Georgetown Law Professors, Students Plan to Protest Sessions Speech

Lucy Hill
September 27, 2017

Some on Monday also criticized the university's ticketing of the address, which is only open to a small group of students that have in the past signed up to attend at least one event held by its host organization.

Sessions told the story of one group of students who were jailed for passing out copies of the Constitution on a campus walkway, and cited a survey that found 40 percent of USA colleges and universities have 'speech codes that substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech'.

In a speech at Georgetown Law School's Center for the Constitution, Sessions cited a study that surveyed 450 colleges and universities across the country and found that 40 percent have codes that "substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech".

'The American university was once the center of academic freedom - a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas, ' he said during his speech.

"We know historically everyone in this country has not been granted the same rights, but that does not mean that we won't demand them", Smith said in an interview. "We hope in the future that AG Sessions will be courageous enough to engage in the robust debate that he claims to value".

Sessions, who has sparked controversy over immigration, race and other issues, talked about free speech on college campuses. "Freedom and thought on the American campus are under attack", he said. Protesters shut down the discussion by shouting, he said.

Unless, of course, a person is a professional football player protesting for civil rights, in which case they should expect consequences for "denegrating" symbols like the American flag. Barnett asked on behalf of a student.

"In effect, they coddle it and encourage it", Sessions said.

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However the dean of students, Mitch Bailin, and vice dean Jane Aiken sent an email on Tuesday morning that described three "zones on campus where protesters may gather today to be heard and seen before and during the Attorney General's visit". Then the nation's top law enforcement official condemned the actions of NFL players who protest during the national anthem and defended his boss' right to call for them to be fired.

"A national recommitment to free speech on campus and to ensuring First Amendment rights is long overdue", Sessions said.

'But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought, a shelter for fragile egos'.

After unexpectedly violent protests forced the shutdown of a speech by provocative writer Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley in February, Trump suggested that federal funding should be withheld if a state flagship school couldn't tolerate free speech. "I would condemn their actions", but not them personally, he continued.

Sessions's own campus visit Tuesday was in a controlled environment.

Flashpoints around hot-button speakers, alongside a trend of trigger warnings and safe spaces, have fueled reputations that places of higher education are hostile to the First Amendment.

Phillips, who said she was one of the students who received such a message, said that if they had been allowed to attend, they would have asked questions about the Trump administration's policies on criminal justice.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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