Campus Free Speech

UC Hastings Law Students Silence Conservative Speaker, Demand Anti-Racism Training

"It's too bad that a heckler's veto prevailed here," says Ilya Shapiro.

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University of California, Hastings College of the Law is in San Francisco, California. Its most famous alumnus is Vice President Kamala Harris.

Earlier this week, UC Hastings hosted what was supposed to be a discussion between two professors on the opportunities afforded by Associate Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's recent vacancy. The college's chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, organized the event, which featured Rory Little, a UC Hastings law professor representing the liberal viewpoint, and Ilya Shapiro, executive director of Georgetown University's Constitution Center, representing the libertarian right.

The discussion did not take place. Several dozen student protesters affiliated with the campus's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) drowned out Shapiro whenever he tried to speak, interrupting the event for its entire planned hour. Administrators' repeated pleas to let the discussion proceed were ignored by the activists, who chanted "Black Lives Matter" over and over again until Shapiro eventually gave up.

The students had deemed Shapiro an illegitimate speaker due to controversial comments he made a little more than a month ago about President Joe Biden's commitment to nominating a black woman to the Supreme Court. In late January, Shapiro tweeted that he believed Biden's pledge to nominate at least in part based on race and gender would preclude him from selecting the most qualified liberal jurist, Sri Srinivasan. He used the unfortunate phrase "lesser black woman" to describe a theoretical Biden pick; Shapiro later clarified that he did not mean to suggest black women were in any way lesser, but rather that Srinivasan—an Indian man—was the most qualified progressive judge of all.

"I regret my poor choice of words, which undermine my message that no one should be discriminated against for his or her gender or skin color," he told Reason at the time.

Shapiro made a full apology to everyone hurt by his regrettable phrasing. But Georgetown opted to place him on leave pending an investigation. (It had been his first week on the job; Shapiro previously worked as a vice president at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.)

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has criticized the suspension, noting that it violates the university's commitment to the principles of academic freedom.

"When it comes to protected speech, there is nothing to investigate," wrote FIRE in a statement.

A great number of voices on the right, left, and center have all reached the same conclusion: The New York Times' Nikole Hannah-Jones and Michelle Goldberg; The Atlantic's Adam Serwer; Common Sense Substacker Bari Weiss; The Volokh Conspiracy's Eugene Volokh (hosted by Reason); and many others.

The Federalist Society had secured Shapiro's participation in the UC Hastings event prior to the controversy. The BSLA learned about it just a day before it was scheduled to occur, but this gave them plenty of time to show up in full force and shut it down.

As National Review's Nate Hochman notes, the students also released a list of further demands that include mandatory, intensive training in "critical race theory" for both faculty and students.

At one point, Morris Ratner—UC Hastings' dean of academics—attempted to quiet the students. He commended their passion and said they were welcome to protest with signs, but asked them to allow the event to actually proceed, per the college's free speech policies.

"Free speech, including the right to do the form of expression I see on these signs, is a key right that we are required to uphold," said Ratner. "I applaud those of you who want to express your views. There is a way to do that consistent with our institutional codes and norms." The students then interrupted and loudly booed him.

"We have a Q&A portion here," Ratner continued. "I know Professor Little intends to directly address and confront our speaker on some of the views that he has expressed, and there is a Q&A built in." The students refused to heed this advice.

"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," Shapiro tells Reason.

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.

Law students should have a greater appreciation for spirited and open engagement with provocative ideas than other progressive student activists, but this was obviously not the case at UC Hastings.

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  1. UC Hastings is a college of law in San Francisco, California. Its most famous alumnus is Vice President Kamala Harris.

    Talk about damning praise!

    1. Unless she's switched genders, Vice President Harris is an alumna of UC Hastings law school.

      1. An alumnx?

        Sr. Thomas Aquinas would never have allowed that in her class, circa 1970-1972.
        No declension has -x as one of its endings.

        1. Aquinas would've had astringent standards as to who could be an alum?

    2. This is what the cultural marxists/DIE advocates have created. Lori Lightfoot attacks Italian Americans with vulgar language using sterotypes and not one fing news report. Because you see some folks can't be bigots even when they are. And let's be honest, some groups have been pushing this for decades..due to "old world grudges." It's open season on attacking Italian Americans cause..well Columbus was Italian and the Czar is named after the Roman Caesar and the Czar did bad things...

    3. Fun fact: Willie Brown also went to Hastings.

      (No one here would care fact: My uncle was a classmate of his there.)

  2. No 'conservative' (anyone to the right of Stalin) should ever participate in any activity whatsoever in the state of California.
    The state should be boycotted for the same reason as Russia and Communist China; they are run by totalitarians.

    1. But regular commenter American Socia1ist (currently slumming as "Ali Akbar" for reasons unknown) says California is the best state because, despite its high poverty rate, the weather is nice and rich people have excellent restaurant options.

      #LibertariansFor50Californias

      1. If you can afford it...Marin County is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world. Problem is you find a nice place and everyone wants to live there and before you know it the yenta brigade moves in and starts all this commie shit. (Paraphrasing Howard Stern)

    2. Just to be clear, San Francisco is not California. It's in California. They have outsized power in Sacramento, and the hollywood bully pulpit backs them, but they are decidedly outside of the mainstream even by LA democrat standards, which are already pretty vile. Everyone else here hates them, too.

      That said, this is what you expect in the bay area. Berkley was the center of free speech in the 60s, but not the last 50 years. The fact that these students just got a mild "tsk tsk" rather than proper disciplinary action is precisely what you'd expect.

      I'm guessing Shapiro was smart enough to get his speaking fee up front, though.

      1. The left claims that berkeley was the center of free speech in the 60s. Most of the left's claims about that time are lies.

        1. Well, in the 60s they wanted to be able to say Fuck. That was the free speech movement they meant. The Fish Cheer was, I think, the pinnacle of it all. That war was already fought, though, by the beats a decade before, and each generation at Cal just got to be more of a parody of themselves, trying to relive the glory days fighting the oppressive authorities, not realizing that they'd become the mainstream and were now the oppressors.

          My whole life Berkley has been repressive and conformist. In the 80s it was "You can be weird" but as long as you are weird in their prescribed, left wing way. But when someone ran an ad in the school paper that had a "wrong" talking point they took all of the papers out of the vending machines, burned them, and demanded the student editor be fired (or removed, or whatever you do at a student paper).

          1. Sounds pretty fascist...

          2. Well, sure, the people there adopted Marcuse ethic of "repressive tolerance" wholesale as a social norm. It's not a surprise that their various cultural marxist dictatorships have evolved to match the changes in the theoretical field itself.

        2. "Always question authority" except when you are the authority it seems.

      2. Of course, the "free speech" movement in the sixties was really only about not showing respect in the way that was expected then.
        younger to older
        child to parent
        student to teacher
        men to women (that's all there was then)
        that sort of thing.
        It was the beginning of the left wing's deliberate destruction of the social order which is culminating now.

        1. Of course, the "free speech" movement in the sixties was really only about not showing respect in the way that was expected then.

          When one looks back on that time frame with clear eyes, it's rather obvious that most of what they were advocating was in the service of their own self-indulgent hedonism. The willingness to take these stupid arguments at face value is one of liberalism's biggest weaknesses.

  3. Koch / Reason libertarianism's decision to explicitly align itself with progressives is looking smarter every day.

    #RaceAboveAll

    1. Eventually, chickens come home to roost.

  4. When I was in college, if a student organization violated the student code in a way that was determined to either be deliberate or habitual, that group could lose its status. Losing official status with the university meant losing the ability to receive funding from student government, schedule events, use resources or venues that the university controls, etc. Students in the group who individually participated in the violation might be suspended or worse.

    A deliberate violation might be something like this 'protest'.

    An habitual violation might be a fraternity getting busted for serving alcohol to underage students one too many times.

    1. They have to be put on triple secret probation before those kinds of sanctions, suspension, expulsions can occur. And if that happened, these "scholars" would probably burn the campus down.

      1. So use Rittenhouse Brand Arsonist Extinguishers.

        "Stops arsonists cold!"

  5. "It's too bad that a heckler's veto prevailed here"

    Someone needs to explain to Shapiro what a heckler's veto is. It doesn't mean getting heckled loudly.

    1. Disrupting an event so people can't enjoy the free speech they wanted to hear by making noisy protests is, definitionally, a heckler's veto.

      1. Forget it, he's trolling.

    2. No, it means getting heckled in such a way that the person being heckled can't speak. You know, like happened here.

    3. A heckler's veto is when potential hecklers threaten violence, and therefore the government (or maybe in this case the university admin) refuses to allow you to speak. That's not what happened here.

      Shapiro is supposed to be a constitutional scholar.

      1. I guess when you just simply make up your own definitions, but generally people use accepted definitions of words/terms. Here you go:

        'The term heckler's veto was coined by University of Chicago professor of law Harry Kalven.[1][2] Colloquially, the concept is invoked in situations where hecklers or demonstrators silence a speaker without intervention of the law.'

        Sounds pretty clear this is what happened here, so barring your personal definition of the term, you are squarely wrong. Thanks!

      2. What you do is challenge the scum bags..just tell them "I'm here all night" they have no staying power...mostly want to go back to their dorms, get stoned and so on. Obviously, grades are racist so it is about plotting retribution and a massive chip on their shoulder

  6. How quickly we forget.

    DON"T TASE ME BRO

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bVa6jn4rpE

    1. You want the college to use force against the precious snowflakes? Oh, the horror!

  7. Send the little fuckers to Ukraine. You, know, a chance to study law overseas. For diversity.

  8. Proggies gotta prog.

    Oh, well. They will turn on each other one day. Proggies always do.

  9. They hate us for our freedom.

    1. They hate us for our freedom.

      1. "they hate us cause they aint us"

  10. Picture a working engineer showing data proving that nuclear electricity is safer and less polluting than any alternative--including banning electricity altogether.
    At another event a mystic with no understanding of physical science or deduction tries to convince listeners that birth control is murder, that taxes must fund men with guns to rob and kill blacks, latinos and hippies over plant leaves, and State censors must ban speech, videos, etc. Campus papers gleefully describe as "conservative" events even if the engineer is Libertarian.

    1. Hank is the reason why there's a warning on every box of Crayola crayons admonishing consumers not to eat them.

      1. Hey, they say 'non-toxic' right on the label.

  11. Several dozen student protesters affiliated with the campus's Black Law Students Association (BLSA) drowned out Shapiro whenever he tried to speak, interrupting the event for its entire planned hour. Administrators' repeated pleas to let the discussion proceed were ignored by the activists, who chanted "Black Lives Matter" over and over again until Shapiro eventually gave up.

    Stupid pigfuckers like this need to start getting damaged for behavior like this. Arrested. Expelled. These shit-garglers need to face consequences for this crap.

    1. But that would be racist enforcement of anglacized cultural preferences.

      Don't you know it's natural for PoC to be ignorant, late and unwilling to work?

      Be tolerant and get on board or get publicly crucified. In a politically correct way, of course.

      1. > But that would be racist enforcement of anglacized cultural preferences.

        I don't care.

        I mean, I get that you're being facetious, but seriously. If they're part of the Black Law Students Association at an Ivy League, they've chosen to participate in the part of society that lives by those rules. If they don't want to, they don't have to, but they don't get to also be a participant after declaring themselves outsiders.

      2. Well yeah (Source: DNC, Smithsonian Black History Museum), but it's rude to just say it.

    2. "Administrators' repeated pleas..."

      Crocodile tears shed to be sure.

    3. "Make them pay" should be the new libertarian policy.

  12. Hey remember how Shika Dalmia and Elizabeth Nolan Brown both supported using overwhelming violence in order to shut down the speech of people with whom they disagree and Nick Gillespie rushed to their aid and said they are both better libertarians than any of their critics could ever be? Because every fucking body else sure does. Stuff your false concern up your asshole sideways. You wanted a heckler's veto, you got one. Enjoy it while you can. One day the hecklers might be a bunch of armed deplorables and you might end up with a nice breeze blowing through several gory exit wounds like your kiddie-fucking, attempted-murdering buddies in Kenosha did. Be careful what you wish for.

  13. He used the unfortunate phrase "lesser black woman" to describe a theoretical Biden pick;

    This event shows why his apology is a mistake. Left wing activists made a willfully stupid interpretation of his remarks not supported by reality. But by making the apology they can point to his admission instead of the original comments which would demonstrate their stupidity and bad faith.

    Any reasonable institution would gather these students names during the event and later expel them. Failure to do this demonstrates the institution supports their behavior.

    1. Which "lesser" was the potential black woman nominees relative to the person who Shapiro thought was the most qualified pick acceptable to a Democrat administration. It was not a derogatory phrasing in context. It meant that limiting the pick to identity characteristics excluded people with more substantial records, but that is a truth we must not acknowledge.

      1. Yes, but your thinking is old fashioned. Qualifications and track records no longer matter. Skin color is the most important attribute now.

  14. Somebody tell the student group that CRT is only a high level law school concept, since they are demanding that every faculty member be indoctrinated, er, trained in it, and every student be required to take a course in it as a condition to graduate.

    1. Interesting observation. Thanks.

  15. My sympathies are entirely with Mr. Shapiro, who should have been allowed to speak, and entirely against the tediously woke students, who seem determined to turn every law school in the country into a stage for parading one's virtue and nothing else. But Mr. Shapiro's infamous tweet was not simply a "regrettable" choice of words. He was being a dick, and he should have owned up to his own dickmanship. If he had been alive and kicking--intellectually, I mean--back when Clarence Thomas was chosen for the Court, would he have made a similar remark, ridiculing President Bush for appointing a "lesser black man"? I sincerely doubt it.

    1. > If he had been alive and kicking--intellectually, I mean--back when Clarence Thomas was chosen for the Court, would he have made a similar remark, ridiculing President Bush for appointing a "lesser black man"?

      Did Bush explicitly state out loud that he was only going to consider black people?

      Anyone who has been selected after such a statement of any characteristic has definitionally not been selected from the entire pool of candidates that existed prior to the restriction.

      Honestly, I feel kinda bad for the woman, though obviously that's somewhat tempered by the whole "might be a Supreme Court Justice" thing. How much better would it have felt to have been chosen out of the entire pool of candidates, rather than one which was artificially limited by criteria that have no bearing on the job?

    2. I guess you do not remember that the left wing on the whole vilified and slandered Thomas and still do!
      They still claim he is a lessor Black man, actually they claim he is secretly white.
      Defending western civilization against the leftist barbarian hordes is a never ending job.

    3. He was being a dick, and he should have owned up to his own dickmanship.

      I read it as him saying 'lesser black woman' as in 'lesser person'. It sounds like, in your mind, 'black womanhood' isn't fully synonymous with 'personhood' the same way 'man' is.

  16. Those who disrupted the event should be punished by the law school.

    As to Shapiro's view on the SC nomination, published elsewhere, I think a conscious effort to provide racial, gender, and experiential diversity on the court is a worthy goal since our lifetime experiences create different ways of viewing and analyzing even supposedly logical and dry subjects like the law. Remember that Reagan promised a woman justices in his 1980 campaign and then nominated Sandra Day O'Connor.

    1. Why not just nominate a black woman without announcing that you will only nominate a black woman? The fact is that right or wrong a lot of people will see such a choice as an affirmative action choice (I.e. based on racial and sex discrimination).

      1. To win votes Zeb, the same reason Reagan did it.

        1. To win votes Zeb, the same reason Reagan did it.

          Reagan did it to win votes. Biden does it because he is a member of a party that has sexism and racism built into its very foundations.

    2. I think a conscious effort to provide racial, gender, and experiential diversity on the court is a worthy goal since our lifetime experiences create different ways of viewing and analyzing even supposedly logical and dry subjects like the law.

      That's because you want SCOTUS to be a legislative body, pushing through a leftist, sexist, racist, and progressive agenda when you can't get your way in the legislatures.

      Remember that Reagan promised a woman justices in his 1980 campaign and then nominated Sandra Day O'Connor.

      And he shouldn't have made that promise. But the country has become so corrupted by leftist, sexist, racist, and progressive ideologies that conservatives sometimes have to adopt such strategies.

    3. experiential diversity on the court is a worthy goal

      That's not what this is. She's Ivy League like the rest of them. You want experiential diversity? Pick someone who went to law school in Arizona.

      What you're really talking about is skin color, on the assumption that skin color = experience.

      Setting that pretty racist assumption aside, and simply moving forward from your stated philosophy, if she's confirmed black people will be over represented by 100% on the Supreme Court, while there is not one single Asian.

      And she'll be the only Protestant - a single person representing the largest religious group in the country.

    4. "I think a conscious effort to provide racial, gender, and experiential diversity on the court is a worthy goal since our lifetime experiences create different ways of viewing and analyzing even supposedly logical and dry subjects like the law."

      Which implies that all Black women share certain "lifetime experiences," and all White men share different "lifetime experiences."
      Explain how a newly immigrated Nigerian driving a cab in NYC, a South Carolina CPA descendant of slaves, and Michelle Obama, share the same "lifetime experiences."

  17. PS Trump promised to nominate a woman and followed with Barret in that rushed appointment when presidential voting had already begun and even he expected to lose, which is why he began laying the ground for claiming the election was rigged.

    1. You should join Q-Anon; your conspiracy theories are up to that level.

    2. Gullible to a fault!

  18. The only way to win these battles is to sink to their level, whenever the other speaker tried to speak the conservatives should have shouted her down with ALL Lives Matter. If they threatened them with expulsion without the other group they would have grounds for a suite or they could just threaten them both with expulsion if they did not pipe down and let the debate continue. The problem is there are no consequences for there bad behavior.

  19. Black fragility on display. Why are these students allowed to interrupt events like this with their boorish display of infantile emotionalism?

    1. Why are these students allowed to interrupt events like this with their boorish display of infantile emotionalism?

      Because the administration is terrified of being called out on all the empty diversity and inclusion talk.

  20. UC Hastings Law Students Silence Conservative Speaker, Demand Anti-Racism Training

    Those US Hastings Law Students are definitely in need of anti-racism training. For starters, they need to understand that they are the racists and fascists.

  21. Ilya Shapiro, executive director of Georgetown University's Constitution Center, representing the libertarian right.

    Ilya Shapiro doesn't represent the "libertarian right". In fact, he doesn't "represent" anybody. He may fancy himself to be "libertarian right", though personally I think the man is just a run-of-the-mill intellectual who would say anything for notoriety and coverage. I'm glad to hear that the discussion has been canceled.

    1. Another fascist commenting on his love of FASCIST TACTICS.

      1. I'm sorry you have trouble understanding what I'm saying. Let me try to explain more clearly: I'm glad the "Nazis killed Roehm in the Night of Long Knives". I'm also glad that progressives and intellectuals canceled Shapiro's talk.

        But defending faux libertarians is what you do, isn't it?

      2. Me, I'm glad the mute button works.
        If I wanted to hear rote leftard gibberish like NOYB2 spouts, to his own evident self-satisfaction, I'd be on Twitter.

  22. He used the unfortunate phrase "lesser black woman" to describe a theoretical Biden pick

    Did he? Or did he use the phrase "lesser, black woman"?

    Anyway, while I think Shapiro is unfairly being maligned for this particular thing, I still think "serves him right".

  23. College students publicly shaming professors for their wrongthink and shouting them down, demanding "re-education" training...in what way are these people not the new Red Guard?

  24. She will have the same chip on her shoulder Kamala Harris currently does: because she was selected not for her body of work, mind, or opinions, but to check 2 woke check boxes.

    Whether she is actually lesser or not is irrelevant, she wasnt picked due to her abilities, she was picked for tokenism, and that asterisk will stay there unfortunately.

  25. The Black Snowflake Association. actaully.

  26. Good old Commie-Education; Creating useless armies of monkey see; monkey do...

    Can there even be a question anymore that commie-education is but the modern version of Nazi (syn; Democratic National Socialist) indoctrination camps???

  27. F California.

  28. Nazis gonna nazi.

  29. Well, the good thing about UC Hastings graduates is that they will never ever sit on SCOTUS; that privilege is reserved for Harvard and Yale graduates.

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