PHILADELPHIA - Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania responded to ongoing student-led protests at colleges and universities across the commonwealth, including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Swarthmore College. The following can be attributed to Mike Lee, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

“As student-led demonstrations against the Israeli government’s assault on the Palestinian people spread across campuses in Pennsylvania, it is imperative that university administrators remember their traditional commitment to free speech and the free exchange of ideas.

Since the war in Vietnam, college students have had a vital role in anti-war protests. Tragically, the United States also has a history of  the awful consequences that can arise when campus administrators enlist law enforcement to quell speech with force. 

Targeted harassment rooted in racism or bigotry also has no place on college campuses or anywhere else. 

As the ACLU of Pennsylvania has made clear, demonstrations or speech that some may find intolerable is still protected under the First Amendment. The ACLU of Pennsylvania urges college and university administrators to remember the value of open debate and adhere to First Amendment principles as demonstrators express themselves on campus.”