There were many accounts and opinions about the March 10 protest by Yale Federalist Society members. Some people claim the protest was short and insignificant in relation to the overall scheme of things. Others contend the protest disrupted the event and disrupted classes in other parts of the building.
A Yale Law professor claimed to be present at a faculty meeting at that time. He told me and others on Facebook about how various accounts of “right-wing media” exaggerated protests’ disruptiveness. The professor stated that no interference was made to the faculty meeting.
Professor Kate Stith (who was also the moderator for the Fed Soc event) disagrees. A memorandum she circulated to tenured faculty at the law school (and which was published anonymously by Vicky Ward’s substack) reads:
This was not just noise in the hallways, it was also quite disruptive. An audiotape released on March 29 by the group FIRE* reveals disruption and interference even while the
The protesters were located in Room127. The audiotape further reveals the shocking and extraordinary disruption of the event after the protesters moved (twice) to the School’s main hallway—yelling, stomping, powerful chanting, and wall-banging. Students and faculty have also reported serious disruption of a faculty meeting and of two classes that were being conducted in other classrooms off the main hallway…
Events on March 10, which were incredibly loud, were stopped by the multi-source hall noise. The person running the faculty meeting, for instance, decided to stop its in-person section and focus on Zoom. The instructor in Room 128 told students to shout in order for them to be heard. One point, the instructor of Room 121 expelled the class from the room because it interfered with his teaching functions. We in Room 127 stopped trying to speak or listen at multiple times.
Although Professor Stith concluded that students’ behaviour was in violation of university policy and she does not call for penalties,
Ex-prosecutor, I am well aware that not all violations have to lead to sanctions. In my judgment we should use this moment as an opportunity to educate our students about the core importance of free expression to our academic mission—and to make clear, as Dean Gerken has forcefully written, this can never happen again. We must recognize, however, that Yale’s Free Expression Policy was violated on March 10th. This is a missed opportunity.