Yale backs heckler over conservatives' right to free speech

"Members of the administration are nonetheless in serious conversation with students about our free speech policies, expectations, and norms."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Following a disturbance at a Yale Law School event held by the school’s Federalist Society, the Ivy League college issued a statement amounting to what appears to be a slap on the wrist for those that caused havoc.

The statement, obtained by the Daily Mail, said that members of Yale’s administration are in "serious conversations" with the students that disturbed the March 10 event. One of these students yelled "I’ll hurt you, b*tch" at one of the panel’s speakers.

"As our Dean has always said, the bedrock commitment of a University community is the ability to speak freely," the statement read. "We allow people to speak even when their speech is flatly inconsistent with out own values."

"That is why the Law School follows the University’s free speech policy and procedures, which includes a three-warnings protocol," the statement continued.

This warning protocol was carried out by law professor Kate Stith, who reminded the students of the universities free speech policies after around 120 protestors, who outnumbered the audience, rose up when she introduced Kristen Waggoner of the conservative nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, and began causing a scene.

Video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon showed the students disturbing the event, and yelling at Stith and the panelists.

Students, who took particular issue with the ADF being on campus, held their middle fingers to Stith, who reportedly told the crowd to "grow up."

The students claimed that their disturbance constituted as "free speech," to which Stith said "I’m going to have to ask you to leave, or help you leave."

"At the very start of the March 10 event, when students began to make noise, the moderator read the University’s free speech policy for the first time," Yale’s statement read.

"At that point, the students exited the event, and it went forward," it continued. "When students made noise in the hallways, administrators and staff instructed the students to stop."

The students continued to disturb the event from the hallway, chanting "protect trans kids" and "shame, shame" while they stomped, sang, and pounded the walls, even disturbing nearby classes and meetings.

"During this time, Yale Law School staff spoke to YPD officers who were already on hand about whether assistance might be needed in the event the students did not follow those instructions," the statement said. "Fortunately, that assistance was not needed and the event went forward until its conclusion."

Police were not needed until the end of the event, where they ushered Waggoner and fellow panelist Monica Miller from the American Humanist Association from the building.

"Members of the administration are nonetheless in serious conversation with students about our free speech policies, expectations, and norms," the statement said.

The event, held by the Yale Federalist Society, invited Waggoner and Miller to talk about how liberal atheists and conservative Christians could find common ground on free speech issues.

"It was pretty much the most innocuous thing you could talk about," a member of the Federalist Society told the Free Beacon.

Following the event, an open letter circulated through the school online and gathered 417 signatures, amounting to more than 60 percent of the school’s student body, expressing their support for the protestors and condemning the police presence.

"An organic student protest emerged, and, instead of listening to student concerns, faculty told peaceful student protesters to 'grow up,' and the speaker from ADF told students that our protest did not reflect the 'civility' of the legal profession—a profession that has historically sidelined LGBTQ attorneys," the letter said.

"The danger of police violence in this country is intensified against Black LGBTQ people, and particularly Black trans people," the letter continued. "Police-related trauma includes, but is certainly not limited to, physical harm. Even with all of the privilege afforded to us at YLS, the decision to allow police officers in as a response to the protest put YLS's queer student body at risk of harm."

Yale’s statement addressed these concerns regarding the police presence, saying that when visitors bring their own security, they are required to correspond with Yale Police.

"We regularly work with student groups for various events and speakers. When visitors to the Yale campus bring their own security, as in this case, university policy requires the Law School to in form Yale Police," the statement read. "We then work with the police to determine the appropriate level of support for the particular visitor and/or event."

In response to the protestors at the event, Miller told the Free Beacon, "As lawyers, we have to put aside our differences and talk to opposing counsel. If you can't talk to your opponents, you can’t be an effective advocate."

Waggoner expressed similar remarks, saying, "Yale Law students are our future attorneys, judges, legislators, and corporate executives. We must change course and restore a culture of free speech and civil discourse at Yale and other law schools, or the future of the legal profession in America is in dire straits."


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