Free Speech, Fear of Violence Collide at UW

Free Speech UC Berkeley

One evening earlier this week, Chevy Swanson, bespectacled, clean-cut and president of the College Republicans at the University of Washington, stood in a classroom with about a dozen other students, mostly male, to decorate signs with various slogans.

“We died for liberty not socialism,” read one. “Taxation is theft, my money my choice.”

And echoing President Trump’s recent State of the Union address: “Americans are Dreamers, too.”

Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco based attorney who in 2016 led the Republican National Convention invocation with a Sikh prayer, is currently litigating a similar case involving what she refers to as “unconstitutional restrictions,” including excessive security fees, imposed by the University of Berkeley after a planned series of high-profile conservative speakers, such as Ann Coulter and David Horowitz, were abruptly cancelled. The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a statement of interest in the case, arguing the school was violating the First Amendment.

Since the election of Trump, Dhillon argues, “universities have been whipping up this hysteria. These lawsuits are a blow for free speech for all students.”

“The principal of the First Amendment transcends politics,” Dhillon said. “The First Amendment’s point is to protect unpopular speech, and unpopular speakers.”

Read the full article on Crosscut.

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