Turley: Universities Cancelling Speeches Over Safety Concerns ‘Problematic’ – Can’t Veto Groups That Will be Controversial

On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “The Story,” Jonathan Turley, a Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, argued that the cancellation of campus speeches over safety concerns is a problem because it has become an easy way to prevent conservative speakers and speakers who have opposition.

Turley said, “Frankly, I think it’s problematic. Because we saw this before the recent tragedy, schools like DePaul University in Chicago, other schools, started to, instead of saying that they didn’t want a speaker, like Yiannopoulos, a very conservative speaker on campus, they started to cancel them by saying that they’re worried about public safety, that they’re worried about counter-demonstrators. And that has become an easy way to bar conservatives and people that have opposition.”

Turley continued, “Those are the type of people, quite frankly, that generate a lot of discussion on an academic setting. It’s true, they come with great risk. But when student groups ask them in, they have a right to be heard. And there is a concern that many of us in the free speech community [have] for this new mantra. You know, Nancy Pelosi said yesterday she wanted a permit reviewed of a group appearing in San Francisco, because of, ‘public safety‘ concerns. Well, what are those, and who makes those decisions?”

He concluded, “Those people have a right to speak if they have a permit, and the police have to do the best they can to keep these crowds apart. But you can’t have a veto for groups that are going to be controversial. We don’t need the First Amendment to protect popular speech.”

(h/t Grabien)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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