TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Protestors Disrupt Speech By Christina Hoff Sommers At Lewis & Clark Law School

New York Times op-ed:  We’re All Fascists Now, by Bari Weiss:

Christina Hoff Sommers is a self-identified feminist and registered Democrat with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wicked sense of humor. She is also a woman who says bad things. Things like: Men and women are equal, but there are differences between them. Or: The gender gap in STEM fields isn’t simply the result of sexism. Or: Contrary to received wisdom, the American school system actually favors girls, not boys.

When such a person steps foot on a college campus these days, you know what’s coming. So it was on Monday at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., where Ms. Sommers had been invited by the Federalist Society to give a talk about feminism.

In advance of the lecture, nine student groups, among them the Portland National Lawyers Guild, the Minority Law Student Association, the Women’s Law Caucus, the Jewish Law Society and the school’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter sent a letter protesting the appearance by this “known fascist.”

The letter added that her invitation amounted to an “act of aggression and violence” and went on to offer a curious definition of free speech: “Freedom of speech is certainly an important tenet to a free, healthy society, but that freedom stops when it has a negative and violent impact on other individuals.”

Yes, these future lawyers believe that free speech is acceptable only when it doesn’t offend them. Which is to say, they don’t believe in it at all.

For the lecture itself, a student wearing a jacket emblazoned with the command “Stay Woke” led protesters in shouting “Microaggressions are real” and “No platform for fascists.” Ms. Sommers handled matters as gracefully as possible, but had delivered only half her lecture before Janet Steverson, a law professor and the school’s dean of diversity and inclusion, asked her to cut her remarks short and take questions from the hardy souls who somehow survived the violence of her words.

Legal Education | Permalink


Unless the hecklers are severely disciplined (expulsion shouldn’t be out of the question), I recommend reviving the Sheldon Award and giving it to the university’s president and the law school’s dean.

The award, named after a former president of the University of Pennsylvania (google for background details) was conceived by columnist John Leo and given annually to the university president who does the most to look the other way when free speech is under assault on campus. The award looks something like the Oscar, except the Oscar features a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way.

Posted by: guy helvering | Mar 8, 2018 7:57:13 AM

The cops should have removed those disruptors immediately.

Expel those students immediately.

Posted by: Dora The Explorer | Mar 8, 2018 10:30:36 AM

The administrators and students responsible for this ought to be removed immediately.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Mar 8, 2018 7:28:59 PM

The students attending were too craven to force these chanting cows off the platform. The administration does not discipline them because the administration does not disapprove of what they're doing.

Posted by: Art Deco | Mar 9, 2018 8:43:34 AM

If the disruptors aren't expelled, which they probably should be, at the very least these videos should be forwarded to any bar committee considering their admission.

Posted by: Brad | Mar 11, 2018 5:52:33 AM