For the second time recently, Emory Law School in Atlanta is dealing with a controversy involving a student-run organization seeking to squelch debate in the name of preventing harmful speech.
Its Student Bar Association, the law school equivalent of student government, denied a charter to the Emory Free Speech Forum (EFSF) in part based on the “lack of mechanisms in place to ensure respectful discourse and engagement” at its events, such as a moderator.
This could cause a “precarious environment” and “potential and real harm” on fraught topics such as race and gender, “when these issues directly affect and harm your peers’ lives in demonstrable and quantitative ways,” the rejection letter said.
A charter comes with eligibility for university funding and the use of university resources. Given Emory Law’s “well-established promotion of free speech values” and EFSF’s “overlap” with other chartered groups, the letter said, “we fail to see a need” to fund it.
A week earlier, three law professors pulled their essays from a forthcoming issue of the Emory Law Journal in response to student editors ordering one of them to remove “insensitive language” from a “hurtful and unnecessarily divisive” critique of the concept of systemic racism.