The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Prof. Jeannie Suk Gersen (Harvard Law) on "the Importance of Due Process"


A very interesting interview with Yascha Mounk (The Good Fight). An excerpt:

Mounk: Have you felt a change during your time teaching in law school, in terms of how ready students are to volunteer their opinions on sensitive issues?

Suk Gersen: Unquestionably, that is the case. I began teaching in 2007. In the 14 or 15 years that I've been at it, there's been an enormous change in the willingness of students [to speak on sensitive issues]—and I'm not talking about conservative students who have, I think, always felt slightly like they are in the minority. I'm talking about really liberal students, liberal Democrats, who fear that their classmates may essentially turn on them if they express viewpoints that might be liberal, but also maybe not quite conforming enough to a certain kind of sensibility or ideology.

I hear this behind closed doors all the time, that students don't feel this is the kind of environment where that kind of discussion can happen. I do think that it's something that many teachers understand very well. But it's also now an environment where even to say, "Oh, yes, there's been a chilling effect"—even that is considered edgy or controversial, or the kind of thing you'd be scared to say. And so it's often said sotto voce and behind closed doors. I think it's unquestionable that the chill has occurred, it is continuing, and we have to see the ways we can deal with it….

Gersen also has more to say about other topics, such as SB 8, Title IX, and more.