Understanding Free Speech on a University Campus

7:00 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017 The Commons
Stefan M. Bradley - Associate Professor of History St. Louis University, Connie Burk - Executive Director, the NW Network, Susan Kruth - Senior Program Officer, Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE, Frank LoMonte - Executive Director, Student Press Law Center, Moderator, Jeff Chasen - Associate Vice Provost, Integrity & Compliance, KU

Free SpeechThe First Amendment guarantees a right to free speech, but how does that apply at a university? How does the First Amendment affect a university’s ability to promote the discussion and debate of ideas? How does the concept of free speech intersect with free thinking? Does the First Amendment apply differently to students, staff, and faculty? To what extent does the First Amendment protect the dissemination of research? What opportunities and risks are there for activism and advocacy among students, staff, and faculty? What can we learn from the history of activism on a college campus? How do these questions affect the future of universities?

Join us for a discussion of these questions and more, with a panel of scholars on campus activism, constitutional law, and the intersections between them.

Stefan M. Bradley is fascinated with the efforts and abilities of black college students to change not only their scholastic environments but also the communities that surrounded their institutions of higher learning. Through protests and demands, students have been able to influence college curricula as well as the policies of their schools. His book, Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s follows the black students who risked their educations and lives during the famous controversy at Columbia University between 1968-1969. Currently, he is working on Blackened Ivy: Civil Rights, Black Power, and Ivy League Universities in the Postwar Era for New York University Press. His work on student/youth activism has been discussed in the Harvard Law Review, History News Network, NPR, C-Span2 BookTV, MSNBC, BBC, and BET.Research.

Connie Burk directs the NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse (The NW Network). Under her leadership, the Network established the National LGBT Training & Technical Assistance Initiative and the National Q&A Institute. Connie also spearheaded two national campaigns to publicize the Network, one of which was featured in Times Square. A nominator says of Burk’s work, “One of the most important ways Connie has influenced the antiviolence movement is by bringing violence prevention and a positive vision for change to the forefront of the work.”

Susan Kruth earned her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, with a concentration in music and film. After a handful of short film and documentary gigs, Susan was inspired to go to law school in order to study the ways that the Constitution protects filmmakers. While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, she served as musical director of the law school’s a cappella group, the A Cappellate Opinions, and performed in UVA Law’s spring musical comedy program, the Libel Show. Susan earned her J.D. in 2011 and is now a member of the Virginia State Bar. She got her start working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project.

Frank LoMonte returns to KU having spoken on the Free Speech in Social Media panel at The Commons in 2014. He became the executive director of the Student Press Law Center in 2008 after practicing law with Atlanta-based Sutherland LLP and clerking for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Before law school, LoMonte was an award-winning investigative journalist and political columnist for daily newspapers in Florida and Georgia. LoMonte graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was a senior editor of the Georgia Law Review. His articles about the First Amendment and media-law topics have been widely published in Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the American University Law Review, the University of North Carolina First Amendment Law Review, and in many other outlets.

Jeff Chasen is the Director of Integrity & Compliance at KU, providing independent oversight and coordination of institutional compliance. He earned a BA in 1984 and JD in 1987 from George Washington University. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Public Risk Management Association and the Association of Governmental Risk Pools.

Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the Department of African and African-American Studies, the Department of American Studies, and The Commons

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Discussion, Framing the Dialogue, Panel, The Future University