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News Posted on August 24, 2017

King Hall Open Forum on Charlottesville Draws Media Coverage

UC Davis School of Law hosted an open forum discussion of “Charlottesville: Protest, Counter-Protest, Intolerance, Fear, and Violence” on August 22, drawing a capacity crowd to the Kalmanovitz Appellate Courtroom and coverage from media including the Davis Enterprise. Video of the event is available to the UC Davis campus community here.

Moderated by Dean Kevin R. Johnson, the event featured a panel of speakers composed of Professor Raquel Aldana, UC Davis Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity, Professor Mary Louise Frampton, Director of the Aoki Center for Critical Race & Nation Studies, and Professor Aaron Tang. The forum was co-sponsored by UC Davis School of Law, the Aoki Center for Critical Race & Nation Studies, the UC Davis Law Students Association, and the UC Davis Student Chapter of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Professor Frampton focused her remarks on the special responsibilities lawyers have to “think beyond the rage and grief and despair we have about Charlottesville, and think carefully about what lessons we can learn from this tragedy and how we can use it to shape a more just society.” Lawyers can draw upon their training to channel their emotional responses into “analysis, persuasion, and action,” she said.

Professor Aldana talked about the special responsibilities that public universities have with regard to upholding ideals of free speech and how those responsibilities include allowing the expression of unpopular ideas while also providing for public safety. She discussed some of the ways universities are responding to challenges such as rising security costs associated with controversial events and setting protocols and policies to deal with them.

Professor Tang spoke on how First Amendment issues played out in Charlottesville, and the role attorneys played in the progression of events. He talked about how the city’s poor handling of the permitting process contributed to the difficulties law enforcement officers had in maintaining order. “If you’re looking for evidence that good lawyering really matters, you need look no further than Charlottesville,” he said. “Had there been better lawyering on the front end in Charlottesville, it’s possible that the violence that happened could have been mitigated or avoided altogether.”