The Volokh Conspiracy

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Campus Free Speech

Must Universities Negotiate with Protesters?



This is specific to Princeton in its context, but I thought my new op-ed would be of broader interest given the encampments across the country and the many activists on and off campus who are insisting that universities must come to the table to meet their "demands" and must not punish or arrest students who violate university rules and criminal laws.

From my op-ed in The Daily Princetonian:

Rules and laws exist for a reason, even on a university campus. Sometimes it might be necessary to engage in civil disobedience or even take direct action to try to stop the machinery of injustice. But taking such actions have consequences, and the mere fact that some wish to take those actions does not mean that anyone else must conclude that their actions were either laudable or justified or should be either encouraged or rewarded. When members of the campus community engage in conduct that violates the rules that allow the many diverse people on campus to coordinate their varied interests and activities, they are properly subject to disciplinary action. When protesters move from trying to persuade to trying to compel compliance with their demands, the correct response is simply to tell them "no" and to take what steps are necessary to restore the proper functioning of the University.

Read the whole thing here.

My first, and I presume my last, op-ed in the Princeton student newspaper.