University 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.”
There is a growing concern over the intolerance shown conservative students and groups on our campuses. The latest such incident occurred at Seattle University School of Law where a debate was planned on immigration with both liberal and conservative views represented. That would seem precisely the type of exchange that law schools relish. However, students protested that one of the sponsors was the conservative Federalist Society. Over a couple hundred people signed a Change.org petition asking the school to cancel the Oct. 16th debate. The debate was scheduled to be part of the school’s “Social Justice Monday” series and was co-hosted by the school’s Access to Justice Institute. The law school eventually withdrew as a sponsor due to the protests from students.
My students and I followed the score in the Nationals/Cubs games yesterday in class. I was overjoyed with the final win for the Cubs at the end of the class. However, the Cubs are facing a challenging lawsuit in court that raises, again, the question of liability for fans injured during games. John “Jay” Loos, 60, was hit in the eye during the August 29th game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He lost sight in the eye and is now suing over the alleged negligence in not extending the protective netting.
UC 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.
Feminist 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.
The massacre in Las Vegas has brought out the best of our country in response to the savage and senseless attack by Stephen Paddock as strangers rush into danger to save the wounded. It has also unleashed pent up political passions from Hillary Clinton immediately blaming the NRA (for opposing silencers) to a professor blaming the attack on Trumpism to “white privilege.” Others sounded like the relished the deaths or at least refused to be sympathetic for the victims. Now, a vegan food truck owner, Delinda Jensen, 60, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, is under fire for a Facebook post saying that she doesn’t care how many people died because they are all “meat eaters” and “carnists.” She later deleted the posting and apologized. Jensen runs the Mother Nature Vegan Cuisine Food Truck with her son.