Relentless pounding on tables and yelling caused event to be halted: “We want you off this campus, that’s what we want… We don’t want to hear from you… Get out!”
We have covered extensively the attacks on Ilya Shapiro at Georgetown Law Center after tweets he sent criticizing Joe Biden’s decision only to consider black women for the opening created by Justice Stephen Breyer’s announced retirement.
Shapiro voiced the view that the best candidate would be the Chief Judge of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Sri Srinivasan, and that Biden’s search limitation would result in the selection of a “lesser black woman.” The use of that term, which Shapiro admitted was inartful, caused a firestorm at Georgetown, including his suspension and calls for him to be fired.
The tide turned pretty quickly that what was happening was yet another example of cancel culture, and a breach of academic freedom. Many people on all sides of the aisle and all races and ethnicities objected to the attacks on Shapiro:
- Profile In Cowardice: Georgetown Law Dean Bill Treanor Suspends Conservative Legal Scholar Ilya Shapiro
- Georgetown Law Student Protesters Demand Ilya Shapiro Firing, Reparations, Place To Cry, End To “Originalist” Center
- Stifling Debate And Purging Dissenters At Georgetown Law Over Ilya Shapiro
- Ilya Shapiro To Whoopi: “Let’s Talk … We Have To Disrupt This Toxic Cultural Moment In Favor Of Free Speech”
- Prof. Glenn Loury’s “Ilya Shapiro Moment” – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion “at the US Supreme Court is a very bad idea”
- Appeals Court Judge James Ho: “if Ilya Shapiro is deserving of cancellation, then you should go ahead and cancel me too”
Just as it seemed like things were calming down, there was an ugly incident at UC-Hasting Law School, where Shapiro was invited to a debate pre-controversy. A crowd of several dozen law students got in Shapiro’s face (physically), and shouted at him and pounded the tables so relentlessly for almost 45 minutes that the speech was cancelled.
You can view the full 53 minute video at the BLSA Instagram page. Here are very short excerpts which give a taste of what went on for almost an hour:
Nate Hochman at National Review wrote about it:
Shapiro was met at the venue by a crowd of activists affiliated with the school’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA). The event began quietly, with opening remarks by the president of the school’s Federalist Society. When Shapiro took the lectern, the activists — dressed in all black and carrying signs denouncing Shapiro and the school administration — erupted into loud chants of “black lawyers matter” and pounded the table to drown him out.
Shapiro’s repeated attempts to speak were silenced by yells from the assembled students, who unleashed a stream of profanity and insults as he stood silently at the front of the room. (“When did you start balding? Are you sad that you’re balding? I would be,” one said mockingly to laughter from the audience. “You’re a f***ing coward!” another yelled). Multiple student activists physically confronted Shapiro; one moved to block his access to the lectern and later began clapping in his face as students chanted, “Say it to her face, coward.” Activists began drawing “black lawyers matter” on the whiteboard behind him. At one point, they commandeered the box controlling the Zoom stream of the event and flooded the live comment section.
Here’s one of the videos posted by a student linked in Hochman’s report:
Ilya Shapiro at UC Hastings. Sound on to hear what Black law students and allies have to say. pic.twitter.com/7kQ0y80qhh
— Senya Merchant (@SenyaSimron) March 1, 2022
In the middle of the turmoil, Shapiro left the room to consult with organizers. While he was gone, academic dean and provost of students Morris Ratner attempted to calm the room. “Free speech . . . is a key right that we are required to uphold, so I applaud those of you who want to express your views,” he said. “There’s a way to do that that’s consistent with our institutional codes and norms.” That was met with laughter and boos from the audience. “It’s not a legitimate point of view!” one student yelled.
“I hear you, but we have a code of student conduct, that makes it a violation . . . to disrupt an event, so we’re gonna try this one more time,” Ratner responded. Activists were unsatisfied. “We can’t have a bigot on campus,” one said. Another approached the dean directly. “Remove him off the f***ing campus, because that’s what we want,” she said. The crowd cheered.
And here’s a BLSA student activist cussing out Morris Ratner, the law school’s academic dean and provost of students. “We can’t have a bigot on campus,” she yells. “Remove him off the f*****g campus, because that’s what we want.” The crowd erupts into cheers.
And here’s a BLSA student activist cussing out Morris Ratner, the law school’s academic dean and provost of students. “We can’t have a bigot on campus,” she yells. “Remove him off the f*****g campus, because that’s what we want.” The crowd erupts into cheers. pic.twitter.com/eCBcw1RE5l
— Nate Hochman (@njhochman) March 2, 2022
BLSA released a set of demands that included all faculty being trained in Critical Race Theory.
Yesterday, Ilya Shapiro was shouted down by student activists at UC Hastings, where he was scheduled to speak on the SCOTUS vacancy. Among other things, activists demanded that faculty advisers "undergo intensive CRT training" and that CRT be "a grad requirement for all students" pic.twitter.com/ska26qr9oP
— Nate Hochman (@njhochman) March 2, 2022
Robby Soave at Reason writes:
UC Hastings put out a statement reaffirming its commitment to free speech and noting that the protesters had violated the student code.
“Disrupting an event to prevent a speaker from being heard is a violation of our policies and norms, including the Code of Student Conduct and Discipline, Section 107 (‘Harmful Acts and Disturbances’), which the College will—indeed, must—enforce,” said Ratner in a statement.
I pressed Ratner for more details about what kind of action would be taken, but the college declined to comment further.
Shapiro provided me with the following statement in reaction to the shout down:
“It’s too bad that a heckler’s veto prevailed here, but I’d welcome the opportunity to return to Hastings—or anywhere else—to discuss the Supreme Court, constitutional law, and other areas where I may have expertise.”
You are seeing the demise of legal education, where fundamental rights and values are replaced by social justice activism. And it’s going to get worse with recent moves by the American Bar Association to embed required race-focused study on law students.
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