Dean’s Statement: In Defense of Our Students

From: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Date: January 31, 2023

Dear Law School Community,

I deeply believe that our law school must be a place where all ideas and views can be expressed. This includes speech on very controversial issues and even expression that might offend others.

I want to do all I can to facilitate and protect this discourse. I therefore have been very upset to see that some of our students —particularly students of color, Muslim, and Jewish students — have been threatened and harassed because of their advocacy. Some of our students, particularly those supporting the Law Students for Justice in Palestine bylaw, have been targeted and harassed by groups such as Accuracy in Media, Canary Mission, and JewBelong.

This targeting of particular students because of their speech is inexcusable and has caused great harm. No one should be subjected to this harassment. It undermines our desire to be a place where difficult issues can be debated and where students feel comfortable advocating for their positions. Regardless of one’s views on the specific issues, my hope is that we can unite in supporting the speech rights of all of our students and in denouncing the harassment of them.


Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley School of Law