CUNY students call law prof 'racist' for supporting free speech

Students at CUNY School of Law heckled a professor as he tried to give a lecture on "The Importance of Free Speech," calling him a "racist" and a "white supremacist" for supporting the First Amendment.

The students protested outside initially, holding signs saying "conservative hate [does not equal] intellectual debate," then followed Josh Blackman into the lecture hall, where they shouted that "legal objectivity is a myth."

A law professor was heckled during a speaking engagement at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law by students intent on silencing his conservative viewpoints.

Josh Blackman is a law professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL), and was invited by CUNY’s Federalist Society chapter to give a speech on “The Importance of Free speech.” 

Some students, however, were upset that Blackman was allowed to speak at their school, and showed up to the event holding posters proclaiming “conservative hate ≠ intellectual debate” and “Federalist Society is Racist. Josh Blackman is Racist.”

As Blackman entered the classroom to give his talk, the protesters followed him in, shouting “legal objectivity is a myth” and “he’s a white supremacist.”

[RELATED: Statewide protest demands colleges defund conservative groups]

As the protesters continued to disrupt his speech, Blackman recounts in an op-ed for National Review that a member of the CUNY administration threatened to discipline the protesters if they do not stop shouting over Blackman.

“All right, listen. Everybody stop. Let me tell you something. The university rules are people get to speak. You may protest. You may protest. But you may not keep anyone from speaking,” the employee told the protesters. “If you do, I have other things to do, I will be back. Or you can resolve this yourselves. Or you can have me resolve it.”

The students nonetheless continued to heckle Blackman’s speech for several more minutes, with one person shouting “F*** the law,” and even accusing Blackman of choosing to come to CUNY because he “knew what would happen,” referring to the protests.

As the protesters walked out of the room, one told Blackman that “You’re a white supremacist,” adding that “This is really about CUNY Law and how you let this happen.”

During the ruckus, the demonstrators even singled out an African American student who was trying to listen to the speech, asking, “Why aren’t you with us?”

“I don’t support this guy,” the student replied, but “I want to hear him speak.”

[RELATED: Black conservative shouted down for speaking ‘against own people’]

Blackman told Campus Reform that he was “shocked” by the disruption, saying this was the first time he was protested. 

“I had hoped they would protest before my speech, and ask me tough questions afterwards,” he said. “Instead, they decided to heckle and interrupt me. At the time, I had no idea if or when they would stop heckling. Fortunately, it did not last the entire time.”

Blackman believes that the students who protested his lecture view free speech as a cover of white supremacy, calling it an example of the sorry state of free speech on American college campuses.

“Sadly, this demonstration is representative of a broader movement,” said Blackman. “Students are free to peaceably protest, but they cannot interrupt or heckle speakers.”

Campus Reform reached out to CUNY School of Law to ask whether the school is planning to pursue a disciplinary investigation, but has not received a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10