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Stifling Debate And Purging Dissenters At Georgetown Law Over Ilya Shapiro

Stifling Debate And Purging Dissenters At Georgetown Law Over Ilya Shapiro

Nate Hochman: “Campus groups ban dissent, professors lead Zoom therapy sessions, and some students privately admit that ‘we only want Ilya fired because of his conservative political views.'”

The controversy over tweets by Ilya Shapiro continues to make news. Please see these prior posts for background:

Stifling Debate And Purging Dissenters

Nate Hochman at National Review continues to lead the way in original reporting. His latest post details how students are turning against anyone who defends or wants a debate over Shapiro, Inside Georgetown Law’s Campaign to Cancel Ilya Shapiro: ‘This Is Melting Down’:

Messages obtained from the GULC Class of 2023 group chat offered a window into the mood in the Georgetown Law student body. “It would be strange for Shapiro to be against deviations from merit-based approaches when his political identity is the whole reason dipsh**s like him get hired to elite jobs,” one user wrote. “Never thought there could be a worse Shapiro than Ben,” another added.

Things deteriorated further when a handful of students spoke up to suggest that Shapiro’s tweets weren’t racist. “I wouldn’t read into Prof Shapiro’s tweet much beyond his opposition to affirmative action and related diversity policies when they modify merits-based approaches,” one user wrote. “Wholly unacceptable comment, check yourself,” the group-chat moderator quickly responded. “Now is not the time for debate, instead we should be supporting our incredibly talented black female law students,” another student added. “Damn Fed[eralist] Soc[iety] is a helluva drug,” a third wrote.

A fourth chimed in: “Some of y’all still think you belong in the Confederacy I see.”

Two of the dissenting students, Travis Nix and Rafael Nuñez, were eventually removed from the chat altogether. (“I am tired of witnessing my friends and colleagues defend their humanity and no doubt they are also tired of defending themselves,” wrote the moderator who removed the two students.) Members of the group chat were “ripping anybody who was willing to defend Shapiro, or even just give him any amount of human decency and respect,” Nix told NR. “I was like, ‘I am not gonna let these poor kids get ripped to shreds,’ so I made my statement, and then I paid the price.”

Nuñez was kicked out of the group chat after defending himself against the accusation that he was “privileged” for defending students who spoke out. “That’s what really got to me,” he said. “Like, my mom was undocumented for 35 years. I grew up on food stamps and welfare and had to dig myself out a hole to get to go to Georgetown Law. My life has been difficult, but I don’t complain. And it just bothered me that these kids that didn’t even know me — you know, a fellow person of color — were telling me that I’m privileged. Like, you don’t know the things that I had to see growing up and what I had to do and struggle to get here.”

Nuñez, who merely defended students’ right to defend Shapiro’s tweets but did not defend the tweets himself, was also kicked out of a separate group chat for first-generation Georgetown law students. At least one other student was kicked out of a different student racial-affinity group for a similar offense, Bunting and Nix told NR. “Some people encouraged me to go to the administration, but like, you’ve seen the administration’s response,” said Nuñez, who told NR that he “tends to lean a little more liberal.” “They’re not going to be on my side. Like this is just gonna make more enemies for me, honestly. I’m going to keep my mouth shut. I’m on a scholarship. I don’t want to get kicked out, you know?”

Hochman also reported the political purge factor. This isn’t just about the tweets, there is an attempt to drive conservatives out of Georgetown Law:

Students say the activist campaign against Shapiro has more to do with ideological allegiance than the January 26 tweets. “I’ve talked to many left-leaning friends here in private who admit freely that the BLSA demands go over the top or concede they only want Ilya fired because of his conservative political views,” one student, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, told NR. “One person told me they didn’t like his views on masks, another told me they thought he was racist because he advocates for conservative policies which are racist. But people worry about losing journal spots, jobs, or letter grades if they aren’t woke enough and so aren’t willing to say anything about it.”

National Faculty Support For Academic Freedom And Free Speech

As Georgetown Law students turned on conservatives and on each other, hundreds of faculty of all political persuasions denounced the actions taken against Shapiro and called for Georgetown Law and Dean Treanor to back off. The Faculty Letter circulated by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, now has 173 signatories (including me).

The non-partisan Academic Freedom Alliance issued a Letter to Dean Treanor, which provides in pertinent part:

Dear Dean Treanor,

The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) is a coalition of faculty members from across the country
and across the ideological spectrum who are committed to upholding the principles of
academic freedom and professorial free speech.

Principles of free speech include the right of professors to speak in public on matters of public
concern without the threat of sanctions by their university employer. We call upon Georgetown
University Law Center to live up to its free speech commitments in the case of Ilya Shapiro….

I write on behalf of the Academic Freedom Alliance to express our firm view that Ilya Shapiro
should suffer no formal consequences as the result of these public statements. Regardless of
what one thinks about Shapiro’s views on the nomination and how he expressed them,
Shapiro’s personal opinions as expressed on his personal social media account are protected
under Georgetown’s own policies and cannot form an adequate basis for firing him.
Significantly, Shapiro’s appointment is, in part, as a senior lecturer. The policies that would
apply to him would equally apply to any other member of the Georgetown University Law
Center faculty. A determination that a senior lecturer can be fired for posting a controversial
statement on social media would represent a dramatic erosion in the free speech protections
that Georgetown claims to offer to the members of its faculty….

Shapiro expressed a view about the implications of using race and sex
as filtering mechanisms for the selection of a judicial nominee. Such matters of public policy
and government conduct are central to what members of the faculty might address as private
citizens. Their opinions on such matters might well be controversial, offensive or misguided, but
the university has committed itself to tolerating such controversial and offensive private
speech. If the hostility of members of the campus community to such controversial speech is
itself taken as a legitimate basis for concluding that such private acts “substantially affect” a
faculty member’s professional duties, then the university can hardly claim to provide “the
broadest possible latitude” to such speech….

The Academic Freedom Alliance calls on Georgetown University Law Center to reaffirm and
adhere to its free speech principles by making clear that Shapiro will not be sanctioned in any
way for his protected private political speech.


Keith Whittington
Chair, Academic Committee, Academic Freedom Alliance
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

Georgetown BLSA Responds To Mockery and Criticism

Georgetown Law and the student protesters have been the subject of much mockery, in addition to substantive criticism. While they probably don’t watch Laura Ingraham, the segment last night was brutal.

The Georgetown Black Law Students Association felt it necessary to respond to criticism, posting a series of three tweets:


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The racist members of the fake BLSA should perhaps be required to take a semester off to check their privilege. So threatened!

Law students of old generally spent much of their time arguing among themselves about law and partying, not playing politics and pretending only they matter. If the BLSA was gone tomorrow, would anyone notice?

At my law school every Friday afternoon was “Bar Review” starting at 3pm. Good memories.

Prof. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.

Law Student Hart: [pause, as he is leaving the room] You… are a son of a bitch, Kingfield!

Prof. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart! That is the most intelligent thing you’ve said today. You may take your seat.

from The Paper Chase,

At Georgetown Law they come in with a skull full of mush, and leave even mushier,

Sensor and purge. The USSR really won after all! We’ve been lied to.

    NavyMustang in reply to Whitewall. | February 3, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Sure feels that way. And it pisses me off because I was one of Reagan’s Cold Warriors. A Russian linguist in the Navy and I pretty much spent the 80s deployed, thinking that I was helping to save the world from communism. Little did I know that the SOBs had infiltrated our schools and were doing their damndest to defeat us from within. Angers me to no end.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to NavyMustang. | February 3, 2022 at 4:54 am

      Ex CTR here. 77-81.

      Whitewall in reply to NavyMustang. | February 3, 2022 at 8:09 am

      Me too. Not long after the major earth quake in Managua, Nicaragua, a retired Petty Officer with a couple of decades worth of overseas experience told me that America would one day be fighting at home the same kinds of people that were trying to take over Central America then. It was hard to believe then, not so much now.

One of them says, “Today is February 1st, the first day of Black History Month.”

I don’t know if I can take all this excitement about our blackness. I haven’t recovered from all the frivolity and the seriousness represented by Kwanzaa, when bang it’s time to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, And so quickly following that, we’re into Black History Month. It takes my breath away. And soon before you know it, it’ll be time to prepare for Juneteenth. O Lawd we b so oppressed.

    henrybowman in reply to pfg. | February 3, 2022 at 3:28 am

    This is the gun-free-zone approach to your “right” of free speech.
    You can say anything you want. Except during Black History Month. Or around MLK day. Or Kwanzaa. Or Juneteenth. Or Margaret Sanger’s birthday. Or George Floyd week. Or long, hot summers.

There is unfortunately a limit to what influence we could exert in VA on universities that know despite our current victory the state is trending heavily blue.

BUT this is what is happening in law schools in states that are solidly red, We should exert state power as an influence.

The constitution does not state that colleges are allowed to discriminate against conservatives which makes it perfectly valid and legal for a state to pass such an anti-discrimination law and enforce it.

The administrators however are either malicious or cowardly so the leftists do have the run of the place.

    Danny, you wrote: “The administrators however are either malicious or cowardly so the leftists do have the run of the place.” You’re almost there. The admin at most universities are malicious, cowardly, and devoutly leftist. That is why they side with the dim-witted students over esteemed faculty.

      The reason why I said the or is mainly because it is an act of bravery to actively alienate a state government (especially the ones in solidly red states).

      It could for example break more republican law makers out of their “oh these cancellations are coming from the free market therefore I love it” stupor.

      The students also aren’t dim-witted they are exerting their power in a concentrated way with maximum effect.

      Evil but not stupid (they are also attending a highly competitive university so if they actually were the dim-witted cry babies they are larping as they would be expelled for not being up to the university standards). Claims of victimization and vulnerability are just made to exert power because those are major currencies in todays culture.

        I’m not arguing your point, Danny, but it’s not nice to pick on one commenter and keep hammering him like this is all his fault. That’s how flame wars start, and it’s not necessary to go down that path. We have enough enemies “out there” and don’t need to make them here. 🙂

        artichoke in reply to Danny. | February 3, 2022 at 8:15 pm

        A 120 IQ is probably enough to graduate from Georgetown Law once admitted. It’s not enough by a vast distance to become an Ilya Shapiro. Dull by one standard, moderately bright by another.

“Wholly unacceptable comment, check yourself,” the group-chat moderator quickly responded. “Now is not the time for debate…”

The ultimate Democrat “argument:” shut up and get back in formation.

And you will notice, almost all of them did.

Bears vs. bees, folks.

Ponder that these obnoxiously totalitarian, narcissistic, intolerant, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, Maoist twits are aspiring attorneys attending one of the allegedly pre-eminent law schools in the country. Yet, they resemble nothing so much as fascist, pre-pubescent brownshirts in their infantile fanaticism.

Steven Brizel | February 3, 2022 at 6:09 am

1984 is unfortunately fact not fiction T Georgetown Law School where the Bill of Rights and especially freedom of speech is in grave danger

AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | February 3, 2022 at 7:12 am



Legal Isolation website decries censorship and banning while practicing…. Censorship and banning!

Just make sure you don’t make a comment that causes certain commenters to get upset. Especially when you call them on their hypocrisy and bullshit.

Free speech my ass.

    Yet here you are. About whom are you speaking?

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to Whitewall. | February 4, 2022 at 9:42 am

      Yes, I am still here. So I have not been banned. However, I will not mention the name of the asshole who didn’t like me calling out his hypocrisy and lies. To do so on Legal Isolation will get my comments deleted.

Steven Brizel | February 3, 2022 at 9:27 am

How many students at Georgetown have read Shapiro’s superb history of Supreme Court nominations and politics? It is a great read and Shapiro is a superb advocate . It is disgraceful that such such a wonderful legal mind , is the latest victim of identity politics and that freedom of speech is in serious jeopardy at Georgetown

Perhaps the best and !most expedient solution to the current drama at Georgetown Law would be for the administration to simply confirm it’s continuing commitment to the purpose of Universities in general; the freedom to discuss and debate contentious issues in the pursuit of honest inquiry and truth.

Simply declare that principle the primary prism through which the administration will view events. Then declare that every student including those who have called for the opposite; firings, censorship and a general chilling of free speech based upon what they view as bad speech is invited to confirm their commitment to the same basic principles or transfer.

I very much doubt the administration has the stones for it. Ultimately it isn’t the students but rather the administration who must be held accountable; after all they pull down high salaries and hold positions of prestige and influence within the legal and academic community. If the administration chooses not to rise to the occasion by drawing a line and asserting the basic principles of academic freedom, freedom of speech, inquiry, debate and discussion they can hardly be upset when, not if, a mob of some sort comes for them.

” “Now is not the time for debate, instead we should be supporting our incredibly talented black female law students,” another student added. ”

In other words, avoid black female Georgetown Law grads?

“‘Wholly unacceptable comment, check yourself,’ the group-chat moderator quickly responded.”

Does that line not have a fictional feel to it? I don’t mean I think this is fiction. I mean, if someone told you that was a line in “1984,” you’d believe it.

When satire does not have a sense of implausibility about it a short time after it’s written, you know we’re in trouble. Deep trouble.

LukeHandCool (who thinks Professor Jacobson will be written about by future historians as a prominent figure who fought for free speech at this critical time. I just fret whether those historians will be discussing his role on the winning and righteous side, or G-d help us, on the losing and righteous side. And who, because of Professor Jacobson and L.I.’s Jewish commenters, naturally, almost as a reflex, spelled G-d as G-d in his many emails to his Jewish son-in-law’s parents, the father a Reform Rabbi. And who finally realized he was the only one doing so. Melting pot. When some Gentiles are more Jewish than many Jews, and vice versa.)