Ted Cruz demands Yale punish protesters who disrupted ‘free speech’ event featuring anti-LGBT+ group

Cruz made his demands as he braces for protests against his own visit to the university on Monday

Gino Spocchia
Monday 11 April 2022 21:01
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Hillary Clinton mocks President Trump with a Russian hat during her speech at Yale University

Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined fellow Republicans in calling on Yale University to punish a group of students who disrupted an event last month that included a designated LGBT+ hate group, as he braces for protests against his own visit to the school.

In what has billed by conservatives as an attack on “free speech”, the students held placards during the 10 March event by Yale’s Federalist Society, a traditionally conservative group, to voice their opposition, as Yale Daily News reported.

It included a speaker from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who have been described as “anti-LGBT+” by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC). It also designates the Christian organisation as a “LGBT+ hate group”.

The ADF has advocated for the recriminalisation of homosexuality in the US, and has defend the “sterilisation” of transgender individuals, according to the SPLC.

In the letter addressing the protest against ADF’s general counsel Kristen Waggoner, Mr Cruz wrote: “Instead of engaging with the panelists, a shocking number of Yale Law students hurled constant insults and obscenities at them and tried to prevent them from speaking and being heard.”

“‘Our nation desperately needs the next generation of attorneys, legislators, judges, and Supreme Court justices to be marked by the character and values that undergird the American legal profession and a free society.”

His comments were in reference to the law students and others who were among those who disrupted the event last month at Yale’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

Mr Cruz also attacked Yale for a statement issued following the protest and conservative furore which said: “Under the University’s free expression policy, student groups have every right to invite speakers to campus, and others have every right to voice opposition.”

“Our commitment to free speech is clear and unwavering. Because unfettered debate is essential to our mission, we allow people to speak even when their speech is flatly inconsistent with our core values.”

That statement by dean Heather Gerken, according to the Texas Republican, “grossly downplayed the chaos they [the protesters] wrought” and also “defended” the students, who he said needed to be disciplined.

“Dean Gerken, we urge you to take concrete action to correct the course of Yale Law School,” said the letter. “Our nation desperately needs the next generation of attorneys, legislators, judges, and Supreme Court justices to be marked by the character and values that undergird the American legal profession and a free society.” 

Other signatories to the letter on Friday included Utah Senator Mike Lee, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and Congressman Louie Gohmert, who famously suggested in Congress in 2016 that same sex couples could not be sent to a future Mars colony because they cannot reproduce, as Vox reported.

LGBT+ individuals and particularly transgender people have come under increasing attack by Republicans, who have passed around a dozen bans on school sports participation for transgender youth. While in Florida schools have been banned from discussing LGBT+ issues with at least third grade and below.

Mr Cruz was due to record a podcast episode from Yale on Monday night following the letter to Dean Gerken, with some form of protest expected.

The Independent has approached Yale and Mr Cruz for comment.

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