Law and Riots

Section 1, Spring 23

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/16
Credits: 2
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • M
  • 1900-2100
  • WB121
01/23/2023 04/24/2023
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

Protest or riot? Civil disobedience or insurrection? Cities, universities, and other governmental entities must simultaneously protect free speech and public safety while managing mass demonstration events. The legal, ethical, and practical issues presented by these events will be the focus of this course. When, if at all, can governments restrict unpopular speech, and when does such speech become criminal? After these events, what is the role for non-criminal investigations to play in assessing responsibility and charting a course forward? In this course, we will consider theories of civil disobedience, the history of civil unrest and riots in the United States, and the law surrounding mass demonstration events, We will consider how cities, law enforcement, and prosecutors have responded to civil unrest, and how the courts have interpreted these responses after the fact. We will examine in detail recent events including the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the protests and riots following the murder of George Floyd, and the January 6th, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: This seminar will require the reading materials compiled by the professor, contribution to class discussion, and composition of short papers and presentations.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Thursday, April 20, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 30, 11:59 PM