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Noah Feldman

Universities Can Do More to Curb Hateful Speech

Schools can respect the First Amendment and academic freedom without putting up with harassment.
Step 1: Ban open flames.

Step 1: Ban open flames.

Photographer: Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The University of Virginia was apparently caught off guard Friday when hundreds of white supremacists marched through the iconic campus carrying lit torches. But with more alt-right protests planned this coming weekend, and white nationalist Richard Spencer seeking to hold an event in September at the University of Florida, other schools should take note and be prepared. There’s lots a campus can do to block disruptive protest that is consistent with the First Amendment. There are also some limits that can’t-- and shouldn’t -- be crossed.

Start with the control of public space. Private universities have the option of blocking access to their campuses and flatly prohibiting outsiders from marching or protesting.