The Violence in Charlottesville

Dean Yelnosky shares his thoughts on the events in Charlottesville with a message to the student body.

RWU Law Dean Michael Yelnosky


The racism, anti-Semitism, and other hatred on display in Charlottesville this weekend is a threat to this country’s central commitment to equality and to the rule of law that supports that commitment.  The law school shares that commitment.  I want you to know that while the law school is fully committed as well to the First Amendment, the violence that occurred in Charlottesville was in no way protected First Amendment activity.  

As many of you know, at this law school we offer opportunities for civil conversations about contentious issues, and this year will be no exception.  Coincidentally, our annual Martin Luther King Day Lecture in January 2018 will feature two academics – a law professor from the University of Alabama and a history professor from Johns Hopkins – talking about the disputes that have arisen over calls to remove monuments to or other symbols of racial oppression in America.  We will not ignore these issues.  However, we will insist that they be discussed in a peaceful, civil, and respectful way. 

Our hearts go out to the victims of this weekend’s violence.


Michael J. Yelnosky
Dean & Professor of Law