YU faculty consider Charlottesville

A legal scholar’s perspective


On erev Shabbat following the disturbances in Charlottesville, Yeshiva University distributed reflections on these events written by seven members of its faculty, from RIETS to the undergraduate and graduate schools. The Jewish Star features abridged versions of five of these articles. Link here for full versions of all the articles.

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By Julie Suk, professor of law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Our ardent commitment to free speech in the United States sometimes motivates our government to embrace neutrality between all viewpoints, even in the face of racial hatred and anti-Semitism. Universities also try to advance knowledge by understanding all sides of truth.

But this past week, the freedom of white supremacists to march has enabled a violent act of murder. Some of our leaders, including President Trump, have lifted up the torch of neutrality in declining to express moral outrage or condemnation. But now, more than ever, moral leadership is required. … After Charlottesville, the torch of neutrality must be extinguished. Our leaders must speak in morally certain terms against white supremacy as an inherently degrading and violent ideology.

Universities have a special responsibility to prevent racial violence through an education in human values. We need to understand the social, economic and historical forces that have led our fellow citizens to march through Charlottesville chanting messages of racial hate.…