City University of New York: Chancellor, Board of Trustees Label Law School Commencement Remarks ‘Hate Speech,’ Claim It’s Not Free Speech


CUNY School of Law

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Case Overview

On May 12, 2023, CUNY School of Law hosted its graduation, which included remarks from graduating law student Fatima Mousa Mohammed who, in her speech, criticized Israel, the university, capitalism, and more. The university soon faced backlash from the public, and CUNY’s Chancellor and Board of Trustees released a May 30 statement calling Mohammed’s remarks “hate speech,” which they tried to claim is not free speech. On May 31, FIRE wrote CUNY explaining that speech does not lose its First Amendment protection just because it is deemed hateful. We urged the public university to embrace and reaffirm its commitment to its First Amendment obligations to ensure it does not punish students just because some subjectively consider their speech hateful or offensive.