Just as it is illegal to post the grades of students with personally identifying information (without prior consent), it’s illegal to administer an oral exam with spectators.
I’m not a lawyer, but my reading of the plain-language summary of the bill is mighty unambiguous.
More often, committee members may be concerned about the appearance of collegiality and don’t want to be seen as unfairly attacking an unprepared student.
If a student hasn’t truly done the work meeting the standard for the doctorate, the levy of that assessment would be unnecessarily cruel in public.
As long as the defense is genuine, in which student performance is being evaluated, and there a nonzero (though infinitesimal) probability of failure, then it cannot be public unless the student has specifically waived privacy.
I understand that the public grilling of doctoral candidates may be a time-honored tradition.
After the oral defense, meet with your advisor for debriefing and seek advice on how to revise your thesis.
Defense of the thesis is a very important step on the way to obtaining a diploma.
Often, an examiner plays the devil’s advocate to see how well you can think on your feet and defend yourself. Occasionally, an examiner may ask a question which is unfair or cannot be adequately answered.
After a few futile attempts, feel free to say that you don’t know the answer. It is perfectly acceptable to think for a couple of seconds, or ask if you are on the right track. A good defense means that you can provide strong logical arguments as well as empirical support o defend your position or conclusion.