Free speech or hate speech?

David Blake
August 21, 2017 - 3:46 pm

How does a university decide when to ban a guest for promoting hate from others who might be just as confrontational?  

LSU has told white nationalist Richard Spencer, he isn't welcomed on campus touching off a controversy over free speech.  

It has many folks asking where is the line between freedom of speech and hate speech.  Stephen Griffin is a Professor of Constitutional Law at Tulane University.  He says a banned speaker could go to court, but the violence in Charlottesville could be a big factor in this case.

''Where we just had a situation that turned violent, which associated directly with Mr. Spencer, I would have to believe judges will give LSU leeway because the rule is not absolute,'' said Griffin.

Could a college refuse to let a white supremacist speak on campus?

Griffin says private universities would have more leeway keeping groups away but public universities like LSU could be walking a fine line. 

''Private schools are in a completely different situation, so LSU might be a little more at risk for legal liability.'' Griffin said. 

Griffin also says safety for the students is going to be of ultimate concern adding that parents will be watching carefully.

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