As President Donald Trump ramps up his criticism of NFL National Anthem protests, his attorney general on Tuesday waded into a different culture war with an address to law students about free speech on college campuses.
Earlier today, dozens of former and current Georgetown University students, faculty, and D.C. residents, are gathered at Georgetown University Law's Center for the Constitution, to protest a speech to be given by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
SESSIONS: Absolutely not. The President of the United States has free speech.
"University leaders at Boise State could not agree more that a "university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor, ' as Attorney General Jeff Sessions said".
We have a heritage of free speech. He then added, "it's not a contradiction".
"A man who fails to recognize paradigmatic violations of the First Amendment is a poor choice to speak about free speech on campuses", the statement said.
Outside McDonough Hall, third-year Georgetown law student Imani Waweru said he joined a group of about 100 protesting the attorney general's speech because opposition to various policies Sessions has implemented in his short tenure. But there's a darkly humorous dimension to any senior Trump administration official warning about the dangers that arise when open debate becomes an "echo chamber of political correctness and homogeneous thought" - a discomfort-free zone meant to give "shelter for fragile egos".
The Trump administration has been largely silent about campus speech codes, but on Tuesday the Justice Department announced that it's weighing in on a lawsuit brought by college students in Georgia.
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Law student Greyson Wallis spoke to the Washington Post about the dis-invitation.
In his speech, Sessions said many college administrators "discourage or prohibit speech if there is even a threat that it will be met with protest".
After Sessions finished his initial remarks, 10 students who were wearing #BlackLivesMatter shirts inside the auditorium stood up and placed tape over their mouths and silently protested the rest of the event. "It has always been my understanding that the fearless men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest".
Blauser says he and others are "suspicious [Georgetown] came across the planning" for demonstrations and that's why they disinvited students. And, yet, school administrators bend to this behaviour. At one point, Sessions appeared to take a page out of President Donald Trump's book, drawing a weird equivalence between protesters at Middlebury college, and the KKK.
Session responded to a question at Georgetown about the National Football League, saying, "It is a big mistake to protest in that fashion".
Sessions further discussed the measures Berkely took to manage the conservative event on campus.
Some who track free speech have pointed out that it is not only people on the political left who are allegedly infringing on free speech, but also people on the right. Given limited capacity, she said, the school's policy has held that the hosting organization determines the guest list.