Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Indiana University McKinney School of Law Annual Birch Bayh Lecture Cancelled

The annual Birch Bayh Lecture at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law that was scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. has been cancelled. Dean Andrew R. Klein of the IU McKinney School of Law issued the following statement:

It is with great disappointment that I announce the cancellation of this year’s Birch Bayh Lecture at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 2. We were contacted today by our speaker, Marcia Greenberger, the co-president and founder of the National Women’s Law Center, who indicated that she feels unable to speak at our school because of the recently-passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

I respect Ms. Greenberger’s position, though regret that we will not have the benefit of hearing her remarks. I also want to reiterate what I said publicly yesterday. The McKinney School of Law is a place where a diverse range of viewpoints can always be expressed in a civil fashion. As a part of the state’s namesake university, we take seriously our position as a leader in higher education, and we will use that position to bring together students, residents, businesses and institutions with the common goal of making Indiana a place of enrichment and opportunity. At this law school, and throughout Indiana University, everyone is welcome and valued. We will never condone or tolerate discrimination.

I join many who are concerned that the resulting national discussion of the new law has had a negative impact on our community. Regardless of what happens to this legislation, it will not change how the IU McKinney School of Law does business or treats its students, employees or guests. Tolerance, equality and a commitment to diversity will remain bedrock values of Indiana University and the McKinney School of Law.

This is unfortunate as I feel it would have been a great opportunity for Ms. Greenburg to speak to the matter of the Indiana General Assembly and Governor Pence selecting specific language to establish cult followers as a preferential class while reducing freethinkers, agnostics, and the secular community in general to an inferior class of people holding moral beliefs.

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