UW Madison law students question university’s response to racist video

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 10:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - UW law students with the Wisconsin Law School Student Bar Association are taking administrators to school, saying the University is wrong in stating the first amendment protects the student who posted a racist video to social media.

On multiple occasions now, university leaders have said that, by law, they can’t expel the creator of the video, one of the demands during student lead protests. But law students cite a recent court case that they say ruled otherwise.

In an Instagram post, students say the following:

Lastly, the university’s response states conclusively that this is a settled matter of law. However, the Supreme Court, as recently as 2021, has held that a school has a regulatory interest in off-campus speech that is disruptive. Mahoney Area Sch. Dist. v. B. L. by & through Leavy, 141 S. Ct. 2038, 2040 (2021). This includes serious or severe bullying or harassment targeting particular individuals and threats aimed at teachers or other students. Id. As future law professionals, we should call out those who justify inaction with the visage of the law.

Wisconsin Law School Student Bar Association

Students’ voices who have been protesting have been heard not only on campus, but throughout the entire state. An anti hate leader says regardless of the law, the administration needs to make a change in how they teach their students.

“I asked the university administration to start thinking about requiring some kind of civic education program. To me engagement is the best solution to all of this problem,” said Masood Akhtar, President of We Are Many-United Against Hate.

Akhtar also says he wants to see a call in rather than a call out.

“Our true enemies really in this kind of thing that I’ve seen are fear, anger and hate. To me we have to come together to fight those enemies rather than within ourselves,” said Akhtar.

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