Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Marquette Law School Hassles Student Group About Conservative Speaker

It’s not unusual for campus bureaucrats to be hostile to the idea that conservatives might speak on a college campus (as the speech at Marquette by Ben Shapiro shows), but this is the first time we have heard it happening at the Law School.

When the student Federalist Society proposed bringing gun rights advocate John Lott to campus, Anna Fodor, Director of Student Affairs, objected that the proposed discussion of the Second Amendment was “incendiary and controversial” and strongly suggested (virtually demanded) that a speaker on the other side be included.

And indeed, the program as initially announced included both Lott and liberal Marquette professor Ed Fallone.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with having Ed Fallone present a liberal viewpoint on the Second Amendment, but (1.) when only conservative viewpoints are required to be “balanced” that biases the discourse, and (2.) such a requirement imposes an extra burden on conservative speech and the organizations that seek to espouse conservative ideas on campus.

The program, as it actually came off, did not involve Fallone, but rather Lott only. And he did not talk about “a Federally mandated national concealed carry reciprocity right” (as originally announced) but rather what people wanted to hear discussed: mass shootings, in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy.

Lott, using hard data, showed that mass shooting are not peculiar to the U.S., and indeed advanced industrial nations with strict gun control laws have them, and in some cases have higher per capita casualty rates than the U.S.

Past Experience

In the past, the student Federalist Society has hosted multiple conservative speakers, but pretty much only those with less national prominence than Lott, talking about issues less “hot-button” than guns, such as Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Bradley and Ziegler.

But when they proposed inviting outspoken and controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Fodor and Amy Rogan-Metha (Associate Dean for Student Development) objected, and insisted there had to be an opposing voice at the event. It turned out that Clarke could not come, so the issue became moot.

Other Campuses

Not surprisingly, other campus Federalist Societies have run up against liberal intolerance. A recent example involved Texas Southern University, where the organization had invited had invited state representative Briscoe Cain. Cain’s apparent sin was that he was for denying funds for gender reassignment surgery for inmates. Protesters shouted him down, and TSU President Dr. Austin Lane closed down the event, apparently in response to the bullying of the protesters.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Edward Fallone said...

This is Professor Ed Fallone. I was extended an invitation to participate in the event you describe but I declined due to other speaking obligations during the month of October. I suggested the names of some other Law School faculty who might be available and wished the organizers well. I have spoken at many Federalist Society events over the years, and am willing to do so when my schedule permits.

11:28 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

@Ed Fallone: It is, quite typically, good to have competing perspectives in these events, and you have done valuable service representing a liberal perspective. While I object to any rigid requirement for balance (especially when selectively imposed on conservative organizations), I think the best events I've attended at Marquette have been debates.

12:02 PM  

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