One of the nation’s top law schools allegedly paid for a “big gay dance party” and exempted some students from class when activists balked after the school’s diversity office funded programs advocating for diverse viewpoints and civil debate.
Students at Northwestern School of Law were invited Feb. 15 to join “Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mike Burns and Professor Joshua Kleinfeld for a program titled How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable,” the inaugural event in a new Civility Series. The event was organized by two students with funding from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The two students, Dominic Bayer and Bailey Cordonnier, are affiliated with the school’s chapter of the conservative Federalist Society.
A week later, the school held an event sponsored by the Federalist Society that hosted a debate between Kleinfeld and Erin Hawley on the abortion pill GenBioPro and potential federal legal issues surrounding it. Hawley is an accomplished lawyer, wife of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and senior counsel to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Gay students in a group called OUTlaw launched a campaign to silence the speakers, arguing that “civility” is itself racist.
“As we noted to DEIE staff prior to the event, ‘civility’ has long been used as a white supremacist dog whistle,” they claimed. “We are pained by DEIE’s failure to conduct due diligence in awarding a fellowship to Bailey and Dominic and failure to heed LGBTQ+ student leaders when we told DEIE the exact intent behind the civility event.”
The students said that ADF was objectionable because the Southern Poverty Law Center deemed it a “hate group” in part because one of its employees allegedly said in 2014 that “The endgame of the homosexual legal agenda is unfettered sexual liberty and the silencing of all dissent.”
In response, activists covered up fliers for the event with ones bemoaning “hate groups,” a photo obtained by The Daily Wire shows. A student said the flyers have remained up for more than three days despite violating the university’s policies.
The flyers linked to a letter signed by 29 campus groups and 50 students that asked students to dress in black to mourn the fact that the event occurred.
A student told The Daily Wire that Dean Hari Osofsky announced this week that the Law School would use its special events budget to subsidize a “Big Gay Dance Party” in response to the protests over the Federalist Society’s speakers.
“Professors at the school have urged students to skip scheduled classes to attend,” the student said. “The event will be held in the Law School’s central atrium, which students must traverse to reach their classrooms.”
The student described a “listening session” Osofsky held to discuss the gay dance party where students called for members of the Federalist Society to be driven out of public life and denied legal employment. An administrator “thanked” these students for their activism, the student said.
Northwestern Law did not return a request for comment.
“It’s incredibly concerning that these students – future lawyers and judges – are relying on the scandal-ridden Southern Poverty Law Center to support their intolerance of differing viewpoints. The SPLC is a thoroughly discredited, blatantly partisan activist organization with zero moral authority,” Hawley told The Daily Wire. “We must restore a culture of free speech and civil discourse at Northwestern and other law schools.”
Northwestern is one of the most elite law schools in the country, one of the “T14” schools representing the top 14 schools ranked by U.S. News — though in November, the school said it was pulling out of the rankings amid criticism the methodology is racist.
Graduates of the $71,432-a-year private law school earn a median income of $206,000 a year three years after graduation, according to the Department of Education.
Last year, a Federalist Society-ADF event was met with protest at Yale Law School, leading to a stern condemnation of the students by Dean Heather Gerken.
“Our commitment to free speech is clear and unwavering… this behavior was unacceptable; at a minimum it violated the norms of this Law School,” she wrote. “YLS is a professional school, and this is not how lawyers interact… university leaders are constantly asked to be referees, encouraging our students to appeal to a higher authority rather than to engage with one another.”