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October 5 2017

ACLU Leader Prevented from Talking about Free Speech at William and Mary

by Charlotte Hays

It's not just conservatives who risk being shut down and prevented from speaking on American campuses. Now, it's happening to the ACLU.

A speech by the American Civil Liberties Union's Claire Gastañaga was shut down at William and Mary--of which Gastañaga is an alum. Her topic: the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech. The protest reportedly was led by Black Lives Matter.

Here is a description of what happened from Robby Soave of Reason:

The disruption was livestreamed on BLM at W&M's Facebook page. Students took to the stage just a few moments after Gastañaga began her remarks. At first, she attempted to spin the demonstration as a welcome example of the kind of thing she had come to campus to discuss, commenting "Good, I like this," as they lined up and raised their signs. "I'm going to talk to you about knowing your rights, and protests and demonstrations, which this illustrates very well. Then I'm going to respond to questions from the moderators, and then questions from the audience."

The microphone eventually was given to the BLM leader who exercised First Amendment rights to deliver a prepared statement. Reportedly, the protest was because of the ACLU's defending the free speech rights of Charlottesville protesters (one can argue that, since the protest was being moved rather than shut down, the ACLU did not need to step in, but this is a matter about which people can disagree calmly).

William and Mary put out what Soave called a "tepid" statement against the silencing of Gastañaga but did not promise to find and punish those involved.

I could not tell whether the protesters were mostly from Black Lives Matter or whether there was heavy participation from students. 

I bolded two of their most alarming statements.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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