Law school drops debate sponsorship in fear of 'painful' views

Seattle University's law school has pulled its sponsorship of a slated debate over illegal immigration in fear exposing students to “painful” conservative viewpoints.

According to Bloomberg Law, the event was originally co-hosted by the school’s Federalist Society, a nationwide conservative organization that aims to promote the originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, and the school’s Access to Justice Institute.

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The goal of the debate was to examine the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program, a project created under President Obama that is presently under review by the Trump administration.

The topic of the debate, however, sparked a wave of backlash from more than 200 angry students, who signed an online petition urging the school to cancel the debate.

"We refuse to sit by and let hateful xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric be a part of the culture/message/speech of Seattle University School of Law and Seattle University as a whole," read the original petition, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon.

“We demand the school act on behalf of its undocumented students, and instead of co-sponsoring programming which is harmful to them, they should foster an environment which is safe for them and for everyone else on campus,” the letter added.

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Following the petition last week, law school dean Annette Clark announced that the institution would no longer sponsor the debate as part of its “Social Justice Monday” series. Instead, Clark said that the event will “go forward under the sole sponsorship of the Federalist Society.”

According to Bloomberg, Clark further explained that Trump’s policy on DACA “generated great fear within vulnerable immigrant communities and has caused real harm, making discussions of immigration policy that include a conservative viewpoint even more painful and anxiety- and anger-producing for those individuals and families who are at risk (and for their allies).”

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“In other words, we should have taken into account the historical moment in which this program was going to be presented as a Social Justice Monday and what that would mean to marginalized individuals in our community,” she added.

Law school spokesperson Tina Ching told Campus Reform that the event “is an appropriate program to be held at our law school under the sponsorship of the student organization,” pointing out that “students who object have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of their viewpoints, as is appropriate for students who are training to be lawyers.”

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