Berkeley Law Faculty Condemn Refusing Zionist Speakers – Inside Higher Ed

Posted By on October 17, 2022

A group of professors at the University of California, Berkeley, Law School signed a statement protesting a decision by some student groups to adopt a bylaw not to host Zionist speakers.

We hereby endorse the principle of free and open speech at the law school, the statement reads. We also condemn the discriminatory bylaw adopted by a small minority of our law student groups refusing to accept speakers who have Zionist views or beliefs. We believe this rule is not only wrong but is antithetical to free speech and our community values. These bylaws would also impermissibly exclude a large majority of our faculty from participating in the work of these organizations, including our Dean.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, said that only a handful of student organizations initially adopted the bylaw earlier in the semester, and he objected to it in a letter to all student groups.

He implied in a recent op-ed in The Daily Beast that media outlets have overblown the controversy.

No group has violated the Law Schools policy and excluded a speaker on account of being Jewish or holding particular views about Israel, he wrote. Such conduct, of course, would be subject to sanctions.

He added, At this stage, all some student groups have done is express their strong disagreement with Israels policies. That is their First Amendment right. I find their statement offensive, but they have the right to say it.

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Berkeley Law Faculty Condemn Refusing Zionist Speakers - Inside Higher Ed

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