- Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) tangled with UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh yesterday over whether universities had a responsibility to handle security for controversial speakers.
- Feinstein repeatedly appeared to suggest that universities should always be able to cancel speakers if they expect an event to result in violence, while Volokh countered that local police forces should step in to ensure order.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned Tuesday whether universities across the country should risk hosting controversial speakers if they have the potential to spark violent protests.
...“The handling of it, means that you have resources to be able to send and those resources know what to do.
And particularly for the public university, and particularly for the University of California, there is a constant battle with the legislature over money.
So the resources are not always what they might be,” she added.
Eugene Volokh, a distinguished professor of law at UCLA...
“If we are in a position where our police departments are unable to protect free speech, whether it’s universities or otherwise, then yes, indeed, we are in a very bad position,” he added.
...Volokh, however, insisted that despite such rare exceptions, the government still maintains a presumptive responsibility to assist the university in protecting the First Amendment.
“It’s not just the university it’s the government.
It’s the job of the government.
I am not the big believer of large jobs for the government, but one important job of the government is to prevent violence and to prevent violence without suppressing free speech,” he contended..."