Proving Oscar Wilde’s dictum that irony is wasted on the stupid, more than 100 Yale Law students shouted, cursed, physically threatened, clapped and pounded on walls to silence a panel on civil liberties and free speech.
The March 10 event was a panel hosted by the Yale Federalist Society to bring together Monica Miller of the progressive American Humanist Association and Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). This progressive atheist and conservative Christian were at Yale to discuss Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld 8-1 the ability of a Christian student to vindicate in federal court his right to proselytize on campus, even if he sought only nominal damages.
Had the Yale students listened, they would have heard Miller saying that without the Uzuegbunam ruling, her organization would not be able to protect the speech rights of LGBT students.
Such distinctions were lost in the violent din. One protestor told a member of the Federalist Society that she would “literally fight you, bitch.” Student members of the Federalist Society were jostled as they attempted to leave the room. They were rescued by police.
It is past time for universities to do more than send an administrator in to such events to futilely plead for free speech. Any person who engaged in such behavior while at work would be fired. Any lawyer who brought these tactics to a court room would be escorted by the bailiff to jail. Given that Yale Law produces presidents, senators, justices, and judges, it is important to all Americans that it educate our future leaders to not threaten speakers.
An expulsion or two would probably work wonders.