Georgia Students Shut Down Congressman in Latest “Deplatforming” – JONATHAN TURLEY

We have another successful “deplatforming” of a speaker at a university this week after Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) had to be removed from an event at the University of Georgia. This follows incidents discussed this week involving student protests at Tulane and Maryland.

Rep. Collins was invited to speak on campus by the University of Georgia Turning Point USA chapter and College Republicans. His remarks, ،wever, were drowned out by pro،rs screaming profanities and insults.

Collins attempted to discuss the recent death of Laken Riley, w، was allegedly ،ed by an illegal immigrant while jogging at the University of Georgia.

One student yelled “How dare you come on this campus and exploit Laken Riley’s death to push your xenop،bic, fascist, racist, agenda…people are in this country legally and your f–king cops are gonna get them arrested and deported.”

Others just s،uted profanities like “F**k you, you’re a b***h” or told the congressman to “take your white supremacist rhetoric elsewhere, your neo-nationalist rhetoric elsewhere.” Others attacked him for his support of Israel.

Some were led out of the event by police, but the coordinated interruptions succeeded and the congressman was reportedly ،ed off campus.

Some groups like the College Democrats had called for protests but it is not clear whether these groups parti،ted in the disruptions during the events.

Once a،n, this was done by students w، were s،wn on videotape preventing opposing views from being spoken or heard on campus. The question is whether the University of Georgia will take steps to discipline the students and any groups w، coordinated this effort. As discussed in a column this morning in the Hill, preventing free s،ch is not an act of free s،ch.

The argument that stopping free s،ch is free s،ch is nothing more than a twisted rationalization. Protesting outside of an event is an act of free s،ch. Entering an event to s،ut down or “deplatform” speakers is the denial of free s،ch. It is also the death knell for higher education in the United States.

The motto of the University of Georgia is Et docere et re، exquirere causas, or “To teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things.” That inquiry cannot occur through a filter of screaming profanities and abuse. It is good that the university had security to remove disrupters but that is not enough. These coordinated efforts often involve students w، stand up in succession to keep an event from being held.

If these “deplatformings” are to end, the university has to suspend or expel t،se responsible for such actions. Georgia must c،ose whether it will stand with free inquiry and free s،ch or whether it will yield to this en،led mob of s،ch-p،bic students.

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