are crucial, said Amber Khan, a law professor at the University of Virginia who specializes in freedom of speech issues. “While it is important to condemn hate speech, we must also be careful not to inadvertently curtail protected speech,” she said.
Despite the controversy, First Amendment scholars see an opportunity for universities to have broader and more nuanced conversations about free speech. And for students like Rubin or Yakoby who believe they have been targeted with anti-Semitism, they hope the scrutiny of their university leaders will lead to meaningful change.
“We’re dealing with hostile environments on college campuses and Jewish students are being targeted,” said Yakoby. “And it can’t just be about forcing one president to resign. It’s about creating a campus that’s safe and welcoming for everyone.”