Free Speech Advocate Silenced at William & Mary

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf:

Students at the College of William & Mary affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement broke the code of conduct there last week when they shut down a talk by an American Civil Liberties Union representative, though officials at the public institution won’t say if or how they will be punished.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU’s Virginia chapter, attempted to discuss free speech issues with students at the college in Williamsburg, Va., on Sept. 27, but no more than a few minutes into her talk, students holding signs lined the stage where she was speaking and drowned her out with chants of “ACLU, free speech for who?” “The oppressed are not impressed,” “ACLU, you protect Hitler, too,” “Blood on your hands,” “Shame! Shame! Shame!” and “Your free speech hides beneath white sheets.”

Later, when it was clear her talk couldn’t continue, students interested in Gastañaga’s views tried to speak with her one on one. Those protesting simply yelled louder, preventing this. Gastañaga was never able to address the small crowd that had gathered, either broadly or individually.