company, particularly after Bloom’s television appearances where she seemed to struggle with defending Weinstein.  Bloom called Weinstein “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” as if calling women to your room in a bathroom and demanded massages was an acceptable old way in the last two centuries.  Bloom also said publicly that her media client engaged in “illegal” conduct — a surprising admission for someone serving as a spokesperson who happens to be a lawyer.  Critics raised the hypocrisy in Bloom’s past attacks on accused harassers and her awkward defense of Weinstein.  Now reports suggest that company board members raised not only a possible conflict of interest in the case but some remarkably ill-conceived advice from Bloom in managing the scandal.  Weinstein himself was fired yesterday.  Bloom has responded to conflict issues raised in her Weinstein contracts by distinguishing legal from non-legal conflicts of interests.

Continue reading