Dean Gerken won't be disciplining the protesters, but at least she condemns their conduct as 'unacceptable.'
"This is an institution of higher learning, not a town square, and no one should interfere with others’ efforts to carry on activities on campus. YLS is a professional school, and this is not how lawyers interact. We are also a community that respects our faculty and staff who have devoted their lives to helping students. Professor Kate Stith, Dean Mike Thompson, and other members of the staff should not have been treated as they were."
I like David Lat's positive-as-well-as-negative approach, and will flatter him by imitating it. (Seriously: I was just going to be negative,but I'll be constructive now.) Dean Gerken's statement above is very bad as is, but slight modifications can make it very good. So:
"This is an institution of higher learning, not a town square, but no one should interfere with others’ efforts to carry on activities on campus, just as no one should do so in a town square. YLS is a professional school, and this is not how lawyers interact. We are also a community that respects our faculty and staff who have devoted their lives to helping students. It is not just our guests, Monica Miller and Kristen Waggoner, who were mistreated. Professor Kate Stith, Dean Mike Thompson, and other members of the staff should not have been treated as they were."
See the difference?
In the very recent past, the Yale Law School faculty (supported by the University’s President) voted to grant Heather Gerken another term as Dean. In the wake of the events on March 10, Dean Gerken has claimed that YLS is a “professional school.” What profession might that be? Events during her first term and continuing into her second term have amply demonstrated that YLS has transitioned from a professional school to a social experiment in which faculty members and students are targeted for their sincerely held views and in which invited outside speakers must be accompanied by security officers when they dare enter the Sterling Law Building. I was previously of the view that I am not close enough to the situation to assign blame for this state of affairs. But now I can see clearly the culprits. It’s not Dean Gerken, by the way. She has been consistently feckless throughout. Rather, it’s the faculty that voted her a second term when she was a known quantity. Ladies and Gentlemen, congratulations — your Dean has delivered just as you apparently hoped she would. And YLS and the entire legal profession are the losers.
David, please explain how one can be "friends" with someone for whom one has no respect. IMHO, mere disagreement does not rise to the level of lack of respect. I'm a conservative who lives in California, a type of endangered species. But I have lots of liberal friends with whom I disagree, but none for whom I have no respect. At most, those latter people are mere acquaintances with whom I am compelled to deal because of extraneous circumstances.
I have a huge problem with one of the examples of prohibited conduct under the Yale Free Speech policy: "Standing up in an assembly in a way that obstructs the view of those attempting to watch an event or speaker and/or blocking the aisles or routes of egress"
In my opinion, one of the most effective forms of APPROPRIATE counter-speech is for those who disagree with the speaker to stand and silently turn their backs on the speaker. At most, this would require those behind the protestors to themselves stand, which is de rigueur at sporting events and concerts (especially if you have floor seats).
Any "free speech" policy that bans such a protest is, to my mind, poorly constructed.
To be clear, as a private university, Yale has the right to engage in whatever forms of discipline it wants, without running afoul of the First Amendment.
I'm curious as to your thoughts on something that I think has been missing from these free speech discussions: providing a platform and implied acceptance of some quite hateful groups. ADF believes LGBT should be criminalized, trans persons should be sterilized, Jewish and LGBT persons should be prevented from adopting, among other things. I agree we should encourage debate and discussion with different opinions represented, but we also need to pay attention to who we are having as part of those debates. By including people and groups that advocate such hate, you give them a platform to spread such hate, and give credence to the notion that such hate is a valid point of contention. I'm not suggesting there can't be disagreement or disapproval of LGBT, but to advocate that I be put in prison for who I love, that should not be given a platform by our institutions. We can put together events to discuss various political topics or legal discussions without inviting people and groups that advocate hateful policies.