Senator Ted Cruz last week signed an open letter to Yale Law School, demanding that administrators punish protesters who disrupted last month's free speech event. The Texas Republican is scheduled to visit the campus on Monday night
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Senator Ted Cruz has signed an open letter to Yale Law School, calling on administrators to punish a woke mob of protesters who disrupted a debate on free speech last month. 

The letter, addressed to Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken and three associate deans, was sent on Thursday. It references what Cruz and his hundreds of co-authors authors described as the ‘deeply disturbing incident’ that took place on campus on March 10. That saw a group of some 120 students shouted down and threatened a conservative panelist during a free speech debate.

It read: ‘Instead of engaging with the panelists, a shocking number of Yale Law students hurled constant insults and obscenities at them and tried to prevent them from speaking and being heard.

‘Our nation desperately needs the next generation of attorneys, legislators, judges, and Supreme Court justices to be marked by the character and values that undergird the American legal profession and a free society.’

The letter also called on Yale to punish the mob of students for their ‘physical intimidation and menacing behavior.’ 

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Senator Ted Cruz last week signed an open letter to Yale Law School, demanding that administrators punish protesters who disrupted last month's free speech event. The Texas Republican is scheduled to visit the campus on Monday night

Senator Ted Cruz last week signed an open letter to Yale Law School, demanding that administrators punish protesters who disrupted last month’s free speech event. The Texas Republican is scheduled to visit the campus on Monday night  

Cruz, a Republican from Texas, is scheduled to visit Yale Law School at the invitation of the school’s William F Buckley Jr program on Monday night to record an episode of Verdict, the political podcast that he co-hosts.

The lawmaker is set to be met with his own protests – but has asked them to remain civil, and says he welcomes questions afterwards from people who disagree with his views. 

When Cruz’s visit was announced last week, progressive Yale Law students signaled their intention to stage another protest, arguing that the outspoken right-wing lawmaker should not be given a platform.

They claimed to be offended by Cruz’s remarks on transgenderism and his support for the theory that Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election win was ‘stolen.’ 

Besides Cruz, the letter to the leadership of Yale Law School was signed by Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, nine sitting members of the House of Representatives, five governors and 26 state attorneys general

Besides Cruz, the letter to the leadership of Yale Law School was signed by Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, nine sitting members of the House of Representatives, five governors and 26 state attorneys general

The open letter sent to the leadership of Yale Law School argued that the protesters who derailed last month’s discussion featuring attorney Kristen Waggoner by hurling ‘constant insults and obscenities’ at her and other panelists violated the school’s’ free speech policy, which bars any protest that ‘interferes with speakers’ ability to be heard and of community members to listen,’ reported Yale Daily News.

Besides Cruz, the letter was signed by Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, nine sitting members of the House of Representatives, five governors and 26 state attorneys general, along with a mishmash of various conservative leaders, including former Trump cabinet member Dr Ben Carson, and the president of the Heritage Foundation.

The signatories contended that Yale Law School administrators have failed to adequately discipline the 120 students who took part on last month’s raucous protest, during which one student was heard shouting at the female speaker: ‘I’ll fight you, b****!’  

‘Yale’s statement in response to these media reports defended the student disruptors and grossly downplayed the chaos they wrought,’ the letter stated. ‘Paradoxically, the statement also cites the university’s supposed “bedrock commitment” to free speech.’ 

On March 10, some 120 students disrupted a panel discussion featuring a conservative Christian lawyer

Protesters hurled profanities and shouted threats

On March 10, some 120 students disrupted a panel discussion featuring a conservative Christian lawyer. Protesters hurled profanities and shouted threats  

The group began rioting when the moderator introduced Waggoner (pictured)

The panel featured conservative Christian Kristen Waggoner (right), who was threatened with, ‘I’ll fight you b*tch,’ among other obscenities 

Appealing directly to Dean Gerken, the authors of the missive urged her ‘to take concrete action to correct the course of Yale Law School. Our nation desperately needs the next generation of attorneys, legislators, judges, and Supreme Court justices to be marked by the character and values that undergird the American legal profession and a free society.’ 

Waggoner, a Christian conservative lawyer from the right-wing non-profit group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), was invited to debate Monica Miller, a liberal from the American Humanist Association, about freedom of speech at Yale Law School last month.

Both the ADF and the American Humanist Association took the same side in a 2021 case involving legal remedies for First Amendment violations that was presented to the Us Supreme Court, but protesters were outraged by the ADF’s successful Supreme Court defense of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The purpose of the March 10 discussion, which was hosted by the Federalist Society, was to illustrate that a conservative Christian and a liberal atheist could find common ground on free speech issues.

Video from the event showed students threatening the guest speakers and staff, berating Waggoner, who was ultimately escorted by police officers out of the building along with the other panelist. Protesters were heard chanting ‘protect trans kids’ and ‘shame, shame’ throughout the law school campus. 

Students and professors claimed the protesters were so loud that they disrupted classes, exams and faculty meetings.

Dean Gerken later issued a statement, claiming that the protesters had been ‘spoken to’ about their ‘unacceptable’ conduct during the event, but argued that the foul-mouthed display had not actually broken the school’s free speech rules. 

Waggoner and Federalist Society President Zack Austin both criticized the Yale Laew School rabble-rousers, while US Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman recommended in an email sent to all federal judges in the nation that they consider whether students involved in the protest should be ‘disqualified for potential clerkships.’ 

The authors of the April 7 open letter urged Dean Gerken to condemn the behavior of students who took part in the March 10 protest and take ‘appropriate disciplinary actions in keeping with Yale’s free speech policies.’

They also called on the administrator to commit to inviting diverse speakers to campus, and to retract her initial statement addressing the fracas. 

‘What happened at Yale Law School on March 10, 2022 was disgraceful. But it creates an opportunity for you to send a clear message to the country about the importance of free speech and civil discourse,’ the signatories contended. 

Some Yale Law students pushed back against the conservative narrative, arguing that the letter signed by Cruz and others was nothing more than a partisan attack aimed at silencing protesters. 

‘I may have disagreed with some protesters’ approaches, but it’s absurd to frame what happened as a “woke mob” or censorship of any form,’ student Rachel Perler  told the Yale Daily News in an email. ‘Censorship is really not the same as freedom from any pushback or criticisms by the groups ADF wants to criminalize — queer and transgender students.’

The letter was made public just days before Senator Cruz’s scheduled appearance at Yale Law School after an invite by the William F. Buckley Jr. program in partnership with the Young America’s Foundation’s Irving Brown Lecture Series.

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah (right), also signed the letter, which demanded that Yale Law School enforce its policies aimed at protecting free speech

Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah (right), also signed the letter, which demanded that Yale Law School enforce its policies aimed at protecting free speech 

The Buckley program, a student-run group which promotes political programming, strives to ‘promote intellectual diversity on Yale’s campus,’ according to the Yale Daily News.

The sold-out event is expected to draw protests, raising concerns that it would be a repeat of the March 10 fiasco. 

Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement last month that the protesters had not broken the school's free speech rules

Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement last month that the protesters had not broken the school’s free speech rules

Buckley President Kevin Xiao, a junior at the ivy league school, has already found himself defending his decision to invite the Texas senator.

‘Yale students rarely have the opportunity to hear from speakers like Sen. Cruz, and listening to different perspectives in good faith fosters a healthy and lively discourse both on campus and beyond,’ he told the Yale Daily News.

He said students will have the opportunity to ask questions. Xiao added that Cruz has said he’s keen to hear questions from attendees who disagree with him, with the organizer insisting it will be healthy for students to hear from different perspectives. ‘In fact, such differences of opinion remind us of why we have free speech, especially at institutions of higher learning where the mission is the cultivation and creation of new knowledge,’ Xiao wrote in an email to the Daily News.

‘Students should be able to hear different voices, engage with them in good faith and decide for ourselves whether we agree or disagree.

‘Only through open and honest discussion can we grow and better understand our own values and beliefs,’ he added.

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