Free Speech

"LSU Professor Vows to 'Drop' Students on 'Hate Speech' List"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Fox News (Caleb Parke) reports:

Louisiana professor called on her colleagues to keep a list of students who engage in "hate speech" and "drop" them from classes at the public university after George Floyd's death, Campus Reform reports….

Another professor in Johnson's department, LSU Associate Professor William T. Doerrler, responded to another deleted tweet, writing: "Thank you!! If he enrolls in my class I'll drop him too!" …

Katlyn Patton of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is quoted in the story as responding, "Faculty members at public institutions properly possess the academic freedom to guide discussions within their classrooms, but they cannot refuse to teach students simply because they disagree with their extramural speech or views." That is exactly right.

This appears to be the relevant tweet:

As to LSU's tweet to which the professor was responding, it looks like they later started walking back the "constitutional limitation," though it's not completely clear:

LSU, in a series of tweets, apologized for "not effectively" communicating the school's "core message" and said officials met with "Black student leaders to pledge again that LSU will investigate and take action against all acts of racism, hostility, harassment and intimidation by students under our code of conduct. We will hold violators accountable."

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  1. Sigh….

    Blacklisting students now. At a public state university. Unbelievable.

    1. We can be assured that once some court rules against them, they most assuredly will not hold themselves accountable.

      1. We;d better hope that happens *soon*!

        I grew up on an island where no sworn police officer was allowed to be after dark — and I know how ugly things can get. Someone is going to not care and slice her throat. It WILL happen — you put people into a no-win situation like this and it becomes mutual assured destruction.

        I don’t think these women truly realize the danger they are putting themselves into…

        1. I want to reiterate — I’m sending up a flare for those delta charlies wellbeing. It’s going to be ignored, but at least I sent one up.

          1. And I’ll add — on the island, I am one of the peacemakers.

        2. Where, exactly, did you grow up, and when?

          1. Omerta — although if I sue Herr Mills, the cuntheads will be named as co-defendants.

    2. We are a university. We will do as we please.

      1. Until the kid shows up with the gun, and then they wonder why….

    3. It’s called ‘African-American Listing’ or ‘Listing of Color’ you bigot.

    4. Unbelievable.

      If only.

  2. Does intolerance of racial discrimination include opposition to affirmative action? (Asking for a friend)

    1. The modern definition of Racism is basically anything a leftist disagrees with as long as you can bin it under the subject of race even marginally. Its the modern day label of Heretic or Infidel. Also the exact same behavior against white people doesn’t count as racism anymore because they’ve changed the definition according to Google and Merriam Webster.

    2. Intolerance will end only when everyone agrees to stop being so damned intolerant.

  3. Free speech for me, but not for thee

    The motto of the modern left.

    1. And Trump.

      1. Pretty much anyone involved in politics at any level.

        1. I’ve never seen or heard Biden, or Obama, or Warren, or K. Harris, or Romney or McCain advocate for censorship of this type (not impossible that they have done this…just not something that came across my radar). I have heard Trump doing this over and over and over. And, sadly, some universities doing this over and over and over.

          I (respectfully) disagree . . . I think there are actually many politicians who dislike the content of some speech, but manage to go on without also trying to outlaw or suppress that speech.

          1. I don’t advocate it I just support people who do and implement policies which end up creating this censorship. Thats much better than tweeting about it and then doing nothing!

          2. McCain? If the McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act?
            Obama? “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United,”

            Though to be sure, accusing a pol of hypocrisy isn’t the most challenging sport.

            1. And every proposed amendment to do that was written so as to effectively abolish freedom of political speech, and not by accident.

          3. Obama appointee created Title IX. Both he & Biden still push the bullshit 1 in 4 women in college raped myth. Title IX largely removes due process protections for the accused. Obama administration responsible for Operation Choke Point, using financial institutions to attempt to destroy undesirable businesses. There are similar ugly instances on.both sides of the aisle throughout history, but not when the administration is scandal-free, transparent, and fellated by academe & press.

            1. No, Title IX was introduced in a failed attempt to kill the Civil Rights Act, way back when.

              Obama merely re-interpreted it to say lots of things it doesn’t say.

              1. So he violated separation of powers?

    2. Know who else kept lists?

      1. Shoppers?

      2. The Veterans Health Administration?

  4. These guys are really coming out of the woodwork like maggots once the climate of hysteria is right aren’t they? All those weird movies about Dictatorships suddenly don’t seem so farfetched anymore.

    1. Why would someone try to build an ocean going vessel out of dildos carved from potatoes?

  5. What are the chances that these professors get suspended?

    That asked, it seems to me that a lot of state actors don’t think of themselves as state actors.

    1. If it’s a real question rather than a rhetorical one, the answer is it depends on some unknown details. Here’s what I’d guess as an ex-department chair who had to deal with crap like this:
      If there was an actual list being circulated with real students’ names on it, that would make it a candidate for immediate suspension and starting the process for termination.
      If (hypothetically) it had just been idle smack talk in a private setting, not much of anything would happen except getting told in writing no, you can’t do that and here would be the consequences if you did.
      But… they went and posted the threat on Twitter, which gives students reasonable grounds to believe they’re not going to be graded solely on academic performance. Even if there was no real intent to follow through, there’d still need to be a public override by the dean and department chair, a discipline letter in their tenure/promotion dossier, some kind of probation, and of course the inevitable “training”.

      1. The grading is what bothered me — that could become a messy suit against the institution.

    2. Another professor in Johnson’s department, LSU Associate Professor William T. Doerrler, responded to another deleted tweet, writing: “Thank you!! If he enrolls in my class I’ll drop him too!”

      Two constitutes a conspiracy; I see a violation of constitutional rights case a third year law student could win.

      1. But whose career would be over if he filed…

  6. She’s deleted her account.

    1. And her LSU faculty page is “archived or suspended.” Oopsie.

      1. I wonder if the University dropped her. Wouldn’t that be ironic, especially when she then turns around and sues over her first amendment rights being violated By being fired because of her speech.

  7. McCarthyism is alive and well in the academy. Those professors need to listen to the sermon by the resident reverend that even bigots have free speech rights.

  8. I shall offer a contrarian view: this blacklist idea is genius! If snowflake students are going to call on their universities to fire professor for expressing unpopular views, then students themselves should be held to the same standard! Or is it: Academic freedom for thee but not for me?

    1. Or just let them have free rein, blacklisting everyone, until the last few will be foaming at the mouth in their rush to denounce each other. Then the “students” will have no college to pretend to be attending, mom and pop will find supporting their bums in the basement is cheaper than tuition, and the colleges can go back to useful departments.

    2. Wasn’t aware that students were actually government employees. The new things I learn on the ‘net every day is astounding.

  9. “Attention people of color. We are white people here to help. Do not worry. This time we only brought the RIGHT white people…”

  10. Time to defund universities and colleges, student aid and grants. There now they can do anything they have the b*lls and money for. Fixed that.

  11. The Cornell professor is on Mark Levine’s show right now.
    This is going to go critical mass SOON….

    1. The pushback on this one is going to be pretty brutal. I’m looking forward to watching the fireworks.

      1. I’m not — I’m quite serious about these delta charlies winding up dead….

        1. We should be glad that our moment in time is at least an interesting one.

          1. No. Life good, death bad — I don’t want these schmucks dead.

            Unemployed and having to work at WalMart, yes. But not dead….

            1. The Day of WalMart sounds much less interesting…

              1. You’ve clearly not spent much time observing people at a typical WalMart.

          2. Remember that is actually a curse.

        2. You are a fundamentally unserious person, so you’re not quite serious about anything.

  12. Sounds like someone should be fired. Tenure doesn’t protect someone who refuses to do their job.

  13. I’m really tired of people who aren’t in physical danger claiming they are in physical danger, and nobody calling them out for it because they fear being called a racist.

    1. By the way, Johnson was wrong, but apparently the mobs drove her off Twitter with threats:

      https://mobile.twitter.com/LsuRacism/status/1270098796136054795

      We have to stop this. On both sides. Everyone seems to think the punishment for saying anything bad is to hound and harass them and ruin their life.

      1. Completely agree. She should be back on twitter, and out of LSU.

      2. Are you sure “but apparently the mobs drove her off Twitter with threats” isn’t an example of “I’m really tired of people who aren’t in physical danger claiming they are in physical danger”? Pointing to a thread on a sports message board isn’t very convincing evidence of any harassment of her.

        1. No, there’s plenty of activity on Twitter that confirms that yes, she was being harassed.

      3. Boohoo, people said mean things about me online. NO WAY THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ANYBODY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

        1. You know, people who say mean things online have responsibility for their actions. They are no different than people who say mean things in person, except they are more cowardly.

          No, it isn’t “boo hoo people said mean things about me online”. How about people NOT say mean stuff about other people online, just because they have political disagreements. If you wouldn’t call someone the c-word, or doxx them, or bombard them with insults in person, but you are willing to do it online, that is not your victim’s fault for being upset. It’s your fault for being a coward who abuses online anonymity to act like a jerk to strangers.

          Just because something happens all the time online doesn’t mean it lowers the standards of personal ethics. This woman said something terrible, which means she deserved to have other people point out the terrible implications of her statement. She didn’t deserve insults and threats.

          In a better world, we’d do something about the people who abuse online anonymity to act like douches.

          1. In a better world, there wouldn’t be douches. In a worse world, we’d do something about it.

            1. No. We can start, and should start, with death threats. Law enforcement should investigate them and people who make them should start going to prison.

              1. “You’re gonna need a bigger prison”

              2. Most “death threats” made on line (facebook, twitter. etc…) probably can’t be proven to be true threats (exempt from 1A protection) so wouldn’t be prossecutable even if you could identify the poster.

                1. I disagree. The true threat doctrine means rhetorically saying “I am going to kill you” isn’t protected.

                  But most anonymous internet threats ARE true threats, because there’s no context that shows it isn’t intended to be carried out.

                  1. I meant “is protected” in the first paragraph.

          2. Everybody in their mother gets online ‘harassment’ and insults. But the SJWs especially use it has a shield for their arguments when it has nothing to do with anything. It would be like a creationist arguing he’s right that the world was created in 6 days because he pays taxes.

            1. I don’t care if everyone gets online harassment. That’s not the standard of morality.

              Making excuses for ruining someone’s life is not right.

    2. Dilan — the “Threat” concept comes from the Behavioral Intervention Team approach.

  14. Your aspiration toward a high horse on freedom of expression is a paltry pony, Prof. Volokh, because you engage repeatedly in viewpoint-censorship at this blog — removing wordplay you dislike, warning against use of negative depictions of your political allies, and banning a commenter for making fun of conservatives.

    Your position would improve with an apology.

    1. Rev, you really need to drop this. Even if you are right, hypocrisy arguments are idiotic. First, everyone is sometimes a hypocrite. And second, it isn’t an argument on the merits. If Prof. Volokh is a hypocrite, who cares? OK he is a hypocrite. Now how does that prove that LSU is actually right here?

      Just drop it. At this point it’s your obsession, and obsessions are unhealthy.

      1. “Just drop it. At this point it’s your obsession, and obsessions are unhealthy.”

        A pro-programmed bot only has a limited number of options to choose from. He’s not bad, he’s just drawn that way.

        1. He’s drawn by a farm animal. One of those “more equal” swine

    2. You do know , don’t you, that LSU is a public university, bound by the first amendment (and such precedents as Tinker v. Des Moines and Healy v. James, and that this blog isn’t? You also know, don’t you, that Volokh Conspiracy is not a public institution and is not bound by the first amendment?

  15. Oregon State kicked a player off their football team for a bad social media post, and apparently the University of Tennessee just kicked someone off their cheer squad for the same thing. It will be interesting to see what happens if students start suing over this.

    1. Brown reinstated the track team and two other varsity sports for no reason other then the majority of athletes were black. They even said so. It will be intriguing to see if any of this translates into non-discrimination claims. Universities cannot ignore their legal obligations just because “cool” to pass out tangible benefits simply because of preferred protected class.

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  17. Hate speech = anything I don’t agree with (but only if I’m a Progressive).

    How very progressive.

  18. I miss the old world where people didn’t convert every whim that entered their brains into a written message to the entire planet.

    1. …Ah this written message is better?

  19. You will made to care.

    1. …or at least to avoid publicly saying that you don’t care.

  20. And if anyone needs an example of hate speech, please refer to Ms. Johnson’s original post.

    1. And they lie about being threatened.

      They’re liars.

      They throw the first stone, get called on it, and then cower.

      Like Lebron and the NBA did with China.

  21. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered.” George Orwell.

    All you need to know about how this madness is not about progress or justice is with the defacing of Mattias Baldwin in Philadelphia. These people are so miseducated and aimless, it’s easy to engage in mayhem. It’s really nihilism we’re witnessing.

    And since when does a dubious organization like BLM is above criticism and reproach? We went completely off the rails. The left will over play its card but in the meantime, they’re doing great damage I reckon and this is the part that is troubling.

    The tyranny of the mob is palpable it seems. You can’t even dare to argue the data simply doesn’t back up hyperbolic claims.

    When emotions triumph over reason you have a dark age. Superstition reigns. Just pay close attention to the climate change movement or how they reacted to the Coronavirus. That never was about science. They act and operate more like a cult than anything. Just read anything from that idiot Kirkland up top.

    Not surprising to anyone following the cadence of what’s been going on in North America in the last 15 years (though I reckon this began well before that). Not surprising to a literate mind who read books like ‘The Gulag Archipelago’, ‘On the Road to Serfdom’ and Dostoevsky’s ‘Demons’. Not to mention the most prescient movie of all time: Demolition Man. And now possibly ‘Escape from New York’ and ‘Mad Max’.

    Very troubling. I’m somewhat concerned now. Looking ahead, my daughter is 15 and I don’t want her to fall prey to a psycho professor who can ruin her life.

    Commies are in the system. There. I said it.

    It’s like in the move ‘The Thing’ but different. They came into the system and took the form of ‘Western liberals’ but in fact these professors are Marxists indoctrinating students and useful idiots in the media swallow that shit up whole.

    I wonder if it’s too late to rectify or if there’s a way out of this mess.

    1. “A government photographer edited official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to newly released documents.” – The Guardian (6-Sep-2018) (following review of documents obtained in a FOIA request).

      1. Lest anyone be confused, your big smoking whataboutery gun is that a photographer cropped empty space out of the edge of photographs he took before turning them in. Something that no photographer in the history of time has ever done.

        If that’s all you can come up with, that speaks volumes.

        1. This was largely a response to the 1984 quote.

          The photographer cropped empty space out of a photo in response to a request from the President for photos to support his utterly false narrative that his was the biggest inaugural crowd ever and had his press secretary Sean “Where’s my dignity?” Spicer directly lie about it to the public. It is exactly the kind of rewriting of objective facts, committed on day one of the administration, that Orwell was warning about. But there are literally hundreds of subsequent examples of more serious falsehoods and attempts to create a dishonest history.

          “In a confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller in January, President Donald Trump’s legal team acknowledged for the first time that Trump “dictated” the first misleading statement put out about his son’s controversial 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower.”

          “Former special counsel Robert Mueller confirmed in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that President Trump directed staffers to falsify records connected to Mueller’s investigation.”

          A President whose ego is so small and integrity so lacking that he has to lie about the size of his inaugural crowd and edit photos in an effort to support his lie (also Sharpie-gate? lol) and who then directs his press secretary to repeat the obvious lie is a danger to a free society. Orwell warned us.

          1. This was largely a response to the 1984 quote.

            I know. And it was a painfully weak response.

            According to your own source (and apparently we’ll have to take their word for it since I can’t see where they disclosed the actual emails, which were in response to a FOIA request so unquestionably public), Trump didn’t ask for photos to be altered, and the photographer admitted that nobody asked him to alter the photos. The rest is just squishy feelings and feeble attempts at connecting dots.

      2. Point?

    2. “It’s like in the movie ‘The Thing’…”

      More like the movie “They Live,” where, if you put on special glasses, you can see the alien monsters among normal people.

  22. Hate Trump all you want and for ever reason you want but this person and people like them vote for Democrats. Democrats are more of a danger to the average person than Republicans can even hope to be. Democrats destroy individual lives for both thinking WRONG and Speaking freely.

    1. Trump had to be talked out of using active duty military to confront protestors.

      Trump seeks to destroy the careers of people who disagree with him.

      He fires Inspectors General who do their jobs when doing their jobs means exposing wrong doing of his allies.

      Trump threatens news outlets for publishing polls that make him look bad, issues executive orders to punish tech companies exercising their own free speech, threatens government action (and allegedly took such action) against organizations who say mean things about him, he vilifies an old man tragically injured by the police because he heard something on a Putin-propoganda outlet.

      Trump has the same instincts of the worst of these LSU professors, but he is sitting in the Oval Office. Trump “destroy[s] individual lives for both thinking WRONG and Speaking freely.”

      1. Riiiiiight.

  23. This is the same principle as with the UCLA accounting professor.

    When professors perform administrative tasks, academic freedom does not apply. That means that professors may not:

    1. Change grades from that which the student earned as a means of political activism or self-expression.
    2. Drop students from classes as means of political activism or self-expression.
    3. Be rude to students or the public when performing administrative tasks as a means of political activism or self-expression.

    As with anyone performing an administrative tasks, we can demand good customer service. You feel annoyed that the student is making a request for an accommodation that you disagree with? Too bad. You can write about it later as part of your scholarship. But you may not verbally abuse a student for even making the request. (Denying the request, in a properly polite and respectful manner, is fine if done in a non-discriminatory manner.)

    Academic freedom means that professors (or anyone else possessing First Amendment rights) cannot be punished by the government for their views as expressed in their scholarship or their teaching. It does not mean that there are no limits on their behavior whatsoever when performing administrative tasks, as long as they plausible claim that the behavior is expressive or a form of political activism.

    Any other point of view is complete chaos. Public universities have a right to see that their employees offer excellent customer service, fair and impartial grading, and do not discriminate against the public in the provision of administrative services such as adding or dropping classes. To the extent that professors provide these services, they must be done impartially.

    1. “verbally abuse”

      Verbally abuse? Please share with us, specifically and with detail, just what “verbal abuse” took place in the prof’s letter back to a student that he had had multiple cordial dealings with previously.

      Not just phrases that you happen to not like. Not just choices and decisions that you disagree with.

      Specific “verbal abuse.” Detailed.

    2. Professor Charles W. Kingsfield would be rolling over in his grave. If he were alive, that is, and probably screaming, “let me out of here.”

      1. You are, of course, free to disagree with the specific instance. I am more interested in the general principle.

        By the way, it does not please me that there should be any rules about this at all. Unfortunately, I do think we need to have rules. For example, you shouldn’t have to have rules saying faculty can’t drop students because they disagree with their political views or speech, because it should have never occurred to them to act in such a way in the first place. But you do need such rules.

        1. In other, shorter words, you can’t actually back up any claim to “verbal abuse.”

          1. More like, I don’t feel like arguing with you. That the response was not polite is obvious. It failed to acknowledge the students concerns and went on a political rant.

            That is not how a person professionally responds to an administrative request.

            You are free to disagree, but I don’t see how we can resolve any difference of opinion.

      2. Professor Charles W. Kingsfield would be rolling over in his grave.

        Yeah, but he was a son-of-a-bitch.

  24. In free America, students drop classes.
    In Louisiana, classes drop you.

    1. I’m guessing you were thinking of that old joke: “In America, people watch TV. In Russia, TV watches you.”
      I have a feeling that we’re going to have more and more occasions to remember (scary) old Russian jokes…

  25. In other news LSU has just announced it will change the name of its main Library from the Middleton Library to some unspecified name. The Library was named fo Lt. General Troy Middleton who fought in WWI, taught at LSU prior to WWII and returned to the Military during WWII commanding first the 45th Infantry Division later VIII Corps in Western Europe through VE day. He returned to LSU in 1945. In 1951 became President until 1962. The first black student enrolled in LSU in 1950. In 1965 Middleton was appointed by the Governor to be a co chair of a biracial commission of 21 prominent white and 21 prominent blacks. He served until 1970 when the commission was disbanded. The reason for renaming the library is primarily a letter he wrote to the to the Chancellor at The University of Texas in 1961 indicating some racist views including that blacks and whites should not play of the same athletic teams.

  26. Fantasy Island, believed to be located in a mysterious fog covered triangle adjoining Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

    1. That would be George’s Bank, which breaks at low tide.

      (It’s directly between the tip of Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, and quite foggy.

  27. My encounters over the last 20-30 years with racists are overwhelmingly from those that are calling others racists and calling speech which the dont like hate speech.

    1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/30/opinion/how-to-talk-to-a-racist.html

      Contrary to the author’s implication, the only American “politicians with overtly racist policies” today are Democratic ones.

  28. One is reminded of the black woman in South Carolina who, when stopped from even attempting to register to vote, attempted to sue. The mailman simply stopped visiting her house. With no way to get mail to or from the courthouse, her case was duly dismissed for failure to prosecute. All nice and legal.

    Legal rights can exist on the books but, when an entire community is weighed against them, and when authorities who are supposed to protect the rights either collaborate or are timid, they can find ways to keep them from being enforced.

  29. Indict Obama!

  30. Did profs Johnson and Dirtier have any particular “racist” stident(s) in their sights, or were they just imaging the opportunity to impose punishment upon those they considered worthy of it? Did they have in mind a secret list of those to be blackballed, or were they going to be so righteous/ courageous as to do it openly, perhaps posting it publicly, if they had thought about such details?

    It’s a little surprising that these two junior faculty are in biology. I would have thought sociology or women’s studies more likely.

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