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Emory University Law School Finally Recognizes Student Free Speech Group

Emory University Law School Finally Recognizes Student Free Speech Group

“After almost two full semesters of paternalistic, infantilizing rejections”

This is an update to a story we ran back in January. It’s good to see the school finally came around.

From the FIRE blog:

Victory! Emory Law recognizes free speech student group after seven months of viewpoint-based rejection

After almost two full semesters of paternalistic, infantilizing rejections stretching back to October 2021, the student group Emory Free Speech Forum finally attained its temporary charter from the Emory University School of Law last month. This is a welcome development, but it should not have taken seven months for Emory to realize the irony of denying expressive rights to a free speech-focused group based on its viewpoints.

The Emory Free Speech Forum is a student group dedicated “to fostering critical discourse and open dialogue surrounding important issues in law and society.” This mission proved too controversial for the Student Bar Association, Emory Law’s student government, which denied the organization recognition in October 2021 because the very notion of engaging in unfettered debate in law school would “likely [have given] rise to a precarious environment – one where the conversation might very easily devolve.”

The SBA admitted it was “hesitant to issue a charter when there are no apparent safeguards in place to prevent potential and real harm that could result from these discussions.” The SBA even criticized the group for failing to provide a “moderator or mediator” for its discussions, telling the debate-oriented group: “[I]t is disingenuous to suggest that certain topics of discussion you considered, such as race and gender, can be pondered in a relaxed environment when these issues directly affect and harm your peers’ lives in demonstrable and quantitative ways.”

How many other groups did the SBA require to have a “moderator or mediator” for their discussions? Zero. Nevermind that Emory promises “not [to] deny recognition to an organization because of disagreement with its mission or the viewpoints that it represents.”


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Arthur Kellerman.
Michael Bellesiles.
Don’t expect better.