AG Sessions: Re-commitment To Free Speech Long Overdue

29 September, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • Jeff Sessions

On Tuesday of this week, Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States, spoke at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He was giving a speech about the importance of the First Amendment and the freedoms that the First Amendments grants US citizens.

Patrick Irelan/newzulu/NewscomU.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at Georgetown University today that the Justice Department will take on a greater role in free expression battles on college campuses. "I think it should be a formal rule of the league".

"We want to speak out first of all and call on presidents, trustees, legislators, and donors to make sure their colleges aren't suffocating speech", Sessions said.

"Things have changed over the years; there are some things you can't say that are offensive", said Tosin Ibironke.

Sessions also asserted that universities cancelling speeches over potential violence or controversy have created "a cottage industry of protestors who have quickly learned that school administrators will capitulate to their demands".

PEN America, a group that advocates for free expression, said most of the examples given by the attorney general Tuesday involved conservative speakers shut down by liberal protest. After activists prevented people who were scheduled to debate from doing so, and they tried to move to another location, he said, "the protesters, many wearing masks, a common tactic used by the detestable Ku Klux Klan, pulled fire alarms, surrounded the speakers and began physically assaulting them".

Meanwhile, Sessions maintained freedom of thought and speech are under attack on college campuses.

Earlier in the conversation, the attorney general made it clear campus free speech is an issue he is committed to addressing.

Sessions' speech, according to the school's website, was organized by its Center for the Constitution, led by high-profile professor Randy Barnett, who is known for his libertarian positions. Weinberg said that the event, which was organized by The Center for the Constitution, "was only open to invited students from across the Law Center who have in the past signed up to attend at least one event convened by the Center". "To the students who might be faint or something if he spoke there. They should be able to say to the players, if you are on our field in our game, paid by us, you should respect the flag and the national anthem". I think that's - it's not a contradiction there'.

Several students, dressed in "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts, sat silently with tape over their mouths as Sessions addressed the audience.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said sports players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem are making a "provocative" act and can "expect" to get condemned by the president.

Outside of the speech, the protesters mimicked the athletes' protest by kneeling on the ground.

The attorney general was not involved deciding which students were invited or excluded from the event, Tanya Weinberg, director of media relations at Georgetown Law, said in a statement.

"I wish that a wider community could hear what we had to say, but I guess we didn't have that luxury", Waweru said. Both policies, she said, are in line with university policy "given limited capacity".

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