Chalked messages greeted constitutional scholar Ilya Shapiro in apparent protest of his Friday appearance at the University of Chicago Law School, where he headlined a Federalist Society chapter event on “Protests, Civility, and Issues of Campus Speech.”
Unwelcoming messages on the law school sidewalks stated, “No civil debate with uncivil people,” “White supremacists are not welcome,” and “Racism is hate speech, not free speech.”
A UChicago Law School graduate, Shapiro is a lightning rod because of his January 2022 tweets criticizing President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nomination process. In one, he suggested that Biden appoint Sri Srinivasan to the Court before concluding that the president would instead opt for a “lesser black woman.”
Those tweets came shortly after Georgetown Law School announced that Shapiro would serve as senior lecturer and executive director for the school’s Center for the Constitution. Georgetown promptly put him on leave pending an investigation, which cleared him four months later on the technicality that he published his tweets before he was formally employed by the university.
However, Shapiro resigned from Georgetown a few days after being released from bureaucratic purgatory, eventually joining the Manhattan Institute.
While at the UChicago Federalist Society event, Shapiro argued that there is a double standard at Georgetown that disadvantages conservative voices. He cited 2018 tweets by Associate Professor C. Christine Fair stating that supporters of Justice Brett Kavanaugh are a “chorus of entitled white men.” “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps,” she continued, adding, “Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”
Shapiro recalled that in response to Fair’s tweets, Georgetown made the following statement:
We protect the right of our community members to exercise their freedom of expression. This does not mean the University endorses the content of their expression. We can and do strongly condemn the use of violent imagery, profanity, and insensitive labeling of individuals based on gender, ethnicity or political affiliation in any form of discourse. Such expressions go against our values.
Nonetheless, Fair was made a full professor at Georgetown in 2020.
Kenzi Bustamante is a third-year in the College studying Biology and Public Policy. Her Christian faith encourages her to balance truth and grace in everything she does. She grew up in rural Missouri and has enjoyed broadening her cultural knowledge through language and study-abroad programs at the University of Chicago.