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tv   Hearing Focuses on Free Speech on College Campuses  CSPAN  June 21, 2017 2:08am-4:07am EDT

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officials. this judiciary committee hearing is two hours. [inaudible conversations]
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>> welcome everybody. good morning. today our judiciary committee considers an important and timely topic. the first amendment on college campuses. senator feinstein and i will give opening statements and we will also have opening statements from the chairman and ranking member of the constitution subcommittee that senator collins and senator blumenthal. higher education rests on the free flow of ideas. education requires that positions be held tentatively tested by opposing arguments that are actually considered and evaluated. all must protect free speech. public institutions must adhere to the various guarantees over
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first amendment's. too often all the these fundamental principles have been under assault. even worse some people who exercise their first amendment rights have them selves than assaulted. as a result those who would curtail free speech have been emboldened and those who disagree with the prevailing orthodoxy have been censored or chilled from speaking freely. there is no point in having a student body on campus if competing ideas are not exchanged and analyzed and respected by each other. at kellogg community college administrators required prior approval for speech to public forums, a twofold violation of the first amendment. amazingly the students there were arrested for distributing
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copies of the u.s. constitution. their lawsuit against the college and against its administrators in their personal capacity is pending. many students erroneously think that speech that they consider hateful is violent. yet some students engage in acts of violence and speech and universities have failed adequately punish that violence. on the university of california-berkeley, too invited speakers were prevented from speaking due to mob violence and other projected safety concerns that the university failed to control. that university should be reminded of a passage of one of supreme court's most important first amendment rulings. quote if there is any fake star in our constitutional constellation it is that no
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official can prescribe what shall be orthodox politics end quote. a lawsuit has been brought that alleges that berg way systemically and intentionally suppressed speech protected by the first amendment because it's different from that of university administrator said at middleburg's college sam and it scholar mr. charles murray was there for shouted down from speaking and then when the event was moved students pulled the fire alarm to prevent him from speaking. it was not dr. mar yvette the students who essentially falsely yell fire in a crowded theater. the middle very professor who administered, who moderated the debate was physically assaulted and has yet to fully recover from her serious injuries.
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it was not a mere handful of students but a mop who engaged in such appalling conduct at an institution theoretically devoted to rationality. not including those who were not captured on video the college discipline more than 70 students but none was expelled or even suspended. it is as if practical matter no one received any more punishment than the secret -- as a penalty that is dr. moran noted such week punishment will not deter any future students. the first amendment is very clear. the supreme court has decided that free speech is protected, that speech cannot be restricted based on viewpoint, the public forums must be places where
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free-speech rights can be exercised and restraint on speech is our highly disfavored. otherwise any speech that anyone found offensive could be suppressed. little free speech would survive as justice holmes said quote if there is any principle of the constitution that calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate end of quote. onto many campuses today free speech appears to be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. many administrators believe that students should be shielded from hate speech, whatever that is as an exception to the first
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amendment. unfortunately this censorship is no different from many other examples in history when speech that authorities seem to be the radical has been suppressed based upon its content. even more unfortunate the anti-constitutional attitude that is so pervasive that students are being socialized and possibly indoctrinated into favoring censorship at odds with our first amendment. a recent gallup poll found that students buy a 69-31 margin believe that it is desirable to restrict the use of slurs and other language intentionally offensive to certain groups and by a 72-27 margin they favor restricting restriction of political views that are upsetting or offensive to certain groups.
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college students vote, not only academia but our democracy depends on the ability to advocate to inform or to change minds. when university suppressed speech they not only damage freedom today, they establish important norms harmful to democracy going forward. these restrictions may cause and exacerbate the political polarization that is so widely lamented in our society. whatever the nature of the speech being suppressed we all ought to be concerned and i am however prominent liberal universities lament that they vast amount of free speeches on the conservative side of the spectrum. recent commandment -- commencement address that i will put in the record the lack of
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conservative ideas on campuses and as former stanford provost has observed quote there is a growing intolerance at universities, apolitical one-sided thus that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for end of quote and he fears that university administrators will take the easy route of giving in to students pressure to restrict debate and i ask consent to include his excellent remarks in the record as well. he fears -- his fears are being realized. in a recent interview the president of northwestern university undercuts the apparent lip service that he paid to the first amendment rather than making students
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confront this page that makes him uncomfortable he advocated making students feel comfortable by ensuring a safe space where they will not hear it. even worse when asked whether he would be comfortable where the speaker were shouted down the middle very to speak at northwestern he replied that he would permit their appearances quote unquote on a case-by-case basis. the first amendment does not permit arbitrary restraint on speech by university administrator's on a case-by-case basis. that is an open invitation to discriminate based on viewpoint. that is where too many colleges are right now. a reality great universities would welcome numerous speakers whose positions made the president of the university and many others uncomfortable
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on-campus uncomfortable. some may advocate legislation theoretically private colleges that accept federal funds subject to individual private lawsuits when free-speech rights occur or don't occur including religious free speech. if those are all violated some even suggest an analog section section 1933. under that approach officials at private universities that accept federal funds would be subject to an individual right of action for damages if they violate free speech or fail to train university officials and campus police to the first amendment. fortunately not all schools adopt the censorship approach. the university of chicago has adopted a policy that some of the universities have followed
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which i will put in the record that this policy prohibits university from suppressing speech that even most people on campus would find offensive or immoral and calls for counter speech rather than suppression of people who disagree with speech and while protecting protest expressly prohibits quote otherwise interfering the freedom of others to express views that they were jacked. finally it commits the university to protect that freedom on others attempt to restricted end of quote. we have a distinguished panel of guests that i welcome. senator feinstein. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i'm going to put my remarks in the record and i'm just going to make a few reflections on some of your comments. i agree with some of what you said. i disagree with others.
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let's take a look at the first amendment. the first amendment says that congress shall make low -- no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the right of people peaceably, peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress. the fact of the matter is there are certain occasions on which individuals assemble not to act peaceably but to act as destructively as they possibly can and i know a little bit about the university of california. you cited berkeley. the president of that university is known to all of us. she was the governor. she headed a 250,000 staff
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homeland security department here. she is tough, she is strong, she is fair, she is able and the question comes that when you have a set group of people that come to create a disturbance and some of them even wearing and wearing certain clothing, what do you do? big university police departments, it's been my experience don't always have the equipment meaning mental and training equipment to be able to seek it out, to handle it into a isolated. so you run the risk of substantial harm and that was what judgment the university made in the one situation recently that it would become a drawing card for groups that range from anarchists to just
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very unsavory people to be violent. that is really a horse of another color. i was mayor during the democratic convention in 1984 and i can tell you with a lot of fear at that time about what might happen at that convention, so we took -- made a lot of plans to be able to handle it and got extra help and we did handle it and there was no violence and it was a good convention. maybe universities should be steeped in and have the ability financially to really develop the kind of intelligence you need and the kind of policing that you need at some of these events. i mean i went to a smaller
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private university. there was never a problem but you have big universities and one of the largest is the university of california which have turned campuses with over 250,000 students. so there are instances of problems from time to time but i think our efforts would be much better, finding methodologies to handle those incidents. i know of no effort at berkeley, the university of california to stifle student speech, none and if there is a specific effort i would certainly appreciate it if people brought that to my attention. but i do believe that the university has a right to protect its students from demonstrations once they become acts of violence.
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i hope today that there will be some discussion of when does speech become violent and what do you do to stop that violence because we all want freedom of speech. i don't want anything different than you wanted that regard but maybe i've been indifferent world having been there a tumultuous time, having gone through assassinations and understanding what happens in a big dissent. so do know my state isn't your state that the volume here can be very large so i just wanted to make those comments and say that it's not a simple matter when demonstrations become violent. >> senator thune. too thank you mr. chairman thank you for holding this very important hearing. free speech matters.
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diversity matters. diversity of peoples backgrounds but also diversity of thought, diversity of ideas. universities are meant to be a challenging environment for young people to encounter ideas they have never seen, they never imagined at the they might passionately disagree with. if universities become homogenizing institutions that are focused on inculcating and indoctrinating rather than challenging we will lose what makes universities great. the first amendment is not about opinions you agree with. not about opinions that are right and reasonable. the first amendment is about opinions that you passionately disagree with and the right of others to express them. it's tragic what is happening at so many american universities
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where college administrators and faculty have become complicit in functioning essentially a speech police deciding what speech is permissible and what speech is sent. you see violent protests. the senior senator from california referred to it and acting effectively peppers are violent thugs come in and say this particular speaker i disagree with here she has to say and therefore i will threaten physical violence if the speeches last to happen in far too many colleges and universities quietly roll over and say okay the threat of violence we will effectively reward the violent criminals and muscle the first amendment. i saw a recent study from the knight foundation is said that a majority of college students believe the climate on the
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campus has prevented people from saying what they believe out of fear of giving offense. what an indictment of our university system. and what does it say about what you think about your own ideas? if ideas are strong and if ideas are right you don't need to muscle the opposition. he should welcome the opposition when you see college faculty and administrators being complicit or active players in silencing those with opposing views, what they're saying is they are afraid. they are afraid of their ideas cannot band the dialectic, cannot stand opposition, cannot stand facts or reasoning or anything on the other side. it is only through force and power that their ideas can be accepted. i am one who agrees with john stuart mill the best solution
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for bad ideas, for bad speech is , more speech and better ideas other people with not just ideas in the world? absolutely but not these grotesque and repulsive than evil and our constitution they have a right to speak and the rest of us have a moral obligation to announce what they say. a bunch of racist bigoted bugs bugs -- expressed their views and we have an obligation than to confront those views which are weak, poisonous and ron and confront them with truth. they don't use -- need to use brute force to silence them because the truth is far more powerful so this is an important hearing and i think the witnesses for being here and i think the chairman. >> senator coons chairman of the committee on constitution center blumenthal the ranking member i'll go to senator blumenthal
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now. >> thank you to the witnesses for being here today on this very important topic. we would do well to remember that this issue is hardly new to democracy and in particular a democracy. during the height of the beginning of the vietnam controversy when his car literally was founded on and he was physically threatened by protesters. the vietnam protest movement like others often lend itself to successes threatening at the time and then there's a reporter -- as a reporter had the privilege of covering this convention in chicago in 1968 not in the convention hall but in the streets where teargas and
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physical confrontation were more common than rational discourse. differences of opinion can lead to disagreements which in turn can lead to and what we celebrate always on this committee which establishes lines that many of us conduct where people have to wait a minute rather than -- a respect for each other's opinions and
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that brings me to the main point that i want to make which is respect for the rule of law is really so fundamental to this conversation and disrespect for the rule of law we have seen all too often outside the universities as well as in. diversity's are not isolated enclaves that are in some ways aberrant. the kinds of confrontations that we have seen on universities reflect the fighting words often used by politicians and others in our society that may be designed to promote violence and we should be mindful of our own duties to be respectful of the law and to make sure that we particularly respect the first amendment which says that senator feinstein put it so well , no law abridging those
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rights. .. the state attorney general prosecutor and out of the began
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a speech or hate crimes i should say, and respect for speech that could be preserved and ascribing to the balance is one area that i think we need to take lessons from the experience you bring to us today while we talk about the respect for the rule of law i want to take this opportunity to thank you and the ranking member for beginning or invest in -- investigation exemplified by the finance director and related actions and i hope that we will pursue that political interference rigorously and comprehensively because i think again any kind of interference obstruction of justice or
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related criminal activity or civil interference in the rule of law has close scrutiny by this. we have the duty and i am very thankful that you and the ranking member are proceeding along this course and i want to thank you for it. >> that is very kind of you mr. chairman and i will try to make this brief and to the point. there was a debate on the floor of the senate on the first amendment freedom of expression, freedom of speech. let me read what one of our colleagues said about the debate and the decision when it came to the free speech he said, and he was awarded the medal of honor this objectionable is painful and unpatriotic.
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but i believe that americans gained their lives and have the right to express themselves even those that harbor hateful thoughts. in just a few words, the senator put his words right on what the debate is all about. if we believe in the constitution and bill of rights and freedom of expression as the senator from texas said earlier to stand back and put up with some hateful comments and conduct racist comments come anti-semitic comments, all of the above reason i bring up is about the flagburning amendment that failed by one vote on the floor of the senate to ban desecration of the flag by burning to make an exception the first exception in the history
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to the bill of rights and freedom of speech do i find it the burning of the american flag hateful, you bet i do and i bet everyone in this room agrees. but it's the same basic principle. are we prepared to defend the right as much as we hate it in the name of standing behind the constitutional principle be missed by one vote of changing the constitution it was as painful as it gets in the judiciary committee but a reminder of what we pay when we stand behind the principle of free speech. >> i'm going to introduce from my left and right.
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wall street journal and the class of 2018 scholar at williams college where he served as president of learning student group that sparked a national controversy for providing the speakers to campus, the secretary and ceo of stuff phi beta kappa society and served as president of brandeis university and his bachelor's degree from williams college and law degree from yale. a student at the university of cincinnati where he is also pursuing a masters of arts and political sciencinpolitical scis bachelors of arts from ohio university and the associate director of students defending the student organization that assists those that go all the
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interim vice president at the university here in dc and earned all of her degrees from the american university, m.a. in public administration, phd in sociology. and if i pronounce this wrong, please correct me. the distinguished professor ucla school of law where he is a noted academic expert. the professor obtained both his bs in math, computer from the ucla. richard cohen is an attorney and president of the southern law center. mr. cohen is a graduate of the university from virginia school of law. the senior counsel from the new york law firm and is leading
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first amendment litigator from cornell university and jd from yale. before you start to speak, i never dabble people down at five minutes but i hope when the light turns on you will sum up pretty quickly. we have two votes at 11 and it is going to be necessary to keep the committee meeting going so i hope people will take turns so we can keep the testimony and questions coming. by the way, your entire statement will be put in the record. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to appear before you. i am a senior and president at
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the college. over the last two years i've advocated for the importance of engaging controversial offensive views on college campuses. when i arrived at williams college to begin my freshman year i had high hopes that my intellectual experience would stimulate vigorous debate and encourage robust open discussion of controversial issues. i identify as a liberal democrats that separates many progressive causes yet i believe that students should be encouraged to engage with people and ideas that they vehemently disagree with. as president of uncomfortable learning i strive to broaden the range of political discourse on campus by inviting speakers with challenging, provocative and out of the mainstream views on pressing issues of the times. i joined uncomfortable learning
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because i wanted to push my intellectual limits and conference controversy. i wanted to clarify the issues that challenge people the most and why. i've wanted to discuss the argument of content and how best to respond unwelcome ideas and defensive speech. humanity isn't limited to the values we admire it also encompasses the thoughts and actions that we resist. to gain a deeper understanding of humanity i made a concerted effort to understand as thoroughly as possible divisions and convictions of those arguments that i oppose. in doing so, i have faced considerable backlash from the student body. the response was jarring yet i resolve to ignore the attacks pushing forward. i invited the author and
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commentator about the race and national identity. my announcement of the invitation angered many students and faculty on campus precisely because he previously made comments about african-america african-americans. within 48 hours of the event for the president only canceled the speaker but days later the president enacted the new speaker policies that made bringing the speakers to campus and especially arduous process for my student group. what i find in permissible, undemocratic and antithetical to the character of the college that i attend is the president's decision to disinvite a speaker solely on the basis of an inflammatory remark about race. at williams, the administration promotes social tolerance often at the expense of political tolerance. in my time at williams, i cannot name a single conservative
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speaker that has been brought to campus by the administration. this fact is problematic precisely because the overwhelming majority of students have liberal beliefs. this adds to what many commentators refer to the eco- chamber. in classrooms liberal arguments are often treated with unquestionable truths. in some cases, conservative students feel the need to refrain from their opinion and fear of being shut down. im sure all campus students get to freedom on the college campus. in the present moment williams is one of many colleges that has disinvited controversial speakers. at colleges and universities around the country students face free speech codes and bones and other infringements on the first amendment rights.
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instead of nurturing thoughtful debate of the topics, many college educators discourage predebate by shielding students from offensive views. on the liberal progressivism. it's free speech and intellectual micro aggressions. none of them can be resolved without an appreciation of the free speech and intellectual higher education. for me, free speech is not about a partisan act. it's not about promoting or advancing a particular set of precedences.
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i care about my education and in hope of gaining a deeper understanding of the world and using that knowledge to when they make a positive difference in the lives of others. for me, free speech and intellectual freedom matters because it is among the founding principles that animate the vibrant and ensure the sustenance of democracy. thank you mr. chairman. the former trustee i'm proud to be sitting next to with my college is producing. the expression has never seemed greater. i know this from my years as a law school dean and as a university president. the challenges come in all directions in all contexts.
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they come from the left and they come from the right. they involve students and faculty. they involve outside speakers as mr. wood just talked about. given the public discourse and lack of clarity about the value of free expression it is perhaps no surprise that this issue presents itself with such intrusive and see on the campuses. public and private, small liberal arts colleges and research universities. so, at this moment it is particularly important that we recommit ourselves to first principles into this hearing is a welcome opportunity to begin to do so. the ranking member poignantly talked to the context of large universities and perhaps is the only person sitting in this room that has been a university president, i am grateful for someone understanding the complexities of the role when they face the first principles are a sensual and let me stay
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three. first as each of you mentioned the robust free expression is central to the mission of colleges and universities. second, the limits of such expression which would be opened at the margins of the expressive activity should turn on the intent of the actor and not the attempt on our part to distinguish speech from conduct the intent to threaten and intimidate is different from the intent to express and communicate. third, there is an obligation the senator said a moral obligation in my view to respond to the speech and not to suppress it but respond clearly and forcefully. universities and colleges in this country have a mission, i would say a sacred russian to transmit data through the teaching and scholarship so it should go without saying the
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robust expression is troll to that. as a result of the speakers are presumed to be permitted to speak and should expect to face questions and answers. students and faculty are presumed to have their writing and speaking protected. so is there a limit to this expression and when does it cross over from the protected expression into something that would be prohibited and the campus context into a context where sanctions would be appropriate? as i said, this turns on the intent of an actor. but we get a different example and this is the prior president over mr. chairman pryor president is now at northwestern university said he does seem to keep coming up. when i was a trustee there was an event in which a student had on her door the leader had
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posted a flyer that said she should evacuate her room immediately and this was meant as a full notice to parody what had happened in israel and palestinian homes in the defense force. the president of the college pulled me up and said is there something we can do about this and i said we need to know what is in the mind of the student thathat he basically said how cn we possibly know that? why don't we find out how they were distributed, was it o on oe students were to intimidate or as it turned out to be the case, put on the doors of every one of them in that form in whic the de in my view and in his come it was an attempt to demonstrate a strongly held political view offensive to some, disagreeable to many it nonetheless should be protected and therefore the speech was protected and no conduct should be taken but a speech that is protected but this particularly hateful here i
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go back to something the senator said at the beginning. i believe that justice had it right when he said the answer is not enforced silence with more speech. this is not an option in the time that we are living, it is an obligation. so a university president has an obligation to speak out in the face of hateful speech not to to oppressive to speak out. a president to be careful not to be calling first amendment vocals and strikes on a daily basis as it overstepped the boundaries but if a president picks hers or her moment to say this kind of conduct and suppression is not representative of the best values then that holds us to the highest levels not to educate but to provide a citizenry that is the essence of the democracy. thank you mr. chairman.
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distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you today. i am a rising student at the university of cincinnati. prior to attending, i was also involved with an organization called students defending students. we assisted students accused of violating the code of conduct helping through the disciplinary process and every year to raise awareness we produce t-shirts with a funny slogan. it said huguenot called the 2013 shirts that displayed the founding slogan we get you off for free, and i have one here proved to be unexpectedly controversial. what flew in the 70s when students defending students was
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founded didn't fly in 2013. we wore the shoes h they could shirts at the gathering on the main campus where freshmen can learn about campus activities. scs was present to recruit members and they posted a picture on the official twitter account as one of members handing out flyers while wearing the shirt and a campus administrators saw it and later told us we were not to wear the shirts again. she said they objectified women and in a total head scratcher that they promoted prostitution. that was worrying to us because as advisors of the student conduct process we knew the code of conduct inside and out although the slogan was unquestionably protected by the first amendment the campus policies were so broadly risked disciplined for wearing the shirt and shirts and i knew thea history of punishing students for protected speech so i reached out to the foundation for individual rights in
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education and nonpartisan nonprofit organization that defends free speech and with their help i sued ohio university to fix the sections of the code of conduct that would have allowed us to be punished and even expelled for wearing the shirts. after that, things happened. after only a few months, they settled the lawsuit favorably changing the code of conduct so that it protected free expression and paying out $32,000 in damages. wwe were also allowed to wear te shirts again. it's unfortunate i had to take such serious actions to get things fixed but sometimes that is what needs to be done. some administrators are not going to pay attention to what is legally right unless they are forced to do so. in my experience it was unfortunately not isolated. examples of campus censorship are plentiful. in one case a former student
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needed a free-speech badge to hand out literature promoting animal rights in a vegan diet in the free-speech zone and another case a student at the current school the university of cincinnati was threatened with arrest for trespassing for gathering signatures outside of the university of cincinnati's free-speech zone and there've been multiple cases across the country where students were prevented from distributing copies of the united states constitution in open outdoor areas of their campuses because they were doing so outside of the schools free-speech zones and i would like to thank you for bringing up an example of such a thing in the opening remarks. taken together what this means is we know administrators nationwide are stifling free check so thank you again for the opportunity to testify and share my story and for putting the spotlight on this national
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problem. >> ranking member and the committee thank you for the opportunity to be here today. the challenge for leaders on american campuses today is to maintain balance when protecting important values that are often intentioned especially in the context of the nation's political climate and views of the first amendment among younger americans compared with the generation that came before them. freedom of expression is an important principle's largest public universities where the rights must be protected but also private institutions because the fundamental mission to create, share and exchange ideas. knowledge and discovery are the basic tenets of the freedom and free expression of ideas. another important principle is the respect and dignity with
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which we expect all members to demonstrate particularly divergent ideas. discourse and dialogue representing the perspective is into gold to learning and scholarship. it's fundamental to educating citizens who will lead productive lives and contribute to a healthy democracy. campuses around the country including american university have seen a rise in the episode of deeply offensive speech and expression from racist statement acts to flagburning these expressions come from within and from our own students faculty and staff as well as forces outside of the community. whether westborough baptist church as an institution committed to freedom of expression and flavors of
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inclusion and protest manifestation of free expression we have effectively managed events that would be deemed controversial. we are gathered in the work by freedom of expression and guide lines and by the american university senate resolution on freedom of expression. the resolution states that for hundreds of years the pursuit of knowledge has been the center of the discourse that matter how controversial, inconvenient and uncomfortable if the condition necessary to that pursued. american university stands in this tradition. as an institution we draw the line when expedition has the potential to insight violence or is a direct threat to members of the community. so most recent among this episode is investigated as a hate crime by the fbi. on the last day of class this
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spring, racist expressions and physical violence for african-american women who were members one of whom was the first black woman elected as the student government president and the first day in office. with the increasing frequency of such episodes the ability of students to learn and then limited when students fear for their safety this affects the ability to study and participate fully in the life of the university. maintaining the commitment to the values is complicated and requires robust policies as well as constant education and training. american university has robust policies for protecting free expression as well as academic freedom. we must also investigate, respond, track and report crimes as required by the law.
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just as it is treated as an aggravating factor for crime so too does thto does the code of t conduct which was modified this year to consider motivation and sanctions for those found responsible for violations. if there is a take away from the testimony it is the free-speech comes with responsibility and accountability into ever more diverse population on the campuses and expectations to constant tension. thank you. [applause] >> [inaudible]
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technology, too complicated for me. thank you. just yesterday the supreme court reaffirmed there is no hate speech and the viewpoint discrimination is generally speaking forbidden including not just the coronal wall but in that case exclusion from various trademark programs that the government ran into the speech on college campuses that the government may not punish speech because of the viewpoint expressed as whether it is hateful or otherwise and justice kennedy well put can be turned to the detriment of all that even though restrictions on speech that broadly condemned as
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wrong and offensive can turn into the suppression and historically often have. let me illustrate this with an example from the testimony that i agree with including its rejection but note the definition that was offered by hateful speech i mean that which insults the group among the national gender identity lines and i should express it is not an uncommon sort of definition but if you look at it closely what that means is a vast range of flagburning, which i entirely agree should be protected while the offense along national lines and debates about religion would often a friend groups among the religious line that is perceived as blasphemous and about
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same-sex marriage if you have an honest debate it would send some people along these lines whether or not they are accurate or not. there is of course time the university isn't trying to suppress it because i find it offensive. i tend to agree with the view that it shouldn't be allowed. the question was when you have a set group of people that come to create a disturbance what do you do and i think the answer is to
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make sure they don't and threatened them with meaningful punishment if they do create a disturbance and not just let them have their way by suppressing that kind of speech they want to suppress. one thing we've learned, those of us that our prisons have learneare produced havelearned a behavior that is rewarded is repeated. when they were not they need to do in order to suppress speech is threatened violence then there will be more such threats from all over the spectrum into the solution is to say a speech will go on if that means bringing more law enforcement and making sure those people who do act violently physically or disruptively be punished. respect for the rule of law is a fundamental principle of american life.
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you would be punished by having the goals from the speaker you are trying to suppress. the court has made it quite clear speech has to be protected regardless of its viewpoint and some speech should lead to a criticism of it on the campuses are elsewhere. thank you. >> than. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member feinstein.
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it's an honor to appear before the committee this one particularly with my fellow panelists. the first amendment is of a paramount importance particularly at institutions of higher education. in recent months the commitment of the universities to the first amendment has been tested as speakers from the energized movement have their eye on some college campuses the speakers have drawn protests from organized violence outside groups of so-called anti-fascists. the formation that are dedicated to fighting the fascists answered what happened at berkeley demonstrates it is a combustible situation.
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a leading white nationalists who popularizes the term as a highly publicized rally shortly after the presidential election spencer gave a speech as many in the audience said the event catapulted into the national prominence and the first college speech following the rally he stated america belongs to white men, we own it and in advance of the scheduled appearance at auburn the check to ensure they knew about the problems that others faced when controversial speakers came to town and also suggested to the administrators and the college club they hold an event to the nation's democratic values.
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we have no objection of course to the peaceful protest but we suggest they not give to the audience and not do anything that allows the speakers to portray themselves as first amendment martyrs making it clear that it was the right thing to do. the first amendment doesn't require them to be neutral when the speakers come to town. they can and should take the position. but then they canceled a speech out of fear that it would promote violence and that was the wrong thing to do because the university was perfectly capable and as suggested there may be some cases and they have to take steps to cancel the speech.
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they handed richard spencer a victory and they are to the founding principles to parade around the amendment. we will see more violent confrontation of college campuses when the school starts this fall. they have unearthed some demons. since the election we documented 200 instances being fired on college campuses and also detected a surge of intimidation and violence in schools and communities across the country. richard spencer is scheduled to speak and something that i find to be almost sacrilegious. he will be joined by the founder of one of the groups that is
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occurring. the first amendment rights must be protected. we need to fight a speech that threatens to democratic values with a speech that holds them and it is an obligation that university officials have and every one in public life starting with the president has as well. >> senator grassley, ranking member feinstein, other members of the committee that are here i want to add another line from the supreme court opinion yesterday in which they said the
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following. that is the law and the first amendment teaches us. it is phrased during the years of consistently through the years. what brings us here today is that time and again, speech is effectively banned on campus is because the speaker has ibs that offend. that's the problem. it does not arise because the university administrations are seeking to suppress.
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it is that they find offensive or outrageous and so we have a record before the committee and from what has occurred throughout america of the speakers being silenced when they say or they are expected to say. the commissioner of new york shouted out at the university the mayor of jerusalem shouted down. i can go on with those examples. there are situations of the invitations being withdrawn for fear of offending students.
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the first woman ever to have the international monetary fund canceled for fear of student disapproval and the light. some speakers have been withdrawn because it's made very clear to them that they would be unable to proceed with their speeches. again and again it can appear on the panels and not spoken individually.
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as the time has gone on and other speakers have pointed out. it's become obvious the campus has been the same. the real question as there was no speech and that was the generation so-called.
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they are unwilling to listen to ideas with which they disagree. they should start to address now. thank you very much. >> thank you to each of the witnesses for your important and powerful testimony. i want t to thank the both of yu for being here and for your courage in speaking out and risking persecution and doing so. it's important and significant. with both of you you may have the views i agree with or disagree with. those that disagree with your views or those that are coming to campus succeeded in shutting them down.
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did that embolden dissenters and what did that do to the climate on the campus when people discover that the veto could succeed? we are doing something that is just and right. >> my experience was with censorship coming from the direction of the administration. they punished in any way with broad language of the code and i agree they were emboldened to try to take out the viewpoint
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that they found offensive. i want to welcome you to the committee. we've been friends now for 20 years. they spent together in an interfaith prayer session and i will never forget that. nor do i forget baked cookies and you don't forget this. it is compromised at which point they said who are these friends of yours and i said no one on earth that they would offer such a sentiment. it's great to welcome you back. and thank you for being such a
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passionate champion. >> part of the problem that is happening on campus is that the office for civil rights but also some support from the justice department to take the views that the federal law requires.
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they would find it in big ways that have never covered a speech that was allegedly created such environments with the same logic applied to speech them race, religion and such. colleges had been trying to implement cover to those that wantethatwant it and throws thed i do think that the universities should try to prevent in an atmosphere where people feel threatened and otherwise intimidated or marginalized based on various things. the groups are willing to
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participate in speaking out across this speech and telling students guess you are welcome here. taking advantage for the counter speech or urging them to take advantage is something the universities are uniquely well-positioned to do because they are in control and they often have people that are willing to help out among the student body instead they argued about the speech codes are not just a proper solution but a required solution and it's very much a mistake fortunately federal courts have not taken that view they've taken the opposite view. it's in the early 2000 it is a limit on the campus speech codes and then some walking away from that and several years ago.
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we hope they will go back and be affirmed the principle to protect against violence and offers no justification for speech restrictions. >> and a final question. you've spent decades. one of the things we see on the campuses is that it is not just those extreme groups that are driving the speech center but rather just speakers and academics with views that are disagreed but it's contrary to the reigning political orthodoxy on many campuses whether it is
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urging tolerance and what it is people are getting about same-sex marriage. whether it is an academic scholar like charles murray making arguments that are controversial and whether it is an academic scholar like heather mcdonald speaking about police officers. and protecting the views of those that disagree and the campuses when only one side of the issue is allowed to be expressed publicly. >> first at the core it exists primarily for the purpose of certain very significant and sensitive areas and of religion, speech, press.
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it is tempting. i get it. everyone understands the temptation to say this view were back is so offensive, so outrageous i'm serving the public interest by shoving it up. they say precisely the opposite direction. if they make the decision about what to believe and what not to believe.
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there is an amazing consensus at least in the abstract. the problem is the application. should i be able to stop the speaker because i am offended? no. because i am intimidated? i think yes. should i be able to stop someone from speaking no, because i find him menacing? yes. should i be able to stop someone because they make me feel uncomfortable? no someone that i find threatening or menacing, intimidating? where do you draw the line. now put your self in the university you want to encourage the exchange of ideas. but you also have the responsibility for the safety of the students. and what might happen from those that come and attend a meeting
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and what their reaction might be. now add another element. does this make it more complicated for the college president? whether or not they will be allowed to come in and speak let me ask you to address that. >> thank you. i think that it is an incredible issue. universities have an obligation to take reasonable steps that they can foresee in the event of violence in other words if you are a university, you can't do nothing and then when you may be threatening people to show up i'm going to cancel the speech and have an obligation to make some bona fide efforts to protect the speaker or the students but of course there could be situations where at the 11th hour got information that 50 busloads were coming and you
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had no choice but to cancel the speech. we don't rule out speakers because the possibility that there would be some sort of vague harmful impact. sure if a lot of people come to the campus with guns or they are threatening or the like, that's one situation. very rare but we are talking about this premise of the states with concealed carry law it's like we are announcing that we are bringing guns under the law they are allowed to carry on to the campus. >> that has been the decision of the legislatures and so far it is perfectly constitutional.
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it's not to shut down campuses. there has to be more than a credible threat. have we had a situation on campus and which as a result of the speech people who come with guns have committed felonies? i can't think of one. >> i think they've got it right. the presumption is in favor of speech. the question is when can you overcome the presumption. situations now particularly in jurisdictions as you say where this becomes an enormous concern to the administration and there have been cases where most of the time the information is not made public where the university people have spoken with their own campus security that we have credible information from local law enforcement and there could be people with weapons on the campus. i appreciated the analogy to the veto but the cases come out of
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the 1960s and in southern jurisdictions that want to oppress the marches and the answer is they have to make sure there is enough of a presence you can't just help safety office and university. sometimes you don't have the resources so those are the kind of judgment that they are required to make on a daily basis. >> want to asi want to ask you o elaborate on a point that you made with the minority and political views. if they feel that they were to express their political views whether it is on the issue of affirmative action or welfare or any number of critical issues.
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if they received disapproval for simply stating their belief i've tried to encourage them to do it i understand that it's difficult when it will affect the way in which the professor views you and sees you as someone that is only trying to make the most of your education. >> and also, your testimony that williams college adopted the policies that appear to apply equally to all speakers but in practice made it harder for the speakers to come to the campus and liberals. i would like to have you elaborate on that point. >> learning with a group of the college it was unaffiliated for the specific reasons and that is because the college council and majority of the student body is liberal and was not going to vote to approve on the uncomfortable learning. that also means if we were to go
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through the council we would have to receive the funding that would then give discretion as to what speakers we could bring. what the president did is put several checkpoints in place that meant first i had to discuss with several ply i selected that particular speaker if i'm willing to d deal with te controversy on top of that and if you have to convey to them what the sources of funding are. this was a particular problem for the learning precisely because of the student body. we were worried that the group would not pass which meant we would not be allowed to bring speakers, so it forced me to go through a number the same hurdles to.
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its role as the line when the exposition is the potential to incite violence, end of quote. of course america is private and the first amendment does not apply. but is this consistent in the long-standing meaning in the first amendment of? >> i don't think so. i don't think the potential to inspire comes close to meeting the legal standard which requires the intent and likelihood of success and violence occurring. there are speakers that are incendiary and what they say, and that would be an egregious violation of the amendment and the first amendment values to bar them from speaking because there is a possibility of
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violence occurring. >> i understood the reference that it is something of a shorthand for the test that is quite clearly articulated only if it is intended to. there was a time when they accepted the notion of the potential to produce bad conduct and that was a so called about a tendency that was used around the time of world war i and some of the cases that upheld a restriction on speech. it is from that and i think this ties into the point they can carry guns legally in public places where there often are speeches and in 50 states people can carry illegally as well.
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somebody committing murder isn't going to block restrictions nonetheless the possibility that somebody would draw a reaction or hope to produce the violent reaction couldn't be enough and the statement is sort of shorthand on the specific point that you mentioned. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i wanted to ask this question. we are holding a copy of the paper from the southern poverty law center. the title of which is the battle for berkeley in the name of the freedom of speech, the radical right is circling the ivory tower for the right.
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could you please describe for us this paper and any comments that you would care to make? ..
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my sympathy goes out to the universities officials said her glee because they had been faced with think creasing the incendiary situations. one of the reasons why thank it's really important for public officials at all levels send mosques to do what they can to tamp down the rhetoric and really speak out on the half of the values of our democracy. >> one of the problems that i have is there is an expectation that the university handles it. the handling of it means that you have resources to be able to to send and those resources know what to do particularly for the public universities and
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particularly for the university of california. there is a constant battle with the legislature over money so the resources are not always what they might be. does anyone on the panel have an idea if you except what mr. cohen has said how should a university handle this? >> i'm sorry if i could speak briefly to that. i appreciate the resource constraints. i'm sure you are aware of their resource constraints. while we are fortunate to have uc police department, we have also are in the city and perhaps --. >> but that's berkeley. >> smi but think berkeley police department would have a role and should be willing to lend police officers to help out. if we are to position where our police departments are enabled
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to protect free speech for the universities or otherwise then yes indeed we are in a very bad position. >> professor let me just understand what you are saying. no matter who comes, no matter what disturbance the university has to be prepared to handle it. it's the problem for the university. that's the argument you are making. you are making the argument that a speaker that might culminate a big problem should never be recused. they ought to be able to come whatever the problem is is it's already handle. >> senator i'm always hesitant to say never. those are extraordinary circumstances. what if somebody is planted the bomb? >> to meet the extraordinary circumstances when people come in black uniforms and hit people over the head.
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that's an extraordinary circumstance. >> right, and that cannot be enough to justify those whom they came to try to suppress. it's not just the university, it's the job of the government. i'm not a big believer in large jobs for the government at one important job of the government is to prevent violence and to breath and violence without suppressing free speech so i do think that between say the ucla, uc police department. >> you don't think we learned a lesson that kent state way back when? >> if i may as the one person in this room who has actually had to make these kinds of decisions we are in the business of educating any university that we don't have the resources of the town or the city at our disposal either -- either literally or city to turn to to say you may need to take this one over right now so these are always judgment calls are made. i think the way to start with this is with a strong presumption in favor of a speech
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particularly a speech coming from a student group is inviting somebody in an outside group which has come to campus with a different set of individuals and a public university. sizer judgment call to try to find a way to get a yes on the speech and perhaps to have a close and available for close circuits are there a lot of ways in which the university can think about this but the suggestion to universities and it's not just public universities, private universities are resource constrained are well, that we have the resources to throw at all of these problems is a vastly exaggerated notion of what universities can do. i think if you start with a the presumption in favor of finding away to get to the program and a bully that can be overcome then you don't have a program on campus. >> no matter how radical, offensive, biased, prejudiced, fascist the program is you should find a way to accommodate a?
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>> what i would say in response that senator feinstein if we are talking about substance and the program not the danger to credible threats to the substance of the program then yes then i do think that the program if a student group invites that they should be able to however i would say a flat rule in mind is that the speaker comes to camp as he or she better be prepared to answer questions and what i would tell supporters donors alumni who say how can you have someone like that speak on campus i would say trust my kids to ask the hard questions. that's how we will get to the truth. sad but here's the problem. very often it's your kids that are the problem. to outsiders who come with a specific program to disturb and hurt candidates. >> you are quite right in bed with a private university you do have the option of saying this is an event that is close to university students. members of the university
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community are invited and only members of the university community are invited to their obligations educate. >> a public university? >> a public university obviously has a more significant problem that would be differential to the presence of the university of california to make a judgment call particularly in the kc case that you were describing. >> well i might say which are more real than i think the hopeful audience might think and i think that's a problem and i think particularly in view of the divisions within this nation at this time which are extraordinary from my experience, i think we all have to protect the general welfare to and i appreciate free speech. those of us to run for office, we run for office on the basis of being able to speak freely but it's another thing to agitate. then other thing to foment and
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it's another thing to attack. >> i think in many of the speeches and it is one of the things that the president should take into account of the speakers coming to campus for the purpose of agitating, cases of speakers who post images of students on screens in order to intimidate or humiliate the students that has no place on the university campus. that's an attempt to communicate communicate -- humiliate. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> i'm going to wait. >> i think i will go at the last minute too. >> it's not my turn to ask questions again but i'm the only one here. going back to mr. abrams again many higher administrators say that the balance free speech with -- does such balancing give
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the first amendment which is sets its own balance and sufficient weight? >> yes senator. it seems to suggest that we can balance away free-speech rights. while there are exceptions recognized exceptions generally speaking the supreme court has rejected the approach of balancing. this having been said i'm a dig believer incivility as an important means of promoting free speech. when people speak civilly they are more likely to be invited and to get all the benefits of free speech. i think that the university up to promote civility not by suppressing speech that they view as uncivil in part because it's so tempting. it's human nature for us to give the benefit of the doubt to people who we agree with ann
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seau company while they are not really uncivil they are just impassioned where the people we disagree with oh they need to be suppressed for lack of civility so i think universities should promote civility and they have the tools to promote civility but not by suppressing speech that they view as uncivil. >> do you have anything to add? >> add? >> no, i agree. >> and witty go back to professor. your testimonies have led to today's censorship on campus as they said no one would have anticipated. if this trend continues what kind of speech where you think would be next to be next to be suppressed? >> i think when people are concerned i think they are often quite justified. we live in a legal system that's built on precedent and analogy and it's very easy for people to say well we accepted the restriction of this kind of speech. that speech is very similar and
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i think we have already seanez. we have seen attempts to suppress serious scholarly debate. i mentioned in my written remarks and incident at cal state northridge where there was an award-winning scholar of middle eastern history who had written a biography about the founder of modern turkey. armenians students were upset with the speaker because he was seen as too soft and responsible in part for attacks on armenians and there were accusations that the speaker himself didn't take a proper view of the killings of armenians during world war i and they shouted him down. they kept this award-winning scholar from speaking on the subject that most of us wouldn't have thought it would view one that would be suppressed. an attempt to address a speech that's pro-israel there has been no movement even uc unduly suppress speech of anti-israel.
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and if we allow restriction on speech for fear of violence people will learn that by threatening violence they can't effectively restrict and that's not going to be a tool that could be limited to just one side of the political spectrum. >> senator kennedy it would be your turn if you are ready and also could i ask a favor of you because i haven't voted. would you be able to stay here and finish the meeting? i'm told that there are two other people who want to come back senator sachs and senator klobuchar. finish over me so i can do some appointments? >> and i? >> and i have gaveled? can i bang the gavel? >> yes. since i'm going to turn it over to senator kennedy now thank you all for participating. it's like senator durbin says there seems to be a great deal
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of consensus and i would say consensus would be in the headlines of our papers and reread about the violence and the things that happen on campuses and it isn't all violent but people don't get to speak when they have to have an opportunity to speak. thank you very much and thank you for participating. senator kennedy. >> thank you mr. chairman. senator have u.s. questions? >> go ahead, don't worry about me. thank you. >> i'm going to have to start the clock. mr. wood, tell me again the speakers say you disagreed with that thought had a right to be heard in the interest of public discourse at williams. >> yes, sir.
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one speaker was suzanne banker and she was a social critic. jewison antifeminist and she wrote a book called the flipside of feminism. >> so she disagreed with feminism. >> exactly. >> did she use offensive language or did she'd just disagree with feminism? >> she disagreed with feminism and framed things in a way that were inflammatory. how do you mean for inflammatory? women do not belong in certain workplaces and they should be kept at home, things like that. >> and who was the college president? >> adam faulk. >> is president faulk still there? >> yes, he is. >> i will share a couple of thoughts with you and then i will ask the panel to react including of course mr. wood. i have always wondered about
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people that did not test their assumptions against the arguments of their critics. and it would seem to me that would be the importance of that would be one of the qualifications of a college president and it was suggested by one of our distinguished panelists that the problem is with the students and i don't doubt that with some students but students are by their nature passionate, mostly liberal, centerleft. i certainly was when i was in college and they don't have, they go to college to gain a life experience in the learning that there are other points of view so with some exceptions i don't really blame the students. they are in college to learn
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otherwise. i blame the administration. i blame dr. faulk. if he because of his politics or because he was concerned about offending faculty or offending students or offending alumni was worried about his security at the institution and i don't know if any of those things are true but if what you describe is accurate then he should resign. it's just that simple because he needs to explain to students and have him them understand that they do not have a constitutional right in life not to be offended. they are going to be offended monday of times in life. i'm not talking about hate speech and i understand that hate speech is now supposedly illegal is the result of the up yesterday but speech that some
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crematory and speech that uses a racial epitaph, speech, i'm talking about somebody could once to discuss the point of view that might not be popular and as far as i'm concerned dr. faulk ought to have his head in a bag if he took a position like that. another point of view in a civil manner can't be considered on the campus. here's my question. as distinctly as you can because i do want to respect the time, where do you draw the line? where do you draw the line? i don't want the speaker to come to a university and use a racial epitaph repeatedly for someone who would be offended by it, presumably everybody. i don't consider that to be added to the public discourse but on the other hand if
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somebody wants to come and discuss as did charles murray in middlebury, discussed the bell curve and is hooted down and denied the right to discuss an intellectual point of view i don't see anything wrong with that even though i may or may not agree with it. so who wants to tell me how to draw a bright line here. >> i think personally where the line needs to be drawn is when there's a threat made. if the language that is being used in the expression of a particular viewpoint crosses the line of being a threat that's when i think -- i also think personally try to consider intellectual value so fined by the speaker there has to be some intellectual value in bringing the speaker to campus which is to say that i have to believe that the speaker is interested
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in contributing to public discourse and adding their opinion as a part of the conversation with a particular issue. >> from an intellectual point of view. >> from an intellectual point of view. >> who else? >> there are two different questions here. mr. wood put it right that a student group would do well as a standard. as a former university president my standard has to be ironically somewhat lower than that which is to say that would be my standard for somebody i in a position with ring but for somebody who is student group might ring then the question is is this going to be threatening to campus in which case could be restricted but otherwise if the student group wants to put on the event the student group will put on an event with one very powerful stipulation. in a speaker who comes to campus has to be prepared to stay take questions and give decency letters. >> i'm over my time and i don't
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mean any disrespect to dock or faulk but my guess is that mr. mr. -- faulk is centerleft substantially centerleft and that he would welcome centerleft speakers but he would not welcome center-right speakers and that's the most intellectually dishonest thing i've ever heard if that's true and i would feel the same way if he were center-right and work splitting centerleft speakers. he is not fit to be a college president as far as i'm concerned. >> senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much and thank you to all of you. i think i will start where we left off here. mr. lawrence you are talking about how you balance this and what the standard should be and like you i relayed by the first amendment. my dad was a reporter his entire life. he is now 89 and blogs from time
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to time. mr. lawrence if you want to talk the value of free speech and how important it is and you are answering or in response to mr. wood and i appreciated about when it's appropriate to restrict speech do you want to go through that one more time and i will ask a few others i question? >> at the glee star with the presumption of free speech is protected on campus because it's absolutely essential to the function of creating knowledge and transmitting that knowledge their teaching and scholarship in discussions that take place on campus of the line art drawing all made the extreme edges meaning that which threatens and would disable the learning process not that which makes somebody in comfortable but part of the function of spending four years in graduate institution is to be incorrigible from time to time to have your ideas challenge. >> i agree there went to the university of chicago law school. >> well then nothing more need
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be said. chicago i'm told is the one place where it's carte blanche. >> thank you, didn't do that but thank you. sad that the faculty not the students so with those exceptions the speech will be protected and that's the essence of institution. sad this idea which was brought up which i appreciate, the threat of someone has made a threat. mr. cohen would you judge that by the pastor recently or how would you do that? >> is nears you can assess to what you are trying to do is figure out what is the intent of the actor at this time who is communicating views that are even unpleasant views even i would say hateful views if the intent is to communicate those views than that is protected. the intent is to threaten or to intimidate or menace it is not. it's not always an easy line to drop course.
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those are lines were drawn out of line in criminal law and on campus those are the lines that ministers are trying to draw the time. >> mr. eugene volokh talk about how you would draw that line if you were in his job and had to make this decision. >> i'm so glad i'm not in mr. lawrence's job or dr. aw's job. the supreme court has ruled about what constitutes a change true threat and it's not merely how the people might perceive it is that as repressor volokh and lawrence is that it's the speaker. we have never advocated for restrictions of speech in the context and in cases like brandenburg the incitement of lawless activity, i mean it's very very rare that one has seen something like that so in general i would agree with dr. lawrence, mr. lawrence that we should have a presumption in favor speech and the supreme
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court has said it's a bedrock principle for country to engage in robust uninhibited debate of good ideas and bad ideas. >> i would just add we all agree it is the law of private universities and colleges that are not bound by the first amendment. it would a constitutional for them to say we only invite people who we think are of educational value and therefore we choose not to invite this person or that person who we consider not to have that ability to educate that i don't want to say the problem but the reality though is that so long as the private universities say as they do we choose to apply first amendment standards and so long as they allow students and i think they should to invite
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guests to offer their views on whatever that the university out to stay out of the business of making quality or educational quality decisions. i think it would be inappropriate for the university to say you want to have" to come and speak your? we don't think she is amazing to contribute. the republicans do want her to come and speak it seems to me once you open that door which is well worth opening then the university ought to stay out except in the most extraordinary , literally violence on the lip of violence situation. >> could i ask one more question? senator candidate? thank you.
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>> ask as many as you want. >> well wow that's pretty good. filibuster. tonight oh you are right, i'm sorry. >> this is freedom of speech and i just want to ask one last thing since you are here mr. mr. abrams we know you representative "the news york times" and the pentagon papers case where the supreme court ruled that the federal government could not block "the news york times" for publishing certain classified documents on the vietnam war. based on your experience can you speak to the importance of ensuring the first amendment and our laws are continuing to protect journalists at this time in history? >> briefly if you could, all kidding aside. >> i think that's a good idea. it's critical and no less critical now than at any other time. it is essential that we continue
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to protect journalists and news gatherings, in news reporting and the expression of opinions and the like, criticism of them should also be wide open but there is never a time but certainly not now to limit those rights. >> we had an incident in the capitol where there was a closing down of tv reporters but we quickly fixed that so i just auto is a good question. >> thank you senator klobuchar. thank you mr. chairman. we are two minutes from adjourning unfortunately not been presiding over the senate this morning so unfortunately it's an important topic so i want to thank you all for being here. we have pew data that shows 40% of americans under age 35 think the first amendment is potentially dangerous. people can use their first amendment freedoms to say thanks that others find offensive.
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if we had time to unpack and i would love to understand the current status play at university administrations where they are doing this bizarre thing of trying to define the term offensive as if that's possibly a giuda goebel. we don't have the time to do that so i will close with one question for president obama and for mr. abrams as well. given the number of legal precedence that establish free-speech protection on public campuses i'd be curious to hear from each of you in the face of so many in my view bizarre speech zones that are emerging on campus in the sense that there are so many spaces that are supposedly not free-speech zones are in campus what world do you think that's just the federal government but state and local government might conceivably have? i know it's a big and problematic debate but it's not the sort of thing are public campuses think you need to think about governmental responsible ways to ensure first amendment protection. if we could just get a topline
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comment from the two of you. .. .... .... >> in california, for example, there is a special statue that provides extra protection for a public university students and i think that has been very helpful. >> i agree. but i am apprehensive about dictating or requiring certain
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types of teaching to be allowed, not allowed, subject to be not or not taught. >> me too. i would agree with you. i am a small government guy who wants to see as little of this adjudicated as possible which is my it is more in cumbent for thm to offer in the spirit of a liberate arts education where as you grow as an adult you ent cowerer beliefs you didn't already know or agree with. sometimes you are persuaded and get converted and that is called education. that is growth. i think that is a bell telling me we are done. sometimes your growth is stronger by encountering people who don't agree with you and you have to have a real debate.
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it is the essence and parse sl of first amendment culture and the beating heart of the united states and what is supposed to be happening on our college campuses. i am sad we are out of time but thank you for being here. we are adjourned. thank you.
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