Proposed Hate Group Policy at GW Law
UPDATE, 3/28/12: It has come to our attention that the GW Law Faculty will not formally consider or vote on the proposed policy this semester. However, an open debate on the issue will take place Thursday, March 29th, at 4:00pm in Lisner 201. Students and faculty are welcome to attend.
Below is featured a copy of a memorandum recently circulated among the GW Law faculty. After presenting the contents of this memorandum to the SBA, the Senate voted to support the proposed policy by a vote of 13-5. The faculty will vote on whether to adopt the new policy as is, or with adjustment, on March 30, 2012. For commentary on whether or not the policy should be adopted, see Student Consider Proposed Hate Group Policy, above.
-Nota Bene Staff
TO: Faculty and Staff of the George Washington University Law School
DATE: March 30, 2012
SUBJECT: Proposed Hate and Extremist Group Policy
M E M O R AN D U M
This policy came about as a consequence of an event on the GW Law campus in which a known anti-gay hate group, the Family Research Council, was invited to speak without the student body’s knowledge. Afterward, a representative from that group verbally harassed a GW Law student, and the incident has since resulted in reports of students feeling alienated and unsafe on campus.
GW Law is a diverse school, and it is crucial that all students are exposed to a broad array of viewpoints. At the same time, any organization hosting speakers must recognize the need to ensure that all students feel welcome and safe on their campus. These two goals will not come into conflict often. However, when they do, we are forced, as an institution, to balance free speech with the safety of students, staff, and faculty. With this in mind, several students have drafted a policy that upholds both ideals without compromising the integrity of GW Law.
In order to promote healthy and civil academic discourse while protecting the health and well-being of the student body, we the undersigned propose that the faculty adopt the Proposed Policy on Hate and Extremist Groups.
Proposed Policy on Hate and Extremist Groups
This policy governs all events taking place at or sponsored by the George Washington University Law School, including its affiliated students, faculty, and organizations. It applies to any event at which a speaker, panelist, or other invited participant (hereinafter “speaker”) is from a hate group, as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, or an extremist group, as designated by the Anti-Defamation League (hereinafter “hate or extremist group”).
II. GENERAL PROVISIONS
A. Requirements for inviting hate or extremist groups to the Law School: Any entity which invites a speaker from a hate or extremist group must comply with the following provisions:
i. Notify the Dean of Student Affairs that there will be a speaker from a hate or extremist group on the Law School campus prior to the posting of any advertisements for the event;
ii. Post advertisements for the event at least five days before the event (or at least three days if the speaker is not confirmed earlier), with the following written disclaimer:
“The [organization] has been designated [a hate group or an extremist group] by the [Southern Poverty Law Center or Anti-Defamation League] for [grounds for designation]. The George Washington University Law School does not endorse the views of either the [organization] or [speaker]”;
iii. Arrange for a student representative of the sponsoring organization to read the written disclaimer aloud at the beginning of the event;
iv. Arrange for University Police Department officers and/or other security personnel to be present either inside or directly outside the reserved space for the duration of the event. There shall be a ratio of one campus security personnel per every thirty attendees at the event, but no event shall have fewer than two security personnel. The sponsoring student organization or, if faculty-planned, the Law School, is required to pay for the services of all such personnel; and
v. Notify the leader of any student organization whose primary mission is to represent the interests of students who are members of the class targeted by the hate or extremist group.
B. Attendance exception: Attendance at any event which includes a speaker from a hate or extremist group shall not be a required component of any course offered for credit at the Law School.
This policy shall be administered and implemented by the Office of Student Affairs.