A free speech event hosted at Yale University that featured both conservative and progressive speakers was shouted down last week by over 100 far-left radicals from the university’s law school.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the panel was hosted on March 10th by the Yale Federalist Society, and featured Monica Miller of the left-wing American Humanist Association, and Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom. The purpose of the panel was to demonstrate that even two activists with such different political beliefs could agree on several things when it comes to the assault on freedom of speech in America today, as both groups had been involved in at least one Supreme Court case together dealing with violations of the First Amendment, when the Court sided with a Christian student in a Georgia university who was initially forbidden from preaching on campus.
But as the event was getting started, over 100 protesters, consisting mostly of law students at Yale Law School, entered the room and began shouting and heckling the speakers. When Yale professor Kate Stith began introducing the two panelists, protesters started harassing members of the audience and shouting vulgarities at the panelists. Professor Stith repeatedly called out the protesters’ behavior, telling them that Yale prohibited protests that “interferes with speakers’ ability to be heard and of community members to listen.” When the protesters began making obscene gestures and cursing at her, Stith told them to “grow up.”
When the protesters continued to scream and display uncivilized behavior, Stith ordered them to leave, threatening to have security remove them if they did not do so voluntarily. Although the protesters did leave the room, they remained in the hallway just outside the room where the event was taking place, where they continued screaming, chanting, stamping their feet, and banging on the walls. The noise could be heard inside the room, and also disrupted multiple classes and exams that were taking place nearby.
As the event concluded and several members of the audience tried to leave, they were physically attacked by protesters who were actively blocking the exit. Once the event was over, police officers had to escort the panelists out of the building to safety.
“It was disturbing to witness law students whipped into a mindless frenzy,” said Waggoner after the incident. “I did not feel it was safe to get out of the room without security.”
In the aftermath of the incident, an open letter began circulating among some students, falsely describing the agitators as “peaceful student protesters” and promoting the debunked narrative of “police brutality” against minorities, in response to the police presence after the event.
“The danger of police violence in this country is intensified against black LGBTQ people, and particularly black trans people,” the letter claimed, without any evidence. “Police-related trauma includes, but is certainly not limited to, physical harm. Even with all of the privilege afforded to us at YLS, the decision to allow police officers in as a response to the protest put YLS’s queer student body at risk of harm.”
Miller defended the event and her participation in it, saying that “as lawyers, we have to put aside our differences and talk to opposing counsel. If you can’t talk to your opponents, you can’t be an effective advocate.”