Archive for the ‘free speech’ Category

Publicizing Intimidation–Good or Bad?

January 7th, 2010 No comments

From City Journal comes a story illustrating an interesting dilemma. Hege was beaten up for her political views. Should she publicize the attack? If she does, she makes it more likely the attackers will be caught, and she shows how brutal those opposing her views are. Also, however, by showing how brutal they are, she helps them intimidate other people from publicly agreeing with her. It isn’t clear which choice helps her opponents or deters future attackers.

Here is the story.

In 2006, her book But the Greatest of All Is Freedom: On the Consequences of Immigration became a huge—and controversial—best-seller in Norway. At the time, Hege lived in a neighborhood called Kampen, a part of Oslo that brings to mind the Haight-Ashbury or East Village of the 1960s. Hege notes that after her book began to sell big—and draw harsh media attacks—her neighborhood was papered over with posters featuring a photo of her with an X drawn over her face, along with the slogan NO TO RACISTS IN KAMPEN. Then one day—as Hege revealed in a powerful account posted yesterday on the website of Human Rights Service, the small foundation where she works—one or more people broke into her home, beat her, and left her bruised and unconscious in a pool of blood on the floor. Nothing was stolen. The date was January 1, 2007—three years to the day before the attempted murder of Westergaard.

At first, Hege kept the crime secret, for fear that publicizing it would discourage other critics of Islam from speaking out. Not until a month later did she report the brutal event to the police, and then only after a lawyer friend had secured a guarantee that the report would not be made public. But the steady rise in Muslim violence in Europe, culminating in the Westergaard attack, helped changed her mind about publicly revealing the assault. She also wanted to underscore the fact that many in the media—people like Vaïsse, I might add—were by their see-no-evil approach to the subject encouraging physical attacks on people like her and Westergaard. This state of affairs, she felt, needed to be addressed publicly and its real-world consequences made clear.

The fact is that for years Hege has been the target of a ruthless, tireless, and breathlessly mendacious campaign of criticism by the far-left Norwegian media. She’s become Public Enemy Number One among not only radical Muslims but also Communists, socialists (whose numbers in Norway’s capital are not insignificant), and what Hege calls “organized anti-racists.” These are members of Scandinavia’s many government-funded organizations who claim to be liberal opponents of racism but are in fact largely concerned with defending even the most illiberal aspects of immigrant cultures. Indeed, Hege doesn’t believe that her assailants were Muslims; she suspects that they were far leftists of the sort who proliferate in neighborhoods like Kampen and who have made common cause with European Islamists. Hege is also convinced—as am I—that the media’s concerted effort to identify her as a racist and Islamophobe influenced her attackers.

Categories: free speech Tags:

Cowardice at Yale University Press

August 14th, 2009 No comments

From VC:

Yale University Press has decided not to include controversial Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad in a book about the cartoons and the resulting controversy. Other depictions of Muhammad slated for inclusion in the book, The Cartoons that Shook the World, have also been pulled. The NYT reports:

The book’s author, Jytte Klausen, a Danish-born professor of politics at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., reluctantly accepted Yale University Press’s decision not to publish the cartoons.

John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, said by telephone that the decision was difficult, but the recommendation to withdraw the images, including the historical ones of Muhammad, was “overwhelming and unanimous.” The cartoons are freely available on the Internet and can be accurately described in words, Mr. Donatich said, so reprinting them could be interpreted easily as gratuitous.

He noted that he had been involved in publishing other controversial books . . . and “I’ve never blinked.” But, he said, “when it came between that and blood on my hands, there was no question.”

Categories: free speech, homosexuality, Islam, religion Tags:

Personal Attacks on ID Proponent

March 3rd, 2009 No comments

Bradley Monton recounts an amazing unfair attack on him by another philosophy professor, Robert Pennock, for supporting intelligent design. Monton has lots of links and sounds as if he’s not lying. This is additional evidence of the emotional and anti-intellectual response of many scholars to the idea of intelligent design.

See also this discussion of an ad hominem
to a lecture on ID he gave.

Brad DeLong Calls for Colleague To Be Fired

February 18th, 2009 No comments

Brad DeLong has posted a shocking letter calling for Professor Yoo of Berkeley Law to be fired for his work in the White House– the “torture memo”. I’d thought reputable economists wouldn’t write that kind of letter. It should be a warning to us all— the Left *does* want to criminalize conservatism. Liberals, you watch out— the Mensheviks come next.

University Policies (The Pace Resolution)

February 4th, 2009 No comments

A great quote from our b-school dean, Daniel Smith:

Some faculty members voiced concern with the precedent the resolution would set and the scrutiny future chairs or guests would face.

“This isn’t a policy,” Tanford said. “It says nothing about future cases. We’re saying this one, we thought, was not handled well.”

Smith said he would abide by such a policy if one existed.

“If the university is going to adopt a formal policy that requires administrators to, number one, screen all candidates for endowed chairs on their personal beliefs and, number two, submit that data to groups on campus for approval, then we would certainly abide by that.”

Some info:

  • BFC Membership, 2009.
  • The Pace resolution: Drafts of November 18, 2008 and January 29 2009.
  • Some past Poling Chairs: Dollens, Evan Bayh, Skinner,
  • The BFC’s Proposed Resolution Criticizing the Business School’s Invitation of General Pace

    January 16th, 2009 No comments

    The Bloomington Faculty Council has been having some discussions
    of interest to those concerned about homosexuality and free speech.
    All boldfacings below are by me.

    Here are excerpts from the resolution (
    November 18 text

    WHEREAS in a March 12, 2007 interview with the Chicago Tribune,
    Pace said, “I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are
    . I do not believe the United States is well served by a
    policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way… As an
    individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our

    WHEREAS on March 13, 2007, Pace released a statement reading, “In
    expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some
    personal opinions about moral conduct. I should have focused more on
    my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.” He
    declined to apologize or to retract his statement equating
    homosexuality with immorality….

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that although we fully endorse the
    concept that speakers representing all viewpoints should be invited to
    campus, when speakers representing controversial viewpoints are
    invited, effort must be made to facilitate open discussion and the
    exchange of ideas. We therefore believe that during General Peter
    Pace’s visits to campus this year, the Kelley School should facilitate
    opportunities for Gen. Pace to be interviewed by the press and to
    appear at forums in which members of the community are welcome and may
    ask questions, and to invite a speaker of equivalent stature who holds
    contrary views concerning homosexuality. Efforts to date are not

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that it was inappropriate to award Gen. Pace
    university honor, the Poling Chair in Business and Government, when
    his views on homosexuality are so offensive to university policy and
    many members of the university community, without any advance
    guarantee that he would participate in an open and meaningful dialogue
    about his views.

    the November 18 Bloomington Faculty Council Minutes:

    Brian Horne, Music:

    HORNE: Personally I’m bothered by this. I mean there are many details,
    you know, with which I sympathize but at the heart of the matter it
    seems to me what trying to punish somebody for something they

    To me at the heart of the matter, I understand why people would be
    offended, but what we’re saying is ‘you have to believe what we
    believe or we’re going to make it hard on you.’ That’s not what we
    should be doing, and we certainly shouldn’t be saying ‘we’re a
    university, we’re open to all, we’re open to diversity, but if you
    don’t believe what we believe we’re going to make it hard on you to
    come here or to get an honor from us or to do anything else.’

    James Biles, Geography:

    BILES: … Yes, you know a diversity of views is appreciated, but
    think morally and ethically, you know, there’s no requirement to
    tolerate intolerance and these views are intolerant.
    like to see him dishonorably discharged from his, you know,
    appointment, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

    Bryan McCormick, HPER:

    MCCORMICK: Well, I’m just curious that this strikes me that we’re
    making as a campus body a dictate to that unit without inclusion,
    discussion, you know. I would be concerned in my school if I learned
    from the BFC something that we are being told we had to do without
    even knowing it was coming.

    Brian Horne, Music, and Alex Tanford, Law:

    HORNE: I’m sorry, one other question and I recognize this is
    stretching it quite a bit. Certainly in the School of Music we have
    people that are just world renowned musicians all the time some of
    which are given titles and some of whom just come and give masters
    classes, things like that. We don’t know their views on this issue or
    any other,
    because they were never in such a prominent, you know,
    position, but why is it different that it just happens that we know
    this issue. This issue is not what drove his appointment or what gave
    him this honor. It just happened that his previous appointment called
    upon him to answer questions regarding this. If Leonard Slatkin, you
    know, the world famous conductor is coming to join our faculty, we
    don’t know what he thinks about anything, and we don’t need to know.

    TANFORD: I don’t really have a response to your point, but certainly
    there are people who are highly distinguished in the music field,
    many of them very elderly, if they’re still alive at all, who had an
    active association at one point with Nazi Germany, where their views
    would be clearly known. And I guess we saw this as the equivalent of
    giving one of them a distinguished honor
    which would be hugely
    offensive to the Jewish community or that was the way we saw this.

    Lucas Fields, IUSA President, student, and Alex Tanford, Law:

    FIELDS: I actually had a chance to speak with the general, and one of
    the things I asked him about was his recommendation to authorize force
    in Iraq, which he also did as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and I
    guess what I’m perhaps concerned about with this body is there a
    that’s being drawn, that there are certain things that the faculty are
    willing to be concerned about but not others? Is his view on that war,
    which is controversial in a different light, something that should
    also be addressed? And are we singling something out versus a whole
    host of things I think could be found to be controversial on this

    TANFORD: We are singling this out. We are the Diversity and
    Affirmative Action Committee,
    concerned about protecting the
    rights of
    minorities who are historically and currently, presently discriminated
    against and the gay and lesbian community is number one on that list.
    And that’s the reason. This is like race a generation ago.

    Patrick Harbison, Music, and
    Alex Tanford, Law:

    HARBISON: Will the School of Music have to stop programming

    TANFORD: Only if – no. (laughter)
    HARBISON: I mean you see what
    TANFORD: Are you planning on giving Wagner a distinguished
    university honor?
    HARBISON: No, but I would say that a performance
    the MAC is a fairly distinguished honor.
    TANFORD: But that’s the
    essence of the distinction. A performance at the MAC is an ordinary
    participation in the university process. If it is accompanied by Gwyn
    Richards coming out and giving the person a distinguished award, then
    it moves into a different level of symbolism and it is that second
    level that we are concerned about, not the first.

    Daniel Sloat, IUSA Vice President, student:

    SLOAT: I just wanted to say first as a Kelley student I felt that
    school did a very good job in distancing themselves. I felt that they
    were in no way in the wrong. They made very clear that they did not
    support his personal beliefs, and most importantly to keep in mind he
    was invited to and subsequently awarded for his leadership experience.
    He was not brought as a controversial speaker, not as someone who has
    a certain view.
    If that had been the case, then it would certainly
    encouraged and, I think, appropriate to bring someone with an
    alternative view. So being someone extensive leadership experience,
    don’t think it’s fair to put him in the same kind of light that calls
    for ‘where’s the other viewpoint?’ because being brought as a person
    with leadership experience the other viewpoint would be someone
    without leadership experience.

    Padraic Kenney, History, and
    Alex Tanford, Law:

    …KENNEY: …Yeah, I know, but I feel like some of your responses
    really come down, you know, to his personal views…

    TANFORD: No,

    KENNEY: … some rest more on professional and maybe clarifying the
    difference between the two…

    TANFORD: There is no…

    KENNEY: …and
    a stand based on one or the other.

    TANFORD: He was the one who
    attempts to characterize these as merely personal views, and that’s
    why to try to put in his version of it and put some balance is why
    those statements are in there.

    KENNEY: Well then let me draw
    to the last line in the fourth paragraph on the first page, “General
    Pace’s beliefs regarding homosexuality, which are grounded in his
    religious faith, reveal an inherent bias against homosexuality.” Why
    are we bringing in his religious faith? I’m looking at the quotes that
    are above there and while I don’t doubt that elsewhere in that
    interview he talks about his religious faith, he doesn’t in what has
    been quoted here. And so now we’re saying ‘well, actually this has to
    do with religious faith,’ but maybe they’re excusing, that, you know,
    you have to understand this is religious faith or it maybe a
    complicating or whatever factor, but I’m not quite sure, you know, how
    do you put that in there. That’s essentially saying ‘we are interested
    in his beliefs.’

    TANFORD: I would say the committee was persuaded
    an argument made by some members of the committee that one could make
    a case that holding fairly extreme antihomosexual views based on a
    particularly narrow interpretation of religion is itself a minority

    KENNEY: But how is that relevant here?

    therefore needed to be mentioned in terms of the balance since we’re
    the Diversity and Affirmative Action Committee and that we are
    concerned about religious discrimination as much as we are about
    discrimination against homosexuality.

    Nick Clark, GPSO – Political Science, graduate student:

    CLARK:… it’s a discussion I’ve been a part of in several different
    committees on how to best recruit minorities to come here and increase
    the diversity of the campus and I have to think that this is relevant
    to that, in that if we include minorities that we want to recruit as
    gay and lesbian students, the fact that we bestow honors on someone
    that makes these statements, whether they’re right, whether they’re
    wrong, whether it’s the place of the Faculty Council or the university
    to take positions on it, but that we’re bestowing honors on it from a
    very pragmatic point of view I would think that that could deter
    certain gay and lesbian students from attending this university which
    is the exact opposite of what the campus seems to want to do in its
    recruiting initiatives.
    And I think that’s got to be at least, you
    know, minimally relevant to an issue like this.

    Herbert Terry, BFC President, Telecommunications:

    TERRY: Okay, I wasn’t on the (inaudible) subcommittee, but I hope you
    will consult with the faculty governance body of the School of
    Business. When we take this up again I would like to know what role
    they played in it, if any, and what their recommendations to the Dean
    were, what they think of it. The second thing is borrowing from my
    experience in telecommunications, the Federal Communications
    Commission for a long time tried to enforce a kind of a fairness
    doctrine requiring that opposing views on controversial issues be
    presented by broadcasters. It eventually concluded that that

    The BFC membership list is
    in case you’d like to check which professors and students
    vote on this.

    A footnote:

    Americans interviewed in Gallup’s 2008 Values and Beliefs poll are
    evenly divided over the morality of homosexual relations, with 48%
    considering them morally acceptable and 48% saying they are morally

    The BFC will not be voting on the resolution on January 20, since the committee is trying to redraft it. Presumably it will come up in the February meeting.

    Arrest of an Oppositino Leader in Britain

    December 3rd, 2008 2 comments

    It’s amazing what Britain has come to. A leader of the opposition party was arrested and his House of Commons office searched by the special anti-terror police after he publicized information of government incompetence leaked to him by a civil servant. He was not accused of any crime. See

    I don’t worry so much about government overreaching with respect to ordinary citizens. The government has no motive there to go after a person without reason to think he did something wrong. But when it comes to going after political opponents it is time to worry.

    Categories: free speech, government, law Tags:

    Preacher Jailed for Speaking Against a Judge

    November 15th, 2008 No comments

    Via Instapundit and Talk Left we learn that a preacher in Michigan had his probation turned into prison because he said that the sentencing judge could be punished by God with curses, fever and “extreme burning” unless he changed his ways. He’s appealed, and I hope will win.

    Categories: free speech, law Tags:

    The Crystal Dixon Free Speech Case at U. of Toledo

    May 20th, 2008 No comments

    From the Baylyblog comes a story of a university administrator fired for writing a letter to a newspaper opposing homosexuality. If the Ohio Republicans have any guts, they’ll use this illegal (because Toledo is a state university) firing of a black woman in the fall election campaign. Here’s the story:

    Editor in Chief of the Toledo Free Press, Michael Miller, wrote an editorial advocating sodomy and smearing those who oppose sodomy as resembling racists. This prompted University of Toledo Associate Vice President for Human Resources Crystal Dixon to submit an op-ed opposing Miller’s editorial. Dixon wrote: "As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo’s Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are ‘civil rights victims.’ Here’s why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle…

    evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few. Frequently, the individuals report that the impetus to their change of heart and lifestyle was a transformative experience with God; a realization that their choice of same-sex practices wreaked havoc in their psychological and physical lives."

    After receiving hundreds of complaints against Dixon’s op-ed, the University of Toledo suspended, and later fired her.

    It’s somewhat endearing that UT President Lloyd Jacobs explains his actions with such candor. In his termination letter to Dixon, he wrote:

    The public position you have taken in the Toledo Free Press is in direct contradiction to university policies and procedures as well as the core values of the strategic plan which is mission critical.

    Sodomites are claiming victory.

    Categories: free speech, homosexuality Tags:

    Telling Children to Behave

    April 8th, 2008 No comments

    From WSJ, Taranto, is story that tell us about Obama, social norms and breakdown in the US, Black-Hispanic relations, freedom of speech, and the difference between America and England in social responsibility.

    A Barack Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention was “ticketed for calling her neighbor’s African-American children ‘monkeys,’ ” reports the Chicago Sun-Times. (We didn’t realize this was against the law, but the Chicago Tribune explains that the charge was disorderly conduct.) Here is what happened, according to the Sun-Times:

    [Linda] Ramirez-Sliwinski “came outside and told the children to quit playing in the tree like monkeys. The tree was not on Ramirez-Sliwinski’s property,” Carpentersville Police Commander Michael Kilbourne said.

    Ramirez-Sliwinski admitted she used the word “monkeys,” but said she did not intend racism. She said she was only trying to protect them from falling out of the tree.

    “Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski said she saw the kids playing in the tree and didn’t want them falling out of the tree and getting hurt. She said she calls her own grandchildren ‘monkeys,’ ” Kilbourne said. The mother of one of the children did not see it that way, noting she and Ramirez-Sliwinski have clashed before.

    “She felt it was racist because of the fact the children were African-American,” Kilbourne said.

    Told of the incident Monday by the Sun-Times, Obama’s campaign called Ramirez-Sliwinski and persuaded her to step aside as a delegate because the campaign felt her remarks were “divisive and unacceptable.”

    Finally, someone Barack Obama can disown! Let this be a lesson for other Obama delegates: If someone is bothering you, shout at the top of your lungs, “God damn America!” You know Obama will stand by you then.

    Categories: free speech, obama, social regulation Tags:

    Political Persecution at Northwestern Law School in 2007

    February 12th, 2008 No comments

     Free Speech Scandal at Northwestern Law School.  [I have redacted using the name X]

    Yet another example (from 2007) of a law school punishing unorthodox speech. Or, perhaps, for not giving patronage to minorities in this case. It’s curious how law schools, with their worship of the abstract concept of Free Speech, so commonly suppress it.

    There is a useful thread of emails posted. From Student Bar Association President X, who was intimidated into resigning:

    I have only resigned my title because the administration and the SBA Executive Board have forced my hand. The SBA Executive Board and school administration asked me to step down as SBA President with only a month left in my tenure, largely because I have expressed beliefs that are unpopular with some members of our community. Some think that my expression of these beliefs makes me unfit to perform the duties of my office. I disagree with those who have asked me to step down, and initially refused; offering instead to accept a dramatically reduced role in the SBA’s decision making process in recognition of the impact of my expression of these beliefs. The administration and Executive Board did not accept my offer. I was told that if I did not step down the administration would have stripped me of any official duty that it could strip me of – they would cease meeting with me as SBA President, and would have prohibited me from representing the school at graduation, law board meetings, admitted student weekend, and other events where the SBA President traditionally plays a role. In addition, the administration would have released a letter to the public explaining these restrictions – and describing my words (discussed below) as “derogatory remarks.” Cliff Zimmerman [faculty administrator] showed me two different versions of this letter; the version to be released if I stepped down being significantly kinder in its wording. The administration reached its conclusion to take this course of action without once bringing me, the Executive Board, administration members, and complaining parties into the same room. Finally, the Executive Board would have conducted a plebiscite on whether I was fit to hold what would have been left of the office of SBA President – the title. Given the costs of going through with this process, it should be clear that I have only “stepped down” from my position in the most technical sense.

    To provide some background: There was a breakfast last Thursday with Chief Justice Roberts to which a number of academic and student-government leaders were invited. The administration asked me to recommend a list of 10-15 “academic and community leaders” to attend this breakfast. The administration had the final word on the invitees; this should be obvious given the nature of the event, the addition of 10 students to my initial recommendations, and the fact that my recommendations had to be cleared with the administration. I was never told that the intent was to invite the leaders of every student organization. The students at that breakfast were an undeniably diverse cross-section of the Northwestern Law community. These students were invited not as racial representatives, but because of their leadership on the law journals, in student government, and in student organizations with leadership positions open to members of any ethnicity. Nonetheless, the leader of one of the ethnicity-oriented student groups – a person I have always considered a friend – shouted me down in the Atrium for overlooking the leaders of these groups. He told me that I took the opportunity of a lifetime away from him. I should have walked away. I had been up the better part of the previous evening and early morning answering student complaints about the invitation list, and had continued to field such complaints throughout the day. During what can only be described loosely as a conversation, I stated my belief that our community would be better off if all student organizations were organized around ideas, and not ethnicity. It is this off-hand remark that is the primary justification for my being forced from office.

    I’ve omitted the rest of his email, which consists of musings about free speech and grovelling humbly for having dared to question the orthodox position.

    The postscript is useful, though:

    * The complete list of students that I recommended for the breakfast: The SBA Executive Board and 1L Rep, Law Review board members, 2 Editors-in- Chief of academic journals, Federalist Society President, Fed Soc Board Member who has been exceptionally active on SBA Committees and in SFPIF, ACS President, STMS President. After two students responded that they could not attend, and in response to concerns that only two 1Ls were included in a group of 28, I recommended two 1Ls active on SBA and in student organizations. Of my 18 recommendations, at least 6 were of diverse ethnic background. The administration approved ALL of these recommendations in addition to inviting at least 10 students without my recommendation.

    The “ person I have always considered a friend” who got X in trouble is unrepentant about doing so, and still miffed that he didn’t get to have lunch with the judge. He is Latino group leader Kevin Strom:


    I’m saddened by your comments. You and I both know that is not why I was upset about the invite list. I did not say that you took an opportunity of a lifetime away from me. I said, while describing the impact of your decision, that it was not a small event, that it was the chance of a lifetime for anyone to go. I wrote down the conversation you and I had shortly after we had it, simply because I knew this might come up, and then I confirmed it with a respected 3L who was standing by during our conversation.

    Here is what I have:

    After Chief Justice Robert’s speech to the general student body Thursday, the President of the SBA approached me during the reception. He was unaware of many of the complaints and meetings that he had sparked. He was unaware that I, and many others had spent the majority of the day with Cliff and Audra because his actions were a reflection of the administration. He asked me how I was doing. I said, “fine.” He asked if I was sure, because I seemed upset. I told him that was probably not the best place and time to have this discussion. When he pushed on, I told him that I believed the way he handled the selection of “relevant student leaders” was ridiculous and unacceptable. He defended his actions saying that he chose the most relevant groups based on who would impress CJR. He said it didn’t matter because “we impressed him” and the breakfast went fine. I asked how he could ignore a group like BLSA, during Black History Month, with such a huge student base, and an entire month’s worth of programming. I asked him how he could ignore LLSA, another group with a month of programming that won Best Student Group of the Year last year, how we could be less relevant.

    His response blew me away:

    “I would dismantle all of your groups. If it were up to me there would be no LLSA, BLSA, Salsa and Apalsa, because they don’t bring anything to the community, and they contribute to racial identity politics.” He kept going, telling me that he doesn’t get caught up in racial politics and doesn’t believe in race based groups.

    I responded by telling him he was doing a *’super’* job of representing the students he was elected to serve. I told him he couldn’t separate his political views from his Presidential role, and those views shouldn’t affect the decisions he makes on behalf of us. This is especially true when the administration makes the error of allowing one student to make unilateral decisions as to who should attend an intimate breakfast with a figure such as the Chief Justice of the U.S.

    To the student body: That is what happened between X and I the night the Chief Justice spoke to the student body. I was not going to publish this information to the listserv, if you’ve seen my personal email to the Latino Law Student Association, you know that I toned down my words and paraphrased X when describing what transpired. I’ve included that email below. Obviously the administration and SBA felt that this, along with X’s other actions in the past month warranted removing him from the board, or at least stripping his ability to speak at any events. I’m available to answer any questions.


    Kevin Strom

    The SBA student leadership wanted to fire X too, even without faculty pressure perhaps:

    In light of recent events at Northwestern Law, the SBA Executive Board has asked X to step down from his role as SBA President, and he has agreed to do so, effective immediately. … Let’s hope that we all learn from recent events and continue to strive to make our law school more accepting and more open.

    Dean David Van Zandt and administrators Cliff Zimmerman, Audra Wilson, and Don Rebstock wrote a letter about “Xs decision to resign”:

    Dear Students,

    … Student groups are given great latitude to create programming and opportunities for their respective constituencies and the community as a whole; students are also given wide latitude and responsibility to pursue these activities with the support of, rather than intervention by, the Law School. However, when actions undermine the Law School’s mission or values or cause harm, the Law School must weigh the value of student autonomy and responsibility against the necessity to counter those actions that compromise our efforts to maintain a diverse, collegial, and supportive community.

    We have investigated the chain of events which led to the omission of several student group leaders from last week’s Student Leadership Breakfast with Chief Justice John Roberts. While part of the problem was administrative in nature, that mistake has been overshadowed by X subsequent comments that dismissed the value of the organizations of the uninvited leaders. Having acknowledged the serious affront to the student leaders in his comments,Xs decision to resign is the right one for himself, for the SBA, and for the Law School.

    The student newspaper has the Administration claiming it had not “played any role” in forcing X to resign:

    Both Dean Zimmerman and Director Wilson denied that the Administration played any role in forcing Mr. X to resign. Dean Zimmerman said that he simply informed Mr. X that he would not be asked to speak as a representative of the school. Although historically the SBA president has spoken to the Law Board, at Diverse Admit day, at Day at Northwestern, and at Graduation, these speaking opportunities are at the discretion of the administration….

    Although Director Wilson and Dean Zimmerman both admitted that the substance of Mr. X’s comments warranted further discussion, neither was yet sure how.

    “We need to move forward together in a constructive way,” said Zimmerman. “But I am still talking with several groups, both student and administration, about how best to address this issue.”

    “If we can’t have candid talks about race and ethnicity, our commitment to diversity is hollow,” Wilson said. “But we need to have the discussion with civility and tact.”

    Categories: free speech, law, universities Tags: