UCLA Tramples on Students' Free Speech
Former UCLA prof Keith Fink confronts leftist fascism on campus.
Editor’s note: The following address was given at UCLA by former UCLA professor and lawyer Keith Fink who achieved great popularity on campus for lecturing on the importance of free speech. Fink was recently fired as a result of a vindictive leftist administrator, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jerry Kang. The campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom invited Fink back to campus to deliver this talk. It has been lightly edited for readability.
Professor Keith Fink:
Thank you, Young Americans for Freedom for having me. It’s always an honor to be on this campus. I’m an alumnus. I love my time at UCLA; I love my students who I had the honor of teaching for 10 years, and anything I can do, as long as I breathe, to help the UCLA students, I will do.
It’s ironic to me that UCLA is holding a Free Speech 101 event this week on the heels of UCLA terminating one of the most popular teachers on campus, and the only teacher that teaches students about the importance of free speech. And UCLA no longer is going to have the two Free Speech classes that had an undergraduate curriculum because they fired me.
If you just take a moment after this lecture to look at what Professor (Greg) Bryant says as to why they had some issues with me as a teacher – Professor (Greg) Bryant said “Fink launched into an analysis of the letter by Dean (Jerry) Kang. Fink had a provocative tone that was unfavorable towards Dean (Jerry) Kang.” Now, why should that be an issue?
On November 8, when I’m here speaking to Republicans, I’m going to spend more time talking about my situation here with my firing, but I just think it’s ironic that I’m here during Free Speech Week. I’m sure UCLA’s not too excited about that. So how do the administrators, the top administrators here, feel about free speech? I pulled two quotes to tell you what I think is emblematic of the way that UCLA has contempt for free speech in general, and students’ rights overall.
This is from March 14, 2011. Quote: “I recoil – recoil – when someone invokes the right of free expression to demean other individuals or groups. I believe that speech that expresses intolerance toward any group of people on the basis of race or gender, or sexual, religious, or cultural identify, has no place at UCLA.” Who said that? Not Chairman Mao. (Laughter). Chancellor (Gene) Block. In about 20 minutes, we’ll go over the context of how he said that.
The second quote, April 19, 2016: “But those who engage in this tactic” – tactic meaning expression by the use of posters to disseminate one’s view – “will hypocritically hide behind freedom of expression for protection.” Who said that? Dean (Jerry) Kang. Dean (Jerry) Kang is the biggest threat on this campus to students’ liberty and due process. When we go over some examples, you will see my basis for making that statement.
So in today’s speech, I want to give you time to ask me questions. So I’ve broken it down to three topics that I wanted to impart to you. One is how the First Amendment applies to UCLA; second, the exceptions to the First Amendment; and third, we will go over some concrete examples of the interplay between free speech issues at UCLA and the administration’s response. And ultimately, you can conclude for yourself whether or not UCLA owns up to its claim to protect students’ right to free expression.
Starting with the first area, many of you don’t perhaps understand this: as a student at a public university, you have First Amendment protections. That includes your right to free expression, free speech and free assembly. Because the State of California believes so strongly in the right to free expression, those who are not as fortunate as you and had to go matriculate in the school not in Westwood, but in Watts 9 miles away, they have the same rights that you do. That is not because it’s a public school, but because California adopted a law called the Leonard Law some years ago. So students at USC have rights co-extensive with rights at UCLA, rights to free expression.
This right to free expression has very few limits. There is no hate speech exception; there is no micro-aggression exception; there’s no safe space exception to the First Amendment. Schools that enact civility codes, that make proclamations prohibiting any speech or conduct which is not civil or uncivil —those are illegal. And every time a school has enacted those provisions, they have been struck down.
There is a case that I want to mention to you that is probably the seminal case in the area of free speech for college students, and I think it underscores the principles I’m going to go over tonight. The case is called Papish vs. the University of Missouri. In this case, there was a graduate student at the school who was protesting a decision made in a trial where a police officer was exonerated in the claim of using excessive force.
The student distributed a cartoon of a policeman raping the Statue of Liberty and the Goddess of Justice. There was a caption under the cartoon that said, “With liberty and justice for all.” And there was no article in the paper, “the mother fucker acquitted.” This type of speech, I guess if you had to label it left or right, you’d probably put it on the left. It was a student trying to advocate that the decision made as a result of police abuse was wrong.
The Supreme Court said the following: “The mere dissemination of ideas, no matter how offensive to good taste, on a state university campus, may not be shut off in the name alone of conventions of decency.” Take that quote and compare it to the quote I gave you at the beginning from Chancellor (Gene) Block – it’s diametrically opposed – and Chancellor (Gene) Block in his position, even though he’s not a lawyer, he should know what the law is in this seminal case on free speech in a public school, that mere conventions to decency are not a reason to fetter students’ rights of free speech.
In fact, I can tell you when I was a student here, it was a radically different environment than the environment that you are now seeing. I’ll tell you the one instance that still, 40 years later, was a great experience of my life. The speaker was Stokely Carmichael. Stokely Carmichael changed his name to Kwame Ture. He was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. We had Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Dr. King. They had different views, different ways that they thought the civil rights ball could be moved forward. Stokely Carmichael was a lightning bolt; he believed in black power. Stokely Carmichael had virulent anti-Semitic views.
UCLA hosted his speech, just like tonight’s speech. Stokely Carmichael came on campus. His speech was largely attended by black students and in my memory, I think, there were three white students or three white people. I was one, Professor Miller was the second; I don’t remember who the third was. It was a tremendous event even though I disagreed with virtually everything he had to say. He crystalized my own views; my own views were tested. And over and above that, I thought he was a tremendous speaker. I really commend you to go take a look at Stokely Carmichael’s speeches; I think you will find him to be an amazing speaker.
My point is that back then, there was no problem on the UCLA campus in having somebody with views like this, very hated views by many; no problem in having him deliver his speech. Students acted professionally in letting him speak and I probably, knowing myself, asked him some kind of contentious issue at the end because we had contentious issues at the end. That was UCLA when I was a student.
Now let me get into the very limited exceptions to free speech. This is very important for you to have as you cross-check in your 4 years at UCLA, the king of the cross-check, Chancellor (Jerry) Kang, because when free speech issues come up, you will see, I believe, (Jerry) Kang or (Gene) Block or other administrators try to fetter students’ rights by using the very limited exceptions to free speech on campus.
The first exception to free speech is a true threat. A true threat of illegal conduct is prohibited and it’s not protected by free expression. For example, you cannot walk up to another student and say, “I am going to kill you.” It’s illegal; it’s a true threat. You cannot say at an airport, “I am going to bomb this place.” That’s a true threat. That is not hate speech; that is a true threat of illegal conduct.
Here are some cases for you to think about in the context of understanding what a true threat is. The first case is called Watts vs. The United States. This is a case from 1969. Watts was a young, black man during the protest over the Vietnam War. He said the following: “They always holler at us to get an education. If they ever made me carry a rifle, the first man I’d get in my sights is LBJ. [LBJ] was President Johnson. Is that a true threat? No, it’s hyperbole. It’s protected speech. And the Supreme Court protected Watt’s speech in that case, even though it said it might be crude or it might be offensive.
The second case to think about is called NAACP vs. Claiborne. This case dealt with a field secretary of the NAACP, Charles Evers, and was an attempt to hold him civilly liable. He gave a speech advocating the boycott of certain white-owned businesses, and he said the following: “If we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, we’re going to break your goddamn neck.” In that case again, the Supreme Court said that didn’t constitute a true threat.
And the final case that I would commend you to look at is the most recent case probably, Virginia vs. Black. In that case, the Supreme Court invalidated a portion of the law which proscribed any type of cross burning, even if the cross burning occurred in an area dominated by African Americans.The test there – and this is a very limited test – true threats encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.
In about 10 minutes, we are going to examine an instance of students or outside people, hosting political messages on campus. And you will see how Dean (Jerry) Kang uses this very limited true threat to try to stifle students’ free speech.
The second exception to free speech is obscenity. I don’t know if any of you have taken legal classes here; if you have, I’m sure you’ve gone over the case Miller vs. California. That case creates a three-part test. Speech taken as a whole is obscenity if it appeals to the prurient interest, describes sexual conduct, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. This is very important to know the limit here, sexual conduct. If students are making a movie that – you guys like the “Saw” series and now you’re in an art class and you’re making “BuzzSaw” and he was talking about chopping people up—that’s not sexual. You could say, “Well, that’s obscene” having somewhat of a snuff-type film. That is not sexual. So this is a very limited standard for obscenity which must appeal to the prurient interest, describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
Now, you will hear administrators say quite often of a speech they don’t like, “This speech is obscene.” It may be obscene in the lay term, but it isn’t obscene as it applies to the limited exception of obscenity as defined in the law.The biggest example where I’ve seen UCLA use the obscenity exception happened about 25 years ago and dealt with fraternities having a songbook.
At least 25 years, in 1992, there was a songbook and the song lyrics were pretty graphic. If I was a faculty advisor, I would’ve been deeply saddened that the students would have this type of gender animus towards women as they did – the lyrics were not funny. But somebody found the lyric book and then it got disseminated and, again, people glossed over that the students, no matter how offensive the speech is, they have a right to articulate their speech.
The third exception to free speech is incitement. Incitement intended to and likely to produce imminent illegal conduct. Again, this is very narrow; this is not hate speech. On a university campus at UCLA you can say, “All gays should be killed.” Now, should you say that? That’s not for me to say, but you can say, “All gays should be killed.” That is not incitement. What you can’t do is you can’t say, “Let’s go and kill that guy there wearing a shirt that says, ‘I support gay rights.’” That is incitement.
You can say at UCLA, “It’s time for revolution.” What you can’t say is, “The next hour, let’s go to the armory on Wall Street and then let’s have an insurrection at the post office.” That’s incitement.You can say at UCLA, “Slavery is good.” You can say, “Affirmative action is bad.” I’m not telling you that it’s wise to say this or that it’s right to say this. All I’m telling you is that you can say it and it doesn’t constitute incitement.What you can’t say is, “Look at the black guy there. Let’s go and take him by a chain and drag him behind a car.” That is incitement; that type of speech is prohibited.
The fourth exception to free speech is fighting words. Fighting words generally is a dead letter. The seminal case on this is called Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire. It’s from about 75 years ago. A Jehovah’s Witness was trying to distribute literature in the streets. A cop interacted with him and he said to the cop, “You are a goddamn racketeer and a damn fascist.” That case has not been overruled. If you look at a case called Gooding vs. Wilson, where a police officer was told by somebody, “White son of a bitch, I’ll kill you. You son of a bitch, I’ll choke you to death. I’ll cut you to pieces.” In that case, the Supreme Court did not find it to be fighting words. The Supreme Court said, “Speech that is vulgar or offensive, is protected.” So that means, vulgar kinds of speech do not constitute fighting words. Fighting words usually are direct; used directly to somebody saying something that will imminently lead to, or necessarily cause, that person to strike you.
I think it’s arguable, in my mind, that the use of the “N” word would provoke such a response. Perhaps you’d have to look at the context. But the fighting words exception is extremely limited and universities all over the country try and use the fighting word doctrine to justify suppression of students’ free speech rights.
The fifth exception to free speech is harassment. UCLA uses this a lot. They like to toss around the term “It’s harassing, it’s harassing.” Harassment in the legal sense, in the context of UCLA, of a university, was defined in a case called Davis vs. Monroe County. I used to teach here and I used to go over this case. It’s very important for you to know how limited harassment law is. The conduct must be the following: It must be severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive and must so undermine and detract from the victim’s educational experience that the victim’s students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities.
The beginning words alone are enough to tell you how watered-down harassment law is. It has to be severe, pervasive and objectively offensive. Words, symbols and points of view don’t constitute harassment as prescribed by the law.
I didn’t go over a few other exceptions. I don’t think they’re germane to tonight’s talk, like vandalism, extortion, libel, child porn. Those also are not protected by the First Amendment. Disruption also is not protected by the First Amendment, which I find very interesting.
Disruption is not protected by the First Amendment. Yet, when there are speeches at universities, such as UCLA, and Heather MacDonald is the prime example, and students are in the audience interrupting the speaker after the 32-minute mark of Ms. MacDonald’s speech. Students started snapping their fingers and then eight of them came up strong in front of the speaker and didn’t allow her to speak. Because it was a conservative speaker, there was nobody at UCLA to come in to stop the disruption. Those students should have been disciplined for interrupting a lawful assembly. Disruption is not permissible on a university campus.
Note that I didn’t mention hate speech as an exception to the First Amendment because there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. And shame on those who organized free speech this week by suggesting that we need to have a safe space, we need to have a brave space and we need to have a space that guarantees no disrespectful conduct, no hateful statements. That is not a university campus.
Let me give you some examples. In this country you have a right to burn a flag. For many Americans, all you need to do is follow Colin Kaepernick in football. For many Americans, the most hateful thing one can do is burn a flag, but this country has made such a deep commitment to free speech that we allow people to burn flags.I don’t know if there’s anything more solemn than burying a fallen soldier, someone that’s gone to war to fight for this country.
The Westboro Baptist Church is another specific case. They were allowed to come during the funeral of a fallen soldier and hold up signs reading, “God hates fags.” That’s because the First Amendment is that important. You could say that is hate speech, but not in the constitutional sense.
Here is a final example I’ll tell you about to demonstrate how important free speech is, and that there’s no hate speech exception. You probably all know about it. It concerns a music band, The Slants.This came down within the last year. In that case, the Supreme Court decided that you cannot prohibit The Slants from getting a trademark and using a name that many people may find offensive and hateful.
Here’s what the Supreme Court said within the last year: “A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an egregious form of content discrimination which is presumptively unconstitutional. A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on substantial safeguards and free and open discussion in a democratic society.”
This issue of free speech to me, this is not a political issue. I know the Young Americans for Freedom are hosting this event; it is not a left and right issue. I went over some examples for you. The first case I told you about, Papish vs. the University of Missouri, that was a graduate student talking about misconduct. The case before that was Healy vs. James, where there was somebody from Students for a Democratic Society that was having her rights fettered.
If you recall, at some point in time in our society, civil rights wasn’t something that the majority of Americans wanted. But because we have the right to freedom of expression, those that were advocating for civil rights, no matter that the majority of Americans didn’t believe in that; they were allowed to articulate their position. If you remember during the Vietnam War, it wasn’t the government’s position that those who were against the Vietnam War should have a right to speak, but those who were against the Vietnam War because of the First Amendment, had a right to speak against the Vietnam War. This is not a left or a right issue.
Let’s take these principles, general principles of the First Amendment, and now you know the exceptions. Now let’s see if UCLA actually meets the test. I think they pay lip service, at best, to the First Amendment, but let’s see by looking at examples. The first one I chose because of Hobbes and Locke and Rousseau and Kant – I’m mentioning a lot of dead white guys, right? That’s actually probably triggering to many students. But these were some of the seminal thinkers of higher ed when I was a student here and I recommend that you read them.
But college is not just about reading the great minds of the Western world, true? You want to interact with other students, and part of college is partying. Only Scrooge would tell you it’s not a party, right?
So let me tell you about an incident that happened two years ago. I know some of you are freshmen and sophomores and maybe you don’t know about this. There was a Kanye Western party at UCLA.This happened with a fraternity and sorority. Students dressed up as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. They wore baggy pants, dressed as miners in connection with the gold-digger song. Some students immediately saw these photos. Immediately, this party was deemed racist. These students were dressed in black face.
Now, what is the university’s response to this incident? It’s an immediate response. Without affording students due process, immediately the response is to suspend the students. Let me read you the quotes from the two henchmen here, which I mentioned at the beginning.
First is from Chancellor (Gene) Block; October 9, 2015, “The party, quote, included some people dressing up as exaggerated racial stereotypes. This left many African-American students feeling mocked and disrespected. Even if that was not the intent of the party-goers, it should not have been hard to foresee this would be the reaction. This was poor judgement and I, too, was offended.”
Now, let me get this right. The First Amendment means something at UCLA. Freedom of expression means something at UCLA. Why isn’t there a single mention of the importance of free expression in Chancellor (Gene) Block’s statement? How does he even know it’s exaggerated racial stereotypes? Did he talk to the fraternity and sorority members? Did he dig down to see if it was black soot on their faces or actually gold? I don’t think he did.
Now what about Dean (Jerry) Kang? What was his comment on this? Quote, “What’s tiresome is that these incidents follow the same worn script. Some students decided to celebrate using caricatures. Students of color are [stunned] and protest. Universities respond or don’t. The accused deny the accusation or express puzzlement why anyone has taken offense. Next they show remorse, or don’t. Pundits push back.
“Complaining about oversensitivity, political [practice] gone wild and the First Amendment. Anonymous hate mail, tweets, comments and even death threats explode on all sides. Eventually, some resolution, often unsatisfying, is cobbled together. Things recede slowly to normal until the next party season at the next university; rinse and repeat.”
That’s right, rinse and repeat, because you have a right to party. You have a right to have parties that the outside world may deem offensive and this has been set forth in the law for years. The case I would commend you to read is Iota Chi vs. George Mason University. In this case, there was an ugly women contest held at George Mason University. There’s Taco Fiesta events, hoes and bros; there’s all sorts of these types of sophomoric events at college just because they’re a party. There’s some kind of a theme, I don’t know, the Fiji Tiki party can offend some people.
Anyway, in this case, the court held that the ugly women contest, even though offensive to some, is really protected by the First Amendment. And why is that? That is because costumes convey a message; costumes are a form of expression. And secondly, the First Amendment protects offensive speech and racist speech.
So these statements made by the administrators here were flat wrong. They didn’t dig down to the facts. The suspension violated the students’ rights of due process and it also violated the students’ First Amendment rights. That’s example number one.
The second example is the most near and dear to my heart, though not because I know this student at all and I don’t particularly care for her speech. This is Angela Wallace. I don’t think any of you know about her, because you were probably in junior high school. Here’s a little 10 seconds of Angela Wallace.
Quote from Angela Wallace:
Is their manners, which brings me to my next point. Hi, in America, we don’t talk on our cellphones in the library, where every 5 minutes, I will be – okay, not 5 minutes; say, like 15 minutes. I’ll be like deep into my studying, into my political science theories and arguments and all that stuff, getting it all down, typing away furiously, blah, blah, blah.
And then all of the sudden, when I’m about to reach an epiphany, over here from somewhere, “Oh! [imitating Chinese language], Oh!” Are you frigging kidding me? In the middle of finals week. So being the polite, nice American girl that my mama raised me to be, I kind of just gave him what anybody else would do, that kind of like, “You know, it’s a library; like we’re trying to study. Thanks.” And then it’s the same thing 5 minutes later, but it’s somebody else. I swear, any – I know” –
This was part of a less-than-3-minute rant posted on YouTube. Sadly, she was a poli-sci major. I was a poli-sci major. I was attending class when I was a student here. It was worse than sophomoric; it was foolish, idiotic, statements, 2 ½ minutes. Then she doubled down on her stupidity and she posted it on YouTube. I happen to know about this. Most of you don’t know me. I spend half my life when I’m not teaching in Asia; I live in China.
So folks that know me, especially my Asian friends, were asking, “Can you believe what happened at your school?” My whole identity is tied to UCLA. No, I didn’t know what was happening and, sadly, nobody contacted me that it was my student. All they could tell me about was the injustice that was happening to Angela Wallace.
They’d say, “That’s strange, okay, because you don’t really like her speech. Is that right?” That’s right, I don’t really like what she had to say. Again, if she was my student, my child, I would be saddened that I didn’t inculcate her with a value system or knowledge that gave her a different view set. In fact, she was so stupid, and she’s a poli-sci major.
Chinese and Japanese are different. “Ching Chong” Chinamen have nothing to do with the Tsunami. She just blended everything together. What happened at UCLA and here, it happened again. The first quote I gave you was the administration’s response. Chancellor (Gene) Block recoils when someone invokes the right to free expression. Montero from UCLA says, “UCLA officials are appalled and offended by the sentiments.”
The students who actually did something wrong and should’ve been disciplined were those that gave death threats to this student. That’s upside-down. The administration’s response was wrong; the students’ response was wrong; and the Daily Bruin response was wrong.You would think of all the entities that would get it right, it would be the Daily Bruin, but the Daily Bruin seems to get it wrong quite often when it comes to free speech.
The one voice that stood for Ms. Wallace – can you guess who that was? Me. You can look back in the Daily Bruin and see a quote from Fink. “She did not violate the law. Punishing her would be [contra] to constitutional mandates. Comments, while foolish, are not a valid claim for peer-on-peer harassment.”
Remember I showed you the law on harassment. Did she direct that speech towards anyone? The answer to that is no. Is it severe or pervasive conduct? Of course it’s not. It’s a 2-minute rant directed towards nobody.
You saw the test. Does it impede the educational opportunities of any students here? No, it doesn’t come close to harassment. That was the beginning of the end for me. Remember, I am an alum at this school. I am the most decorated. I spent all my time in debate; I won three national collegiate debate champions. My heart and soul I gave to the school. And they hired me back because I was such a good student and they had no problem with me as a professor until I started to stand up for students’ rights. This was the first instance that I came out of the closet.
I came out of the closet to say that if you’re a student and your rights are trampled, even if I don’t agree with your speech, I have your back. How do I know this? Because I was asked by a student of mine to give a speech called, “Know Your Rights.” It happened to be raining that day. But not that many people came because it was raining. I asked everybody in the audience, “Look, I talk to myself all the time. Why did you come tonight?”
Two people came from the Dean of Students office. They were spying on me. They were spying on me right on the heels of my comments in defense of Angela Wallace and they had the temerity to leave in the middle of my speech when I didn’t change. I probably ratcheted up my comments, my views towards UCLA and free speech rights. That’s the Angela Wallace situation. Again, I think that UCLA hasn’t come close to upholding students’ rights in that instance.
The third area in which UCLA has not protected free expression is in regard to posters. Now I’ll first start with these posters of MSA and SJP. To me, the issue is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether I like the message, or I don’t like the message. To me, that’s completely irrelevant. This is a form of political speech, of political advocacy. I believe these posters were originally put out by somebody named David Horowitz. David Horowitz, who is against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement; he’s extremely pro-Israel. He’s a pretty incendiary speaker. At one time, he was a liberal and now he’s a conservative.
So he first put out these posteres. I guess you could say the first round of posters were rather tame. And then there was a cross-check by UCLA and then he kind of doubled down or tripled down, because he then put up “Wanted” posters listing names of students that were in MSA and SJP. What did that then trigger? That then triggered a second cross-check by Dean (Jerry) Kang. I’d like to stop and say, “Wait a minute. What’s the problem? This is political speech on a university campus. It’s the marketplace of ideas. If you don’t like this type of speech, the answer is to have counter speech.”
To me, that’s not what the university’s response was. This is a cross-check dialog over demagoguery. I see it the other way around – demagoguery over dialog, the way I see it. This is on 4/19/2016.
At the very end, Dean (Jerry) Kang says the following in his anger towards these posters: “Third, we will deploy all lawful resources to counter any harassment.” Harassment, how is this close to harassment? I’ve shown you what the law is on harassment, or intimidation? “We will deploy all lawful resources.”
Assuming you guys read what’s sent out by the chancellor and the dean, if I was you, I would be scared. This type of threat chills free speech on a university campus. I couldn’t believe the words that he chose. But he knew exactly the words that he chose because he was trying to intimidate the students.
Then he said, to be clear, “These posters are violating university policy. Regardless of content, UCLA has a neutral time, place and manner restriction on unauthorized graffiti and the like.” He then goes on to say, “In addition, the 9th Circuit of Appeals filed an opinion, the Nuremberg Files website, Planned Parenthood vs. the American Coalition of Life Activists makes clear that the closer any postings get to a true threat, the easier it will be to officially penalize.”
He then says—I can’t help but notice the irony here—“The entire point of black lists is to chill speech but those who engage in this tactic will hypocritically hide behind freedom of expression for protection.” Here he is again giving lip service to free expression.
But what’s most troubling to me here is the complete dishonesty of Dean (Jerry) Kang in conveying to you, as students, the law. And Dean (Jerry) Kang is extremely smart; he has two Harvard degrees. He absolutely knows what the law is on true threats. The case that he cites to you has nothing to do with this poster.
The case that he cites, trying to analogize this to a true threat, has to deal with anti-abortionists. There were folks that put up anti-abortion websites. And every time somebody was murdered, they had “Wanted” posters. Every time somebody was murdered, they were checked off. On the anti-abortion website, they had dead fetuses; they had blood dripping. The facts of that case are not even close to this simple poster; the poster is no different than a cartoon and a handbill – typical political advocacy.
But I leave it up to you to go look at the case that he cites and look at the posters. Even though you’re not lawyers, you determine whether or not you think he’s being intellectually honest. Now, none of you know the law and without you doing that type of check, you would think reading this, it sounds perhaps reasonable. But to me, it’s not a true threat.
The next example of the posters—this happened within the last year or two. These were, I think, four Republicans. I can’t believe we have four Republicans at UCLA, but apparently, four Republicans came out of the closet. And they came out of the closet, I believe, at Santa Barbara, and you can see here, they’re demonstrating with posters saying, “Get your agenda out of my restroom. There are only two genders. Transgenderism is a mental disorder.”
Again, to me, it’s irrelevant whether or not you agree with the message or disagree with the message. The point here is these students have a right to free expression. The first thing that comes to my mind is, why would Dean (Jerry) Kang or UCLA weigh in on speech that is not even occurring on campus? This is all campus speech. What gives them the right to monitor your speech on campus, number one?
Of course, this triggered a cross-check from Dean Kang. So I suggest that you read this cross-check. To me, this cross-check is pretty maddening on a number in things that he says. He says: “We will, of course, respond to true threats and harassment to the full extent of the law.” Here he is again using his billy club to the full extent of the law, and how is this a true threat? Who are these students threatening with the poster? How is this harassment as defined in the law of harassment that I gave you from Davis vs. Monroe?
He then says that, “The conduct of these students is cruel.” Well, how is it cruel? These students have a position I think, in the context of a political issue, as to whether or not North Carolina or other states should enact separate bathrooms or have unisex bathrooms.
And then lastly, in this cross-check, I don’t know the fault in logic. Those of you who are philosophy majors can tell me. He somehow equates this type of advocacy with the deaths of transgender people. Okay. So here I think UCLA again falls short on dealing with posters.
I have one more example I want to give you. Anyone know Danny Siegel? I never met Danny Siegel until I went on Tucker Carlson and then I went on Tucker Carlson and, oh, so many students wanted to come and sit in my class that weren’t even in my class.
So Danny Siegel came to my class last year, he sat in my class. He was the president of the student Council. Then I had lunch a few times with Danny and Danny is on the left side of the equation. He’s a very smart kid, a nice kid, I liked him a lot.
The last week, I believe, of his presidency, this picture came out. There’s a photo of Danny Siegel. What did Danny Siegel do wrong? It’s the same things all you guys do; everybody takes a selfie. All you millenials take selfies all the time. If you take my class, I can go over social media and the problem with social media. He took a selfie, all right? Danny Siegel seemed to me to be a real sincere kid, a good kid, with a liberal agenda, wanting to help people.
So he took a photo one time and he flagged the gang symbol. I think he was just joking; I don’t believe he had any malicious intent. Somebody then found Danny’s photo and for political capital, exploited the photo during the election. My view is that the student that I was upset about here was that student who invaded Danny’s privacy. Then this came out and nobody supported Danny Siegel. Immediately, Danny Siegel gets pummeled by everybody – by the student newspaper, by the students, by the administration.
And sadly, Danny got bad advice; he didn’t speak to me soon enough. He should’ve never apologized for what he did, but he apologized just like [Alexandra] Wallace was forced to apologize; just like the fraternity members were forced to apologize. He then apologized, which hurt himself even more then. Apologize for what? By apologizing, it seemed to suggest that he did something wrong. Well, that’s Danny Siegel and his poster. I didn’t see anybody in the administration, maybe I like like his flashing, maybe I don’t like his flashing. But I am consistent, Danny Siegel has a right to express himself and we should support that.
The next area I wanted to go over is on-campus speakers. How does UCLA do on-campus speakers? Just recently, Milo was supposed to speak here on February 2 of 2017 and was canceled. And why was Milo canceled? I personally don’t like Milo Yiannopoulus; I like having speakers on both sides come to campus, both conservative and liberal because I believe in intellectual pluralism; I am so lucky, as I say, to have gone and seen Stokely Carmichael when I was a student here.
My college debate partner was Gloria Allred’s daughter, a very famous lawyer in her own right. She was on the liberal end; I was on the conservative end. I believe we should have intellectual pluralism. Milo, I view as a provocateur and Ann Coulter may [be the same], and he’s really good for his own brand. If students what to have him come, he should come. UCLA should provide enough security. On February 2, 2017, his event was canceled.
Worse I think is Heather MacDonald. Heather MacDonald – I don’t label her as a provocateur at all. She is an intellectual. But Heather MacDonald came to speak. Heather MacDonald is pretty much a supporter that Blue Lives Matter. Now, Blue Lives Matter, that doesn’t mean that black lives don’t matter. That doesn’t mean that Heather MacDonald supports police abuse, not at all. Anyway, Heather MacDonald came to speak and sure enough, UCLA did not provide Ms. MacDonald with sufficient security. You have the photo here, so in the middle of her speech, students are snapping their fingers. I don’t even get this.
Those students who want to have effective advocacy, the “Hey-ho, Heather MacDonald’s got to go,” snapping your fingers, that’s not persuasive advocacy if you want to move people against Heather MacDonald’s position. So this is what is called a heckler’s veto. Students do not have the right to impede listeners from hearing what Ms. MacDonald had to say. So UCLA, to me, completely fell short of that. They should’ve had security for the event and these students, they should’ve been taken up on disciplinary charges.
Very last point. I think that what I told you has occurred from the top, has trickled down and seeped into the entire curriculum at UCLA. Now I don’t know how many teachers were like me. On my syllabus, I’m very clear there is no safe space because in the real world, it infantilizes students to say they have a safe space. In the real world, it ain’t safe; in the real world, there are winners and losers. In the real world, you can be fired without any cause and my classes have no trigger warnings.
So here’s a syllabus. Can you believe this? This is a UCLA class. Okay. Let’s go over this slowly because remember, I only have a public education. (Laughter). “But since this class will teach on sensitive issues. You must bear in mind that we will under NO” – I’m glad the teacher capitalized “no” because had the teacher not capitalized no, perhaps you would’ve thought it was yes. But “under no circumstances, tolerate hateful language.”
I don’t know what hateful language is. Hateful language – is it Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve? If you wear a shirt like that, is that hateful language? Is having a bake sale saying you’re against affirmative action, is that hateful language? I don’t know. “Hateful language, feedback or behavior initiated in bad faith.” Now wait a minute, what does that mean? If you initiate the behavior in good faith that is hateful, that it will then be tolerated? Including acts of racism? I don’t know what an act of racism is. Is supporting President Trump, is that an act of racism? Homophobia? Well, I guess maybe you could say those in the transgender photo – that could be homophobia.
Sexism? Let’s see. By saying that rape statistics on a campus are inflating, is that sexist? By saying that students should be afforded due process rights and Title 9 hearings is that sexist? I don’t know. Sexism and class elitism, this is typical I think of what’s going on on a university campus.
This came out last year. Of course, it was just so traumatic to be a student at UCLA last year in the event of Donald Trump winning the election. What would you millennials [do] when you got out in the real world? Crying towels, you need time off to take exams? So Dean Gomez, this is the same Dean Gomez that decided my fate. This is the same Dean Gomez that determined with no explanation, that I’m not fit or qualified to be a teacher at UCLA.
So the same Dean Gomez, who I also listed as biased, but they still allowed her to decide on my fate, she was handing out thousand-dollar candy canes to teachers who put together anti-Trump forces. To me, the best is Gender 19, bullied by Trump’s tweets. Now, why wasn’t anybody offering me $1,000? America is great; Trump is going to make America greater. I don’t know. Then that is a real progressive agenda that UCLA wants to push.