Boots & Sabers

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1043, 12 May 17

Free Speech Hearing Not So Free?

Talk about your lazy reporting.

A public hearing on a Republican bill to prevent students at University of Wisconsin campuses from disrupting controversial speakers wasn’t exactly a model of the pro-free speech sentiment espoused in the proposal, said some critics who waited hours to have their say.

“I’m here to testify against it, and it’s been like five hours and we haven’t heard testimony from one person who’s against the bill,” said Savion Castro, who will be a UW-Madison senior in the fall. “The chair, I’m assuming, has discretion over who can speak, who doesn’t speak and in which order they speak. So I think it is kind of ironic.”

Apparently, the reporter, Steven Elbow, didn’t think it was worth looking into the process used for speakers to validate or refute the student’s accusation of bias. I’ve been to a government hearing or two in my time. Typically, people sign up to speak as they get there and then the speakers are called in the order they were received. Sometimes, various government officials get dibs to speak first, but the general public speakers are usually brought forth on a first come, first serve basis. Was there a different process followed here? Mr. Castro seems to think so, but the reporter never checks.

As it stands, it looks like the hearing drug on for hours and hours and mostly everyone got to say their piece. What’s the issue?


1043, 12 May 2017


  1. kjanz1899

    How does any college junior have time to attend a five hour meeting when they should be studying for finals?

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    In legislative hearings it is up to the chair to decide how and in what order to call witnesses.

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