Georgia Students Shut Down Congressman in Latest “Deplatforming”

Georgia Students Shut Down Congressman in Latest “Deplatforming”

By Jonathan Turley

We have another successful “deplatforming” of a speaker at a university this week after Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) had to be removed from an event at the University of Georgia. This follows incidents discussed this week involving student protests at Tulane  and Maryland.

Rep. Collins was invited to speak on campus by the University of Georgia Turning Point USA chapter and College Republicans. His remarks, however, were drowned out by protesters screaming profanities and insults.

Collins attempted to discuss the recent death of Laken Riley, who was allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant while jogging at the University of Georgia.

One student yelled “How dare you come on this campus and exploit Laken Riley’s death to push your xenophobic, fascist, racist, agenda…people are in this country legally and your f–king cops are gonna get them arrested and deported.”

One student yelled “How dare you come on this campus and exploit Laken Riley’s death to push your xenophobic, fascist, racist, agenda…people are in this country legally and your f–king cops are gonna get them arrested and deported.”

Others just shouted profanities like “F**k you, you’re a b***h” or told the congressman to “take your white supremacist rhetoric elsewhere, your neo-nationalist rhetoric elsewhere.” Others attacked him for his support of Israel.

Some were led out of the event by police, but the coordinated interruptions succeeded and the congressman was reportedly escorted off campus.

Some groups like the College Democrats had called for protests but it is not clear whether these groups participated in the disruptions during the events.

Once again, this was done by students who were shown on videotape preventing opposing views from being spoken or heard on campus. The question is whether the University of Georgia will take steps to discipline the students and any groups who coordinated this effort. As discussed in a column this morning in the Hill, preventing free speech is not an act of free speech.

The argument that stopping free speech is free speech is nothing more than a twisted rationalization. Protesting outside of an event is an act of free speech. Entering an event to shout down or “deplatform” speakers is the denial of free speech. It is also the death knell for higher education in the United States.

The motto of the University of Georgia is Et docere et rerum exquirere causas, or “To teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” That inquiry cannot occur through a filter of screaming profanities and abuse. It is good that the university had security to remove disrupters but that is not enough. These coordinated efforts often involve students who stand up in succession to keep an event from being held.

If these “deplatformings” are to end, the university has to suspend or expel those responsible for such actions. Georgia must choose whether it will stand with free inquiry and free speech or whether it will yield to this entitled mob of speech-phobic students.


(TLB) published  this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this perspective

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Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

Header featured image (edited) credit: Class room/YouTube screen shot org. article

Emphasis added by (TLB)



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