Christina Hoff Sommers Describes Facing the Fury of a Campus Protest Group

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In a column for the Wall Street Journal this week, American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers described her experience with protesters at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

Sommers spoke at the Lewis & Clark Law School on Monday, March 5. Her event was proceeded by calls for its cancellation. Prior to the event, a group of students from Lewis & Clark Law School’s National Lawyers Guild published a letter calling Sommers a “known fascist” and “rape apologist.”

“We have recently become aware of a troubling event being held within the confines of our community,” the letter read. “Under the guise of ‘open debate’ and ‘free discourse,’ the Federalist Society found it necessary to unilaterally invite a known fascist to our campus to encourage what we believe to be an act of aggression and violence toward members of our society who experience racial and gendered oppression.”

Shortly after the event began, a group of students with a massive sign that read “Rape Culture is Not a Myth,” occupied the front of the lecture room. Periodically, students would chant and sing, successfully drowning out Sommers’ voice from traveling past the podium from which she spoke.

In her column, Sommers described her experience with the protesters, who largely succeeded in minimizing her speaking time. They shouted and screamed until the school’s Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Janet Steverson, ended Sommers’ speech abruptly, before the event’s scheduled end time.

As we approached the lecture hall, we saw protesters blocking the entrance, so we walked in through an adjacent door. When I reached the podium, several sign-wielding students dashed to the front of the room. The ringleader, a blond woman in a “Stay Woke” jacket, read chants from her phone: “Microaggressions are real!” “Black lives matter!” “The gender gage rap is real!” I think she meant “wage gap.”

About a dozen women and two men repeated the slogans, sounding more rote than woke. They faltered while trying to sing a ditty called “No Platform for Fascists.” When one started playing loud recorded music, the dean of diversity and inclusion, Janet Steverson, seized the Bluetooth speaker.

The demonstrators were ridiculous, but they got their way. Ms. Steverson gave up, cut my speech short, and urged me to start taking questions. At first I resisted. This was supposed to be a lecture, not a deposition. But she was adamant. She seemed like a middle-school principal trying to restore order during a playground brawl—but these were law students in a classroom.

You can read the entirety of Sommers’ account here.

 

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