Previously banned attorney to speak at law school event

Jordan Kushner filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the U in August and will speak about his experiences.

Olivia Johnson

After being banned from the University of Minnesota’s West Bank for almost a year and filing a lawsuit against the school, Minneapolis civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner will speak to students on campus Thursday.

The event, “Freedom of $peech,” was organized by several student activist groups while Kushner’s trespass ban was still in effect, said John Bruning, a third-year law student and co-chair of the University’s National Lawyers Guild chapter.

A week ago, University officials lifted the ban over a month early, according to an email sent to Kushner by the school’s Office of the General Counsel.

After it was lifted, Kushner said in an email that the ban was “only part of one of the issues in the case,” and that he will continue his lawsuit against the University, which was filed in August.

“I thought I had a duty … to file this lawsuit to make it clear that they can’t get away with this kind of behavior,” Kushner said.

Kushner is suing the University for allegedly violating his first amendment rights, according to court documents.

Last fall, Kushner was arrested after trying to videotape police interactions with protesters at a guest lecture in the law school.

He was charged with three misdemeanors, including trespass and disorderly conduct, but they were later dropped by the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office after several months of court proceedings.

In a statement, the University said it believes Kushner’s lawsuit is without merit, but said it couldn’t discuss details about the pending case.

Rahsaan Mahadeo, a graduate student and member of Whose Diversity? said the event is a response to how the University handles cases like this.

“Essentially, the University has continued to criminalize dissent, and so this is an opportunity to push back on that,” Mahadeo said.

He said Kushner was chosen to speak because of his social justice work in the cities and his lawsuit against the University.

Event organizer John Bruning said he was in the law school during the protest and witnessed the University police escorting protestors out of the building.

“It’s troubling to see a police response like that,” he said. “Is this going to happen to us sometime if we put on an event?”

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in room 50 of Walter F. Mondale Hall on Thursday.