Stop Using Free Speech as a Justification for Violating Our Right to Human Dignity

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For marginalized groups, and specifically BLSA members, Freedom of Speech is not free, and its benefits come at the expense of our educational liberties. Time and time again, the Administration has taken a “neutral” stance on infractions that have contributed to “disrupt[ing] the ordinary activities of [black law students at this] University.” (See Chicago Principles) This silence has manifested a culture where a Black student’s right to learn, engage, and excel in an inclusive environment is overshadowed by the need to preserve the interest of the oppressor’s unequivocal right to speak freely.

We request that the Law School reconsider its absolute embrace of the University’s Freedom of Speech policy, or at the very least, reassess when and how exceptions to the policy are applicable. We implore our Administration to adopt an approach that more closely reflects an appreciation of students of color and acknowledges a history of institutionalized oppression which continues to hinder equitable access to the freedom to speak. We hope that in speaking out against this one instance of injustice it paves the way for national conversations concerning practices, policies, and laws that continue to deprive marginalized groups of the right to human dignity.

Full petition can be read here.