Future lawyers demand 'snacks,' 'an office' for crying over a tweet
Georgetown Law students held a sit-in protest against Ilya Shapiro after he was placed on administrative leave following now-deleted tweet.
The dean apologized to the students for purportedly 'betraying' their trust by hiring Shaprio.
On Tuesday, students at Georgetown University Law Center requested space on campus to cry following Ilya Shapiro's tweet last week suggesting that President Biden would end up picking a "lesser Black woman" for the Supreme Court.
The tweet has since been deleted.
Shapiro is currently suspended from his new position, executive director at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, pending an investigation into his online communication.
Following the university's response to Shapiro's tweet, students staged a sit-in protest Feb. 1 in solidarity alongside the Black Law Student Association (BLSA), demanding "the immediate termination of Ilya Shapiro and for the administration to address BLSA demands."
National Review quoted a female student at the protest asking if there is "an office [students] can go to" in the event "they want to cry."
In addition to "a designated place on campus to cry," the activists' demands also included a "reparations package" to accommodate for any emotional turmoil or missed opportunities while protesting, the outlet reports.
Suggestions for the package included excused absences from classes, a "designated place on campus to cry," and lunches or snacks.
"We have to do so much work to catch up for all the stuff that we missed," one student explained. "I don't know if it's a couple of dinners or lunches... but that would help us because I can't go home for lunch now because I have to study. I have to make up for the class that I lost."
"Coming back to this reparations thing...I don't know if it's a couple dinners or lunches or what, but that would help us," one activist says.
"We have food on the way," the dean assures her.
"Oh good, okay," she says. pic.twitter.com/W8lT3hPfIF
— Nate Hochman (@njhochman) February 1, 2022
The student continues to tell Treanor that the university has a responsibility to provide resources for students that are "hurting."
"It doesn't have to be something that takes a year to figure out. It's like, we know that our Black students, or whatever group, is hurting and we're going to give them things, whether it's snacks, whether it's counseling, whether it's whatever, but part of that trust is to see an immediate reaction to what we are saying."
Treanor humored the request, assuring the activists that there was "food on the way."
The dean also responded to the students' accusation of violating their trust by "apologizing profusely" for hiring Shapiro.
The sit-in reportedly began Tuesday at 8:00 am on the 5th floor of a campus building and was stated to last indefinitely. Students were instructed to wear black to show solidarity.
Prior to the sit-in, the BLSA penned a letter to the administration listing a number of demands in addition to rescinded employment. Additional calls of action included establishing a "thorough hiring process" that judges "cultural competency," increasing staffing in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, requiring Black student input on hiring decisions, and funding an endowment to increase Black "recruitment, retention, programming, and organizations."
The petition has amassed over 1,000 signatures and garnered the support of 21 organizations.
Shapiro has responded to the backlash, posting a statement on Twitter accepting the investigation and expressing optimism that it will be "fair, impartial, and professional."
— Ilya Shapiro (@ishapiro) January 31, 2022
Prior to the statement regarding the investigation, Shapiro issued an apology and cited the tweet as a "poor choice of words, which undermined my message that nobody should be discriminated against for his or her skin color."
A further statement: pic.twitter.com/nsIVRyfoiN
— Ilya Shapiro (@ishapiro) January 29, 2022
Since the controversy flared, numerous individuals and organizations have come to Shapiro's aid in the name of free speech. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) issued a statement declaring that "untrammeled speech about our national political leaders and difficult issues surrounding race and identity is critical to the democratic process."
Amidst criticism of Ilya Shapiro, Georgetown must live up to its promises of free expression.
We are here to make sure they do. pic.twitter.com/1Y36zjcOx4
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) January 30, 2022
Renowned left-wing professor and Critical Race Theorist Nikole Hannah-Jones joined the fray in denouncing the university's decision to place Shapiro on leave, expressing agreement with Jeet Heer's post, reading:
Shapiro's comments were vile but well within the parameters of academic free speech. The university is betraying fundamental principles here. https://t.co/SGB7GSDq3J
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) January 31, 2022
"I agree," Hannah-Jones tweeted.
Campus Reform has reached out to Georgetown University and the BLSA for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
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