Patterico's Pontifications

12/6/2023

When “Context” Becomes an Excuse

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:45 pm



[guest post by Dana]

It’s insightful to hear from three university presidents who faced hard questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik, while testifying on Capitol Hill before the House Education committee:

Clearly, these are disturbing, evasive, and frustrating responses. Jonathan Haidt is spot-on in his observations:

“What offends me is that since 2015, universities have been so quick to punish “microaggressions,” including statements intended to be kind, if even one person from a favored group took offense. The presidents are now saying: “Jews are not a favored group, so offending or threatening Jews is not so bad. For Jews, it all depends on context.” We might call this double standard “institutional anti-semitsim.”

I also think it’s important to hear from Jewish college students themselves about what they face on a daily basis post-Oct. 7. The first student attends New York University, the second student attends the University of Pennsylvania:

And in this third video, a student from MIT speaks about the immense challenges she and other Jewish students now face on their campus:

This post-Oct. 7 world has become increasingly dangerous for Jewish individuals. Whether in Europe or the United States, anti-Semitism is living and breathing in the streets, and communities and institutions, without shame or fear of reprisal. It is bold, intimidating, and its ugly twisted face is on its way to blending in with the crowds. Crowds that either find the message agreeable or look the other way in avoidance and in an effort to remain safe. I have always puzzled over how everyday citizens could have remained silent in the spreading fires of Jew-hatred before WWII broke out. But now seeing its slow rise to a ‘front and center’ position in American society in 2023, I get it. From the Holocaust Encyclopedia:

Ordinary people behaved in a variety of ways during the Holocaust. Motives ranged from pressures to conform and defer to authorities, to opportunism and greed, to hatred. In many places, the persecution of Jews occurred against a backdrop of centuries of antisemitism. In Germany, many individuals who were not zealous Nazis nonetheless participated in varying degrees in the persecution and murder of Jews and other victims. Following German occupation, countless people in other countries also cooperated in the persecution of Jews.

Everywhere, there were witnesses on the sidelines who cheered on the active participants in persecution and violence.

Most, however, remained silent.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Elise Stefanik is not that bright and is bad at questioning. If a university president can’t answer “yes” to the question “does a call for genocide of Jewish people violate your university’s code of conduct?” then the next questions would include things like this:

Does a call for genocide of Palestinians violate your university’s code of conduct?

Does a call for genocide of black people violate your university’s code of conduct?

What context would bring within your code of conduct a call for genocide of black people?

If students formed a KKK club and called for the genocide of black people would that violate your code of conduct?

Etc.

Just dopily getting OUTRAGED is not effective.

That said, the initial question was a good one, and these people are now on their heels.

Good.

67 Responses to “When “Context” Becomes an Excuse”

  1. Just infuriating.

    Dana (932d71)

  2. I also wish they had brought up to the presidents, the significance of students having to be warned not to wear anything on campus that identifies them as Jewish.

    Dana (932d71)

  3. Can we now start talking about either doing hostile take overs of these institutions, ala, Chris Rufo/DeSantis in Florida? Either that, or burn those institutions to the grounds and salt the earth?

    Remember, this is “new”.

    A survivor of the Parkland massacre had his Harvard acceptance letter rescinded because it was found on a private forum he used the “n” word when he was 14.

    whembly (5f7596)

  4. Meant to type “this isn’t new” in post 3.

    whembly (5f7596)

  5. Which is more likely to cause problems in Santa Monica? Wearing a yarmulke, or putting a TRUMP bumper sticker on your BMW.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  6. Maybe we can arm the students so they can have gun battles on campus like las vegas happening now. Forgot to mention the 3 palestinian-american students shot for being muslims unless they don’t matter.

    asset (d66c9e)

  7. Let’s not forget that it was also Rep. Jayapal (Socialist-Seattle) who stated that she wouldn’t condemn Hamas for their mass-murder and mass-rape of civilian Jews because of “context”.

    Paul Montagu (d52d7d)

  8. A few thoughts from Prof. Eugene Volokh:

    There’s no “advocacy of genocide” exception to the First Amendment, or to the contractual promises of student free speech that many private universities rightly implement.
    ………
    Students need to be free to make these arguments supporting the killing of civilians in Gaza, Germany, and Japan, without having their rights turn on what lines some international lawyers might draw. Likewise, pro-Palestinian students need to be free to argue that the state of Israel was wrongly created on Palestinian land, and that Israeli Jews need to be expelled from it—through mass relocation if possible, but if they want to fight (as of course Israelis will) through killing. Again, I think that morally there is a world of difference between these two positions. But I think that, for free speech purposes, both should be protected without regard to my moral views of the matter.

    Likewise, if we focus less on the label genocide and more on the reality of mass killing of civilians, I think that even there people should be free to argue that this is legitimate under certain circumstances. …….
    ………
    Of course, there are exceptions to First Amendment protection, particularly for true threats of illegal conduct, solicitation of illegal conduct, and incitement of illegal conduct. These, however, are narrow exceptions, and especially rarely arise as to advocacy of military violence overseas. For instance, incitement is defined as speech (1) intended to and (2) likely to cause (3) imminent illegal conduct. A rally expressing support for Hamas murders in Israel is highly unlikely to, for instance, lead more terrorists to imminently engage in criminal acts in Israel.
    ……….
    ……….To quote U.S. v. Kelner (2d Cir. 1975), to be a true threat must be relatively “specific as to target,” though it’s not clear just how specific it needs to be.

    ………As then-Judge Alito said (and other courts have echoed this), “There is no categorical ‘harassment exception’ to the First Amendment’s free speech clause,” Saxe v. State College Area School Dist. (3d Cir. 2001). What sort of speech may be punished as “harassment” isn’t well-settled. But lots of courts have struck down campus speech codes at public universities that purport to ban “harassment”…….

    And though there is likely some room for punishing unwanted individually targeted speech (repeated phone calls, e-mails, personal approaches, etc.), simply expressing offensive viewpoints to the public can’t be punished as “harassment,” consistently with the First Amendment (or with private universities’ voluntary adoption of free speech norms), even if some of the listeners will be highly and understandably offended by those viewpoints. …….
    ………

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. I don’t have to hire someone who thinks that “Hitler was right” and the first amendment has nothing to do with who I hire. If there is some law that prevents me from firing someone for similar speech, well I guess I will just have to be more selective in who I hire.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  10. Meanwhile, Democrats refuse to send aid to Ukraine if it means they will have to stop letting in mass numbers of “refugees.”

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  11. Rip–

    I’d be more inclined to agree with Volokh if the same schools didn’t discipline students for misgendering or microaggressions.

    Professor Volokh is a libertarian and tends to project his principles into an unprincipled world. Like “turning the other cheek”, it’s unlikely to be reciprocated.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  12. Professor Volokh is a libertarian and tends to project his principles into an unprincipled world. Like “turning the other cheek”, it’s unlikely to be reciprocated.

    Kevin M (ed969f) — 12/6/2023 @ 4:46 pm

    I am more interested in his (and FIRE‘s) legal analysis, such as there is no “advocacy of genocide” or “hate speech” exceptions to the First Amendment.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  13. @10 after 2016 whites voting for trump democrat party needed to overwhelm them with immgrants and especially their children born here. How else can AOC become president? @11 I have problem with microaggressions too!

    asset (eddd0a)

  14. Maybe we can arm the students so they can have gun battles on campus like las vegas happening now. Forgot to mention the 3 palestinian-american students shot for being muslims unless they don’t matter.

    Maybe you haven’t heard, but they arrested a guy for the crime and are charging him with attempted murder. What exactly has happened to the pro-Hamas a-holes who have harassed Jews?

    JVW (1ad43e)

  15. UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Elise Stefanik is not that bright and is bad at questioning. If a university president can’t answer “yes” to the question “does a call for genocide of Jewish people violate your university’s code of conduct?” then the next questions would include things like this:

    Does a call for genocide of Palestinians violate your university’s code of conduct?

    Does a call for genocide of black people violate your university’s code of conduct?

    What context would bring within your code of conduct a call for genocide of black people?

    If students formed a KKK club and called for the genocide of black people would that violate your code of conduct?

    Etc.

    Just dopily getting OUTRAGED is not effective.

    That said, the initial question was a good one, and these people are now on their heels.

    https://twitter.com/NoahCRothman/status/1732558201013653903

    Good.

    Patterico (001e64)

  16. That said, the initial question was a good one, and these people are now on their heels.

    Wow, she completely botched the question and embarrassed herself and her university, but nowhere in her two-minute video apologia is a phrase along the lines of “I’m sorry that I didn’t respond more forcefully.” Our higher education institutions are being run by absolute mediocrities.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  17. Harvard’s President is also on her back heels trying to salvage some dignity from her dismal performance yesterday. Here’s her full statement on the Harvard Twitter account:

    Statement from President Gay: There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.

    But of course she couldn’t formulate that response until she left the Congressional hearing room and had a chance to sit down with the crisis response team.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  18. Here’s MIT’s Sally Kornbluth doing damage control:

    Dear members of the MIT community,

    As you may have heard, the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce called me to testify today on antisemitism. You can read my statement here.

    In the eight weeks since October 7, students, faculty and staff have shared with me a wide range of views on the tragic situation in the Middle East and on its repercussions on our campus. Individuals have confided their families’ stories and their experiences at MIT.

    Every conversation has taught me something important.

    As we find a way forward as a community, I’m inspired to see positive action coming from all quarters, including the many efforts Chancellor Nobles highlighted yesterday as part of “Standing Together Against Hate.”

    I also hope we can all reflect on a remarkable letter circulated by a group of faculty, already co-signed by hundreds across MIT. It says in part:

    Despite these tragedies, we can model the kind of future we wish for ourselves and our students. We must maintain and strengthen the bonds of friendship and collegiality that cut across political, ethnic, and religious differences, especially in the face of the rising tides of violence and hatred abroad and on university campuses. Our fate here at MIT can and must be different. Through living and working together we can become wiser and more compassionate.

    I share this sentiment entirely. I hope you will join with me in standing up against hate of any kind, anywhere, but especially within our own community – and in reaching out to anyone who may be struggling with the burden of recent events. After these past weeks, I know many of you are exhausted and hurting. We have to make room for each other, in our hearts and in our daily lives. We cannot and must not let events in the world drive us apart, or erode our respect for each other’s humanity, or thwart the great mission we’re here to pursue together.

    Sincerely,

    Sally Kornbluth

    Insipid, yes. And spoiler alert: the “remarkable letter” really isn’t. But I guess that at least some folks at MIT are trying to muddle through this somehow.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  19. I am more interested in his (and FIRE‘s) legal analysis, such as there is no “advocacy of genocide” or “hate speech” exceptions to the First Amendment.

    Don’t hold them to your standards — they won’t care. Hold them to their OWN standards.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  20. @12 ‘I am more interested in his (and FIRE‘s) legal analysis, such as there is no “advocacy of genocide” or “hate speech” exceptions to the First Amendment.’

    The First Amendment has nothing to do with campus policies at private universities. University presidents are hiding behind the Constitution and you’re buying it. The former Obama official who berated a hot dog vendor in NYC was arrested and charged with harassment and a hate crime, and that was in a public square not private property. I didn’t notice many objections then, actually none.

    MIT had clear rules about protests and refused to enforce them specifically to protect the pro-Hamas violators.

    lloyd (aec117)

  21. But of course she couldn’t formulate that response until she left the Congressional hearing room and had a chance to sit down with the crisis response team.

    And a focus group or two.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  22. Open Letter

    An Open Letter to the Board of Directors of the MIT Corporation, President Sally Kornbluth, and Professor Mary C. Fuller, Faculty Chair.

    December 4, 2023.

    Dear Members of the Board of Directors, President Kornbluth, and Professor Fuller:

    We, the undersigned, are concerned Jewish and non-Jewish Alumni who are sickened by the state of affairs at MIT. As alumni, we are distraught to see our great and famous alma mater, the one that launched our careers, mired in such disarray. A renowned institution is imperiled.

    An institution that prizes mathematical rigor and consistency and physical and immutable laws is now wrought by arbitrary and discriminatory double standards. Law-breakers flaunt the law, while law-abiders are shunned and left to fend for themselves.

    If this were the extent of the problem, law being supplanted by chaos, it would be bad enough. But MIT’s precipitous decline into a hostile place is not being driven by randomness. The evil that infects it is deterministic. It is anti-Semitism.

    Jewish students are blocked from attending classes, and fearful of setting foot on campus. Jewish employees fear bringing their children to MIT Daycare. The law-breaking and rule-defying is explicitly intended as a challenge the presence of Jews at MIT. To characterize it otherwise is disingenuous. If it is not stopped, there is no telling who may be hurt or how permanent will be the damage.

    To date, the response of the Administration has been far too weak, and completely ineffective.

    We are angry and heartbroken at the state of affairs at our alma mater. But we are also committed to fixing MIT. We will go to any lengths to restore MIT to the culture that made it great and beloved by its Jewish alumni. We stand at the ready to help. A first step in the road to recovery must be a meeting between the Administration and concerned Alumni. We await your call.

    Sincerely yours,

    The Jewish MIT Alumni Committee

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  23. @14 you equate harassment with shooting and attempted murder?

    asset (eddd0a)

  24. There is a consistency problem here. We don’t hear all the fretting over “context” when the threatening language is launched against a more preferred minority on campus.

    The challenge in all of this is how best to accommodate pro-palestinian supporters while protecting jewish students. Rallying at a park is a bit different than taking over a wing of a building where other students must traverse or attend class at.

    The administrators looked bad because they didn’t seem to empathize at all with the jewish students….inferring that once people start getting beat up, then they’ll jump into action. It’s not a satisfying response for families paying a lot of money to have their 18 or 19 year old attend that institution….and not feel safe.

    AJ_Liberty (09ce66)

  25. @14 you equate harassment with shooting and attempted murder?

    Oh, harassment is ok when it’s Arab and Muslim radicals aided and abetted by the woke mob facing off against “privileged” Jewish students, so long as it doesn’t devolve into gun play? You’d make a great university administrator, asset.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  26. I’m on the side of the Jewish students at MIT, but one thing about claims regarding the whole takeover of Lobby 7 by the pro-Hamas brigade bothers me:

    Jewish students are blocked from attending classes, and fearful of setting foot on campus. Jewish employees fear bringing their children to MIT Daycare. The law-breaking and rule-defying is explicitly intended as a challenge the presence of Jews at MIT. To characterize it otherwise is disingenuous. If it is not stopped, there is no telling who may be hurt or how permanent will be the damage.

    If this is referring to the students blocking egress in Lobby 7, which is the only context for which I have heard these claims, then I don’t buy it. In point of fact, Lobby 7 is simply a main entrance into a building which then provides access to a whole bunch of other academic buildings, but it is hardly the only way to get to various classrooms. In fact, even if Lobby 7 is being blockaded, there are any number of ways to access your classroom using other entrances. That’s not to say that I support those pro-Hamas jerks occupying the space — I wish MIT had suspended them even if it had meant that some of the students would have their visas revoked and be sent home (actions have consequences, and the Biden Administration would have found a way to bail them out anyway) — but I don’t see how this could have kept any willing student from attending class.

    JVW (1ad43e)

  27. Lets take the black woman president harvard. Harvard we need a punching bag and being black they wont punch hard would you like the job? Answer Yes I can obfuscate with the best of them and not offend congress, donors, faculty or students. You give the job to some old white male lefty ready to retire and he tells them what he thinks of them like telling congresswoman stefanik look you represent western NY not skunk creek mississippi and then tells the chairman of the committee what do you want fascist remember this isn’t a klan meeting!

    asset (eddd0a)

  28. @25 I said no such thing I did not say harassment was ok. I don’t think shooting and attempted murder is the same as harassment and neither does the law.

    asset (eddd0a)

  29. How about asking this question?

    Does a call for genocide of white people violate your university’s code of conduct?

    DN (c86baf)

  30. I just found a great video from an MIT student who also spoke today, and have added it to the post.

    Dana (932d71)

  31. The First Amendment has nothing to do with campus policies at private universities.

    If a private university has a code of conduct, students can sue (and have done so) to enforce it.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  32. Then there is this:

    Penn Donor Threatens to Rescind $100 Million Donation Unless President Is Ousted

    A major donor to the University of Pennsylvania has told the school he would rescind a $100 million gift if the school doesn’t replace President Liz Magill, who has faced intensifying criticism for her handling of antisemitism on campus—most recently because of how she defined harassment in a congressional hearing earlier this week.

    Ross Stevens, founder and chief executive of Stone Ridge Holdings Group, a financial-services firm, informed Penn on Thursday he would cancel $100 million worth of Stone Ridge shares held by the university, according to a letter sent by his attorneys to the school. Stevens, a 1991 Penn graduate, donated shares to fund the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at the university’s Wharton School, according to the letter. The donation was made in 2017.

    Stone Ridge had grounds to cancel the shares based on Magill’s recent congressional testimony, the letter said. The company has the discretion to cancel the shares if Penn engages in conduct that is “materially injurious to [Stone Ridge’s] business, reputation, character or standing,” the letter said.

    During her testimony Tuesday in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Magill was asked if calling for the genocide of Jewish students would violate school policies. Magill said it depended on the context.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  33. Does a call for genocide of white people violate your university’s code of conduct?

    Why make up something when the facts at hand provide enough of an issue?

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  34. Lets take the black woman president harvard.

    You played the entire Black deck there.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  35. If this is referring to the students blocking egress in Lobby 7, which is the only context for which I have heard these claims, then I don’t buy it. In point of fact, Lobby 7 is simply a main entrance into a building which then provides access to a whole bunch of other academic buildings, but it is hardly the only way to get to various classrooms.

    So, if they can sneak in the back door, it’s all OK? Just use the Jew Door?

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  36. The University Presidents were embarrassingly unprepared for Stefanik’s predictable question, but their appeal to nuance wasn’t wrong. I was too lazy to tease it out, so I didn’t comment, but now Ken White has done the work for me.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  37. @36, I think Ken White misses the point: it’s about hypocrisy, not just the ambiguity of the 1st amendment, which all of us dupes would concede. Are Jewish students being harrassed and threatened? Are the universities doing anything about it? If an LGBTQ group was experiencing similar harrassment, would these administrators be laboring on about context? I’m not persuaded that the answer is “yes”.

    It makes me wonder: how does Harvard rank empirically on protecting free speech? FIRE doesn’t tend to rank them high. I would go back to my original comment. Both sides on these campuses deserve some accommodation. I would hate to diminish the concerns of the Jewish students given that anti-semitic crimes are on the uptick across the country. I also don’t want to silence Pro-Palestinian voices that are reasonably complaining about disproportionality, justice, and collective punishment. White makes the valid point that Intifada is not the same as genocide. Though intifada has been used to describe intense and violent terrorism. Not exactly a conforting distinction in my estimation.

    Emotions are high. The schools should be looking to constructively channel those emotions. I didn’t get the sense that they viewed this as urgent. I’m not exactly a safe-zone protective-bubble sort of guy. University should be about pluralism and becoming more open to other viewpoints. But it should also set boundaries. If I’m shipping $50k over there, I don’t want my kid being harrassed for being a Jew. The administrators should have conveyed greater empathy and more consistency.

    AJ_Liberty (da62ba)

  38. @36 Someone who smears Stefanik with Great Replacement Theory isn’t displaying the sort of nuance he’s expecting from others. It’s certainly possible to overthink a straightforward question. If the question was instead “Is it acceptable to kidnap, rape, torture and murder women and children?” we’ve already seen there are no lack of individuals who would rather argue context and nuance rather than simply answer the question. Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to say “f*ck nuance.”

    lloyd (108f87)

  39. Then safe zones bad! Now safe zones good. That was then this is now!

    asset (15016e)

  40. @37. I don’t think Ken declining to address the hypocrisy misses the point. The moral, policy, and legal implications of Stefanik’s question are one issue. The hypocritical way college administrators have handled it when the players are different is another. Declining to import the latter into the former merely avoids a partisan whatabout. Elite colleges have been disgustingly hypocritical. Preach it. Just give it its own lane. Don’t use it to run over a separate, important question that’s complicated enough on its own.

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  41. When I was growing up liberals would say “we” when talking to conservatives and they would answer you and me don’t make “we” commie! Now conservatives say “we” and liberals say you and me don’t make “we” nazi! Liberals don’t want to breath the same air that conservatives breath! The horrors of the hamas attack have put liberal establishment democrats on the defensive like the three collage presidents who had to obfuscate instead of telling the republican congresswoman what they really believe. Anti-semitism on collage campuses fueled by the slaughter of palestinian women and children by Israel is not going away. Oct.7 atrocities by hamas are being negated by the horrors taking place to women and children in Gaza. This is a battle of hearts and minds like they use to say about vietnam, central america, Iraq and afganistan. The rabid Israel/netanyahu supporters are losing the battle of influence with their over the top rhetoric claiming anyone who supports a ceasefire is a hamas supporter. Addressing anti-semitism on campuses is long overdue even if many who demand safe spaces for jewish student are the discredited ones who demanded no safe spaces for black/brown students. This is a political war of attrition as well as a military one. we will see who wins it in the end. I hope for Israel’s sake they get more thoughtful supporters.

    asset (15016e)

  42. Wow, she completely botched the question and embarrassed herself and her university, but nowhere in her two-minute video apologia is a phrase along the lines of “I’m sorry that I didn’t respond more forcefully.” Our higher education institutions are being run by absolute mediocrities.

    JVW (1ad43e) — 12/6/2023 @ 7:24 pm

    They are run by traitors trying to destroy our nation by poisoning the minds of the young.

    And they are succeeding.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  43. Heh, heh, heh!

    Say what you want about election-denying, Trump-sucking, political opportunists from Northern Appalachia, Stefanik knows how to pick her low-hanging fruit.

    You see, “school people” (that’s like “theater people” but they work in schools) are not accustomed to honest debate.

    What they are accustomed to is imposing their own facts on young, vulnerable persons over whom they have near absolute authority.

    Faced with with a questioner even more intellectually dishonest than themselves and magnitudes more practiced in peddling bullsh!t, they were like babes in the woods. Left with egg on their face, a thumb up their ass, and a big grin to pass the time of day with.

    nk (a641c0)

  44. Trump accuses ‘liberal Jews’ of voting to ‘destroy America and Israel’ in Rosh Hashanah message
    The post on Trump’s Truth Social account came on the weekend of the Jewish New Year.

    “Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed in false narratives!” said the post, which came on the weekend of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. “Let’s hope you learned from your mistake & make better choices moving forward!”

    Nuance?

    nk (a641c0)

  45. @43: What a great line from The Wild Bunch

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  46. Perhaps he should have saved that for Yom Kippur, with all the atoning he wants them to do.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  47. This comment at The Dispatch resonated with me:

    “..the policy should be applied in a viewpoint neutral manner. For example, if Christian right wing speakers are cancelled because of the disruption their presence causes (Which I find to be a horrible position), then pro-Palestinian events should be canceled for the same reason.

    More pointedly, we have heard from those at Harvard that “words are violence” and offensive speech is violence, misgendering a person is violence. Okay. I disagree, but if that is your policy, then chanting for the destruction of the Jewish state should certainly be considered Violence. I read that Harvard has rescinded offers to students for homophobic social media posts. If that is Harvard’s policy, then every student who praised Oct.7th should be expelled.”

    I get that Popehat wants to treat this as a 1A question (though he acknowledges that private institutions like MIT aren’t bound by it). Now I do agree that Stefanik’s rigid “yes” or “no” trap would seemingly rope in speech that is objectively not threatening….his example of students talking in a dorm room. Even a loaded term like genocide doesn’t always create a hostile environment. However, in the context of on-campus protests and taking over buildings to start delivering from-the-river-to-the-sea chants…perhaps there might be some consensus.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  48. “From the river to the sea” chants would also be protected speech. Both public and private universities can be held accountable under anti-discrimination laws, which is why universities like Columbia, UC Berkeley, NYU, and UPenn are being sued by their students.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  49. Slogans are protected speech, just like when white supremacists chant “Jews will not replace us.”

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  50. Congress can get around the First Amendment issue by passing a law banning antisemitic speech and removing the federal courts ability to hear legal challenges under its authority in Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution:

    Unlike the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, Article III provides that the Court’s appellate jurisdiction is subject to Exceptions and Regulations prescribed by Congress. Congress and the Court have construed this provision, sometimes called the Exceptions Clause, to grant Congress significant control over the Court’s appellate jurisdiction and proceedings. …….
    ……….
    Congress also possesses significant power to prevent Supreme Court appellate review by limiting the federal courts’ jurisdiction over certain classes of cases, or even specific cases, a practice sometimes called jurisdiction stripping. The Constitution provides for the existence of a Supreme Court, but leaves to Congress the decision whether to establish inferior federal courts. That broad grant of discretion has been interpreted also to grant Congress expansive authority to regulate the structure and jurisdiction of the lower federal courts. …….(T)he Court has upheld legislation that deprives the federal courts of jurisdiction over certain matters, including legislation that removed jurisdiction over a specific pending case. Jurisdiction stripping statutes may limit the Court’s appellate jurisdiction; by contrast, Congress cannot enact legislation to limit the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.

    Footnotes omitted.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  51. “Congress can get around the First Amendment issue”

    There is no 1A issue here, as has been pointed out numerous times.

    lloyd (c5e7b9)

  52. Days later, after facing calls to resign, Claudine Gay finds her voice:

    ‘I am sorry. Words matter. When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret.’

    Even DEI hires can feel the heat.

    lloyd (c5e7b9)

  53. I read that Harvard has rescinded offers to students for homophobic social media posts. If that is Harvard’s policy, then every student who praised Oct.7th should be expelled.”

    Admission is completely discretionary.

    But expelling or suspending or disciplining students is a due process issue or has been made one, and the Harvard president’s only correct answer about their rules was that calling for the genocide against Jews did not, by itself, violate any written policy against bullying or harassment.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  54. I get that Popehat wants to treat this as a 1A question

    Foolish integrity.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  55. Admission is completely discretionary.

    But expelling or suspending or disciplining students is a due process issue

    Registering for the coming term is not wholly a right.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  56. calling for the genocide against Jews did not, by itself, violate any written policy against bullying or harassment.

    This is the problem with lists — they always exclude something far worse than anything on the list.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  57. Even DEI hires can feel the heat.

    That’s a non-apology apology, such as “I regret that my words hurt you” which is different than “I regret that I was an asshat.”

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  58. “Slogans are protected speech, just like when white supremacists chant “Jews will not replace us.””

    You don’t get to take over buildings to deliver them.

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  59. DN (c86baf) — 12/6/2023 @ 9:20 pm

    How about asking this question?

    Does a call for genocide of white people violate your university’s code of conduct?

    If the people complaining about that bknow what buttons to push, but you have to be an insider to know that,

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  60. She apologized for not adding to her words:

    By the way I think it is terribly wrong to say that.

    That’s one of three things that can be said

    The others are that there can be a subtext of threat, and that there may be other kinds of intimidation going on which could be given more strength by the pro-Palestine demonstrations,

    Also it should be said hat their slogans come close to advocating genocide – Elise Stefanik skipped the intermediate interpretive step – and the one that goes “globalize the intifada” literally does because the intifada consisted of random killings of Jews and people with them,,

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  61. There is no 1A issue here, as has been pointed out numerous times.

    lloyd (c5e7b9) — 12/8/2023 @ 9:23 am

    There is for public universities. And I am speaking of general ban on antisemitic speech, not just at universities.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  62. @42 when both sides consider the other sides traitors it usually doesn’t end well. Their is to much money in collages in the wrong places like publish or parish instead of teaching. We need lean hungry wolves teaching the kids like in the lower grades.

    asset (425c6f)

  63. “And I am speaking of general ban on antisemitic speech, not just at universities.”

    You are the only one bringing that up. It’s irrelevant.

    lloyd (c5e7b9)

  64. Toning down anti-semitism is a good thing ;but like a pendulum it will swing to far as going after first amendment here. Dennis prager used to complain about being censored on campuses. Censor anti-semites by getting around 1 amendment how about we then censor fascists, racists, sexists and enemies of the people next. The re-education camps are going to get filled in a hurry!

    asset (425c6f)

  65. You are the only one bringing that up. It’s irrelevant.

    lloyd (c5e7b9) — 12/8/2023 @ 1:31 pm

    No it’s not irrelevant-I’m pointing out that Congress could criminalize and punish antisemitic speech if it wanted to and avoid any Constitutional issues. Then these who express antisemitism would face something more than just being expelled.

    Rip Murdock (5ad73d)

  66. So, you believe that Congress can white-out the 1st Amendment if it so chooses, simply by passing a law that says the courts can’t butt in?

    I’d bet against the court going along with that in a case that involved core civil rights.

    Kevin M (ed969f)

  67. Prof. Volokh is correct about the First Amendment. The Supreme Court on down will protect the right of speakers and writers to communicate even noxious and hateful ideas, so long as the communications are not likely to incite “imminent lawless action.” Remember, of course, the First Amendment protects against government action, not against the actions of private citizens and entities.

    That standard is appropriate as a limit upon government power to regulate or prohibit speech.

    The college presidents were stuck, however, because their private schools have created speech codes and the like, and they have barred speakers based solely upon the unpopularity of the speech’s likely content, and they have punished people for saying the wrong thing to someone who claimed then to be offended or harassed.

    I suspect the presidents knew if they said the calls for genocide violated their private schools’ codes, then they’d face push back not only from the people who advocate genocide but also from others who would argue that Leftist haters have been allowed to speak without the presidents saying a word.

    The presidents thus tried to retreat to a First Amendment standard that they and their fellow ideologues do not actually agree with and do not want to uphold in favor of people with whom they strongly disagree. That’s why the presidents looked and spoke so awkwardly.

    Worse, of course, was the presidents’ seeming not to grasp the enormity of having huge demonstrations on their campuses by people seeking genocide. And their not acknowledging that Jewish students would in fact feel afraid as a result of large crowds calling for their deaths.

    Underlying all this is Wokeism, which has considered Jewish people the “oppressors” who need to be penalized and dismantled. The presidents likely feared backlash, even cancellation, coming from their fellow Wokeists, if the presidents stood up in favor of “oppressors” like Jews.

    Richard S. (84e42f)


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