Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to give a speech at the Georgetown University Law Center to condemn rising opposition to unrestricted free speech on college campuses this afternoon.
Sessions’ address is set to focus on the transformation of universities into an “echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos,” according to Axios, quoting a source close to Sessions.
Sessions is scheduled to deliver remarks at the law school’s Center for the Constitution at noon, followed by a question-and-answer session with GULC professor Randy Barnett, the center’s director.
The Georgetown chapter of the student group Young Democratic Socialists of America said it would protest Sessions’ speech, promising to try to “shut him down.”
“A university that claims to care about the travel ban and DACA rescindment shouldn’t invite the man who defended both,” a Facebook invitation for the protest of Sessions’ speech reads.
Sessions, a former U.S. senator and the first to endorse President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has vocally supported the president’s hardline policies on immigration during the campaign and while serving in his administration.
University President John J. DeGioia has taken public stances against two such policies: a series of bans on refugees and visitors from some majority-Muslim countries, and the decision to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected about 800,000 young immigrants without documentation from deportation.
Sessions’ remarks echo criticisms that have been leveled against a number of colleges in recent years, as they have faced pressure from students to disinvite conservative speakers.
The University of California, Berkeley, has come under fire multiple times this year for its handling of student protests of controversial speakers, including protests that turned violent in February and led Berkley to cancel a scheduled speech by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. More recently, Ben Shapiro, a conservative media figure, was met by hundreds of student protesters Sept. 14 after being invited to speak by the student group Berkeley College Republicans.
President Donald Trump threatened to withhold Berkeley’s federal funding in a Feb. 2 tweet at the height of the free speech standoff.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Georgetown has had its own share of showdowns over speakers in recent years. In May 2016, a group of Georgetown students petitioned the university to rescind its invitation to then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to speak at that year’s School of Foreign Service commencement, citing Johnson’s role in deporting immigrants living in the country without documentation.