JOSH BLACKMAN (from John Sexton over at Hot Air): “Shortly before the event began, I spoke with CUNY’s Chief of Public Safety. He explained that a few dozen students were already assembled in the hallway outside the room. They had amassed earlier in the day to create posters and signs. (Students passed out poster board and markers.) I asked him if they would heckle me in order to prevent me from speaking. He said he did not know…”
“Much to my surprise, when I entered the room after that rude welcome, there were only about five people in attendance. Moments later, the protestors with signs filed in and surrounded all four sides of the room. About a dozen of them were standing directly behind me.”
“The President of the Federalist Society Chapter asked the students standing behind me to move to the back of the room. They refused. I didn’t raise any objection. Had they stayed there, and not made any noise, it would have been fine with me.”
“The protestors called out: ‘Shame on You.’ ‘I don’t understand how CUNY allows this.’ ‘There are students that are directly affected by this hate speech.’ ‘Legal objectivity is a myth.’ ‘You still have an opportunity to leave.’
Organized Heckling at CUNY School of Law of Prof. Josh Blackman Talk on Free Speech Josh Blackman is one of the leading young libertarian/conservative law professors in the country.
“Josh Blackman has video and photographs at his blog, though I also include the video below. The protest, I think, shows a narrow-mindedness on the students’ part, and an unwillingness to listen to substantive argument. But the heckling, which seems like an organized attempt to keep Blackman from speaking, is something much worse — something that universities ought to punish, and that I would think many universities would indeed punish, at least in other situations. (The protesters’ standing on the same stage as the speaker, I think, would also not be tolerated for other events; leaving the podium to the speaker and other invited panel members is, I think, the standard content-neutral practice in such cases.)”
“Say that anti-abortion students decided to try to shout down university talks by academics who support abortion rights. Or say that other students decided to try to shout down university talks by academics who support Black Lives Matters. How would, and how should, universities respond to that? I would think that the same answer should apply here.”
See Eugene’s post for more, including questions he posed to CUNY Law School officials.