by James A. Bacon

Four students who participated in the pro-Gaza encampment protest May 4 are complaining that the University of Virginia is withholding their degrees pending the outcome of University Judiciary Committee hearings into their cases.

Go ahead and berate me for my cold, cold heart but I feel zero sympathy for their plight. When you engage in civil disobedience — the protesters defied repeated orders to break up the encampment — you take the consequences.

In this instance, it appears that the consequences have been exceptionally light: Local lefty prosecutors have declined to press charges against a single protester in the municipal courts. The problem is that school is out and the student judiciary is not in session, and it may not be able to adjudicate university complaints until students return in August.

The Daily Progress article exudes sympathy for the four protesters, among 11 whose fates are in limbo, because they can’t get a sheepskin. It is difficult, the newspaper avers, “to find work in a job market in which employers often require a bachelor’s degree.”

Maybe they should have thought about that when they defied repeated warnings to disperse their gathering. But, no, we live in an era in which vast swaths of the population, especially those on the ideological left, feel entitled to consequence-free conduct.

“I did everything to fulfill my degree,” Cady de la Cruz, told The Daily Progress, which helpfully added that she is a “first-generation college student,” as if her socioeconomic status should make a difference. “The only reason UVA has stalled the process is to make an example out of me.”

It’s good to see that UVA administrators are showing some backbone. Complaints against the students were filed by Donovan Golich and Elizabeth Ortiz, both employees of UVa’s Division of Student Affairs.

“Students would not face trial, and degrees would not be withheld if Ortiz and Golich withdrew their complaints,” states The Daily Progress.

Of course, the students would not face their predicament if they’d dispersed May 4.

I don’t often find myself in agreement with UVA President Jim Ryan, but he made a legitimate point when defending his decision to have police break up the encampment. There is a long tradition in America, he said, of civil disobedience, of breaking the law in order to make a point. Moral authority comes from the fact that protesters are willing to accept punishment as a sign of commitment to their cause.

Today’s protesters want to defy authority and suffer no punishment. 

As for the “dozens of faculty members,” referred to in the article, who urged Student Affairs to drop their complaints against the 11, they have no shame. Not one raised a finger in defense of Morgan Bettinger when she was dragged before the student judiciary on the basis of fabricated allegations, was required to perform community service, was subjected to other acts of penance, and was unable to clear her record until she filed a lawsuit against the University. She couldn’t get on with her life either — for some two years, not one summer. That was a genuine injustice, and not a single faculty member spoke out.

If it weren’t for double standards, as the saying goes, those people would have no standards at all.

James A. Bacon is contributing editor to The Jefferson Council. The views expressed here are his own.

 


Share this article



ADVERTISEMENT

(comments below)



ADVERTISEMENT

(comments below)


Comments

37 responses to “Somebody Call a Waaambulance!”

  1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    TJC: “UVa must never take action to stifle the free and open exercise of First Amendment rights on campus… unless we don’t like what is being said, of course…”

    1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
      f/k/a_tmtfairfax

      Putting up tents and refusing to remove them from University property is not protected speech. They could have picketed and, with University approval, received a permit to do more. But they didn't and, thus, violated University policy and various laws.

      When action goes beyond protected speech, there are consequences. For example, the DoJ has regularly prosecuted people blocking entrances to abortion clinics under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

      So, shouldn't we have equal enforcement of these types of laws? Go beyond protected speech and suffer the consequences.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “Putting up tents and refusing to remove them from University property is not protected speech.”

        Ummm… not so sure about that but if it is not, it should result in a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge (apparently it did not which pretty much says that this was protected speech). What is happening administratively via the University sure smacks of retribution and looks to be designed to stifle the student’s 1st amendment rights. I hope a law firm comes along and files suit for them. Would be a pretty good case to observe.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        I don't disagree but was curious when the "no encampment" rule was formalized? Was it there already before these protests?

        And yes , equal enforcement of the laws and rules. no question!

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Not just equal enforcement, but protection too.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            yes.

      3. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        And…the people protesting the abortion entrances are not threatening, intimidating, yelling at – they are singing hymns. They get years in prison…
        Come on great defenders of free speech – where are you?
        (I mean besides your usual Greek theater role)

        1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          The Operation Rescue folk physically blockaded access to abortion clinics in direct violation of federal law which made that action unlawful. They weren’t arrested for singing hymns.

        2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          The Operation Rescue folk physically blockaded access to abortion clinics in direct violation of federal law which made that action unlawful. They weren’t arrested for singing hymns.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            easy search on google about abortion protestors and their tactics… which are not always "peaceful".

          2. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            The people in the recent cases have done nothing like blocking access, which is the basis of the likely unConstitutional law. Since you are all law and order now, I guess we can, I guess we can pass a law prohibiting Israel protests on college campuses, right?

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            I have seen no cases where abortion protesters were sent to jail for simply praying as you contend. And are you saying you want to pass such a law… again the dichotomy in your position is getting to be jaw dropping…

          4. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            You haven’t seen them because you slurp up the propaganda and regurgitate from trusted sources like BSDNC…
            And I am not saying that. Which you already know. I am saying why aren’t you protesting that? Don’t they have a right to protest? UNlike the colleges time, manner, place restrictions, the FACE act is really just aimed at abortion protesters – it is prohibiting a certain kind of speech. Again, where are you great defender of free speech?
            https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/federal-judge-sentences-4-anti-abortion-activists-for-a-2021-tennessee-clinic-blockade/ar-BB1pmXb2
            https://nypost.com/2024/06/06/us-news/elderly-pro-life-activist-75-sentenced-to-prison-after-abortion-clinic-demonstration/
            https://www.facebook.com/dennygreen/videos/10164856272565537
            The DOJ goes out of its way to prosecute some people, but not others.
            It’s wrong. But it is what Communists/Marxists the BAMN crowd do…

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            In all cases, they were blockading the entrance to the clinic. The students were arrests for setting up tents. Nothing more. Sorry you can’t see the difference.

            ”The DOJ goes out of its way to prosecute some people, but not others.”

            Now you want the DOJ to prosecute UVa students for camping on the Lawn… unreal…

            Oh, and I just saw this: “…which is the basis of the likely unConstitutional law…” So, Walt you believe that physically blockading abortion clinics is protected speech… surely you then believe the UVa student camp was protected as well… maybe there is hope after all…

          6. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Troll – proving he isn’t as smart as he is…just the parrot repeating what he is told.
            There is selective prosecution. That is a fact. Lefties get to commit crimes with no consequences.
            Righties get prosecuted for non-crimes, invented crimes, and unConstitutional crimes. The FACE act prohibits particular speech. People protesting abortion. In theory, it says clinics. In reality it has been enforced only against abortion protesters. And now prosecuted ridiculously by the tolerant, authoritarian, dictatorial Left. Waste someone else’s time Troll.

      4. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “Putting up tents and refusing to remove them from University property is not protected speech.”

        Ummm… not so sure about that but if it is not, it should result in a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge (apparently it did not which pretty much says that this was protected speech). What is happening administratively via the University sure smacks of retribution and looks to be designed to stifle the student’s 1st amendment rights. I hope a law firm comes along and files suit for them. Would be a pretty good case to observe.

        1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
          f/k/a_tmtfairfax

          This is a silly argument. The anti-abortion protestors were blocking access to a building to which people have a right to enter. Anti-Israel protestors were blocking access to spaces and buildings to which people have a right to enter.

          The government has a right to regulate the time, manner and location of speech. One can picket a county hospital but not in the Emergency Room. Government cannot enforce rules based on whether or not it likes the views being expressed.

          Many of the universities were gutless and should have filed criminal charges but didn't. Every school has rules, including rules for graduating with a degree.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            “Congress shall make no law… abridging freedom of speech.”

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            “Anti-Israel protestors were blocking access to spaces and buildings to which people have a right to enter.”

            The authorities told them they could stay if they took down the tents. They were not arrested for blocking access to anything, they were arrested for using tents in their protest as a form of free speech. It is not surprising that prosecutors chose to drop the charges.

    2. walter smith Avatar
      walter smith

      You can count on the Troll to show up and be wrong, with an upvote from Larry.
      Lemme see- Left Wing Jew hate = free speech and you can break the law with impunity.
      Right wing Jew hate = greatest crime of the century and all must be prosecuted (BTW Nazis were socialists… and whole event seemed agit-propish, including the orchestrated protesters and the law enforcement failure to keep the crowd apart)
      What's the diff great defenders of free speech?
      How come your side likes to break the anti-Klan laws, and your Left wing prosecutors won't enforce it? Which side are you on? (Besides hypocritical, law breaking side)
      WRT OMB, no one is above the law, even our invented laws! WRT favored activists already getting a huge break, waaaah…that's not fair. Just wait until Niemoller's poem comes for you… You'll be pretty soon after the Left achieves total power…of no more use and to be thrown away as the dupes you were…

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        QED

        BTW WRT “break the law with impunity”, it sounds like all charges were dropped which pretty much sounds like this is protected speech. And again, the irony of TJC’s position here is kind of amazing.

        1. walter smith Avatar
          walter smith

          As usual, projecting like an Imax, and supporting breaking the laws that broke the Klan, too!
          No Troll. Another example of Lefties using “prosecutorial discretion” for their favorite law breakers, the muscle, the mob, Antifa…cuz that’s “democracy.”

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            I suspect the prosecutors concluded this was actually protected speech and wanted to avoid the inevitable lawsuit they would lose. Students camping are now muscle and the mob… smh…

          2. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
            f/k/a_tmtfairfax

            If they did, they didn't go to law school. My Constitutional Law professor clerked for Justice Brennan and shared many of his views. But his lesson on free speech included limits on free speech, such as time, place and manner. A state university could and still can prevent protestors from taking over or blocking access to a building or other public property.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            TMT – Where does it say " time, place and manner"

          4. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
            f/k/a_tmtfairfax

            Good question

            Here are some examples. In Stotland v. Pennsylvania, 398 U.S. 916, 919 (1970), the Court wrote, "At least since Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496 decided in 1939, the use of public property such as streets and parks has been deemed an important adjunct to the rights of free speech and assembly protected by the First Amendment. States, of course, have the right to place reasonable regulations upon the time, place, and manner of the exercise of the rights of speech and assembly. "

            The Court continued, "As the Court said in Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 554, one could not, 'contrary to traffic regulations, insist upon a street meeting in the middle of Times Square at the rush hour as a form of freedom of speech or assembly.' Such regulatory measures, however, must be narrowly drawn to reach only the legitimate objectives of state regulation." Id.

            The issue of overnight camping on government property as a form of a protected First Amendment protest was decided in Clark v. Community for Creative, 468 U.S. 288, (1984). The Court's syllabus, while not part of the opinion, describes the facts and issues.

            "In 1982, the National Park Service issued a permit to respondent Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV) to conduct a demonstration in Lafayette Park and the Mall, which are National Parks in the heart of Washington, D.C. The purpose of the demonstration was to call attention to the plight of the homeless, and the permit authorized the erection of two symbolic tent cities. However, the Park Service, relying on its regulations particularly one that permits 'camping' (defined as including sleeping activities) only in designated campgrounds, no campgrounds having ever been designated in Lafayette Park or the Mall—denied CCNV's request that demonstrators be permitted to sleep in the symbolic tents. CCNV and the individual respondents then filed an action in Federal District Court, alleging, inter alia, that application of the regulations to prevent sleeping in the tents violated the First Amendment. The District Court granted summary judgment for the Park Service, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

             "Held: The challenged application of the Park Service regulations does not violate the First Amendment." The discussion is at 293-299.

            So, one can safely conclude that the First Amendment does not protect unpermitted tent cities. Now, the fact that the media doesn't understand this says volumes about the media. I would hope that BR posters will no longer argue that the tents erected by the anti-Israeli protesters are protected speech.

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Two things. In your cited case, “the Court felt that the protest was not being threatened altogether and that it could take place in a park where sleeping was permitted. In essence because the demonstrators could find alternative ways of voicing their message their First Amendment right was safe.” This may not be the case with the pro-Palestinian protests. Further, the UVa regulations did actually allow for encampments on campus property just for different reasons (entertainment for instance) while in your case, camping was never allowed and that fact was central to the findings.

          6. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Two things. In your cited case, “the Court felt that the protest was not being threatened altogether and that it could take place in a park where sleeping was permitted. In essence because the demonstrators could find alternative ways of voicing their message their First Amendment right was safe.” This may not be the case with the pro-Palestinian protests. Further, the UVa regulations did actually allow for encampments on campus property just for different reasons (entertainment for instance) while in your case, camping was never allowed and that fact was central to the findings.

          7. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            TMT – thanks for the links. So the states CAN limit the time, manner, etc? Can you cite the Va Law that does that?

          8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Two things. In your cited case, “the Court felt that the protest was not being threatened altogether and that it could take place in a park where sleeping was permitted. In essence because the demonstrators could find alternative ways of voicing their message their First Amendment right was safe.” This may not be the case with the pro-Palestinian protests. Further, the UVa regulations did actually allow for encampments on campus property just for different reasons (entertainment for instance) while in your case, camping was never allowed and that fact was central to the findings.

          9. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
            f/k/a_tmtfairfax

            My point is simply that taking over a public (or private) area and pitching tents and maintaining them is not protected speech under the First Amendment. Yet, I suspect that, in Trump style, a number of people on this blog will likely continue to make the argument.

            Factually, each event has its own facts. But the law is the same.

          10. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            “Factually, each event has its own facts. But the law is the same.”

            But this decision is not “the law” and is based on that event that has its own facts. The pro-Palestinian case facts appear to be different and the decision you cited acknowledged that there may be cases where pitching tents is indeed protected speech.

            Respectfully, I think you are misinterpreting the case you cited. Every speech is first protected (including erecting tents)… period… the only condition where the government can regulate that speech is when the four conditions of the O’brien Test are meet. They are:

            “The regulation must be within the constitutional power of the government to enact, further an important or substantial government interest, that interest must be unrelated to the suppression of speech (or "content neutral", as later cases have phrased it), and
            prohibit no more speech than is essential to further that interest.”

            Just because the court found that government regulation of tents in one case did not restrict free speech certainly does not mean that all government regulations regarding the erection of tents pass that test.

          11. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            what law TMT?

  2. beachguy Avatar
    beachguy

    >>>I suspect the prosecutors concluded this was actually protected speech and wanted to avoid the inevitable lawsuit they would lose. <<
    As cited in the discussion threads, some people's freedom of speech seems more sacred than others. The protesters in question believe they can annoy everyone, defy the police, and then get a pass, but watch as conservative students publicly express an opinion. They will be lucky to walk away without being swarmed by self righteous snow flakes determined to shout them down.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      The right (or not) to engage in free speech as decided by govt, police is a different thing than encountering others who are not govt/police also expressing a contrary point of view?

      Wasn't Charlottesville an example of two groups expressing their free speech and then it got physical and violent which is not protected free speech?

  3. Charles Bryant Avatar
    Charles Bryant

    To hell with these “students”. Suffer the consequences of your misguided actions.

Leave a Reply