University of Michigan: Failure to Address Heckler’s Veto of Student Group Event


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On November 16, 2023, the University of Michigan chapter of Young Americans for Freedom hosted political commentator Josh Hammer for its “Israel’s Righteous Fight Against Jihadism” campus event. Soon after Hammer started speaking, protesters began coughing loudly, then shouting, to prevent audience members from hearing approximately 35 minutes of the scheduled hour-long event, forcing it to end prematurely. On December 7, FIRE wrote U-M calling on it to make bona fide efforts to address substantial disruptions to students’ expressive events as they occur, and to educate students on the distinction between protected protest and disruptive conduct that prevents others from exercising their own freedom of speech. On January 17, 2024, U-M assured FIRE that administrators will better protect student expressive events from disruptions and better educate students on the university’s free speech policies.