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AG Sessions: Free speech on college campuses under attack

AG Sessions: Free speech on college campuses under attack

Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemned US colleges for limiting provocative speeches on campuses even as he defended President Donald Trump's attacks on NFL players for protesting during the national anthem.

During his talk, Sessions railed against what is known as the heckler's veto, where a person asserting their free-speech rights is silenced because hecklers reacting to the speech became violent. Sessions said. "The university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor". "These players, with all the assets that they have, can express their political views other than, in fact, denigrating the symbols of our nation - our nation that provides the freedom to speak and act". "[Sessions] has proven himself over and over again to be against free speech, to be against justice, and today we take a knee".

Mr Sessions added: "Protesters are now routinely shutting down speeches and debates across the country. But it is transforming into ... a shelter for fragile egos".

During his lecture-heard by an invite-only crowd pre-selected to "ensure a sympathetic audience"-Sessions defended President Donald Trump's attacks on National Football League players protesting police brutality and racial inequities, saying: "The president has free speech rights too".

"The Justice Department later said it was also filing a brief on behalf of students at Georgia Gwinnett College who are challenging a school policy that requires them to use "free speech zones" to express their views".

A group of at least thirty academics at Georgetown University's Law Center issued a public letter protesting Session's appearance, highlighting the Justice Department's current pursuit of a woman who laughed during Sessions' confirmation.

Sessions was at Georgetown to deliver an address about free speech on college campuses.

Sessions said he agrees with Trump in opposing the protests. Trump's feud has sparked a major debate about patriotism and First Amendment rights, and Sessions said today that there ought to be an official requirement for people to stand when the Anthem plays.

He called on institutions of higher learning to "intellectually push back" against students and others who 'think they have a right to block somebody else's beliefs and the expression of those beliefs'.

Sessions decried the actions of protesters, whom he referenced as part of an increasing "cottage industry" against free speech. Mr. Sessions said the department would file more statements in the weeks and months to come.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the topic of a White House dinner hosted by President Donald Trump Monday night, reports said.

In March, a Middlebury College professor was hospitalized after protests outside the speech of a conservative political scientist.

GULC spokesperson Tanya Weinberg wrote in an email to The Hoya that it is up to event organizers to determine audience selection and questions.

"Boise State recently spent over a year revising its policies that implicate free expression - in partnership with both the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation and the Idaho branch of the American Civil Liberties Union".

"We celebrate the diversity of opinion", Sessions said.


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