National Experts to Speak On Campus Free Speech

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National Experts to Speak On Campus Free Speech

UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
August 16, 2018

The University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is presenting "The Haury Conversation on Campus Free Speech" on Sept. 5, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the North and South Student Union Ballroom. Free tickets for the event will be available on Aug. 20 at

The panelists include some of the most prominent voices in the country on the topic of free speech: Sigal Ben-Porath, author of "Free Speech on Campus"; Noam Chomsky, an outspoken advocate for free speech; and Nadine Strossen, lawyer and former president of the American Civil Liberties Union. The panel will be moderated by famed First Amendment attorney, Bob Corn-Revere. Trevor Timm, the co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, will also speak.

The topic of free speech on campus has had renewed focus in recent years due to the hostile reception (and dis-invitations) of controversial speakers on college campuses, such as the University of California, Berkeley, which some saw as restricting free speech and others saw as protesting hate speech.

John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said the panel will discuss the boundaries of free speech on campus, where there is often a tension between adhering to the legal guidelines of free speech and promoting a non-hostile learning environment.

"Everyone believes in the right to free speech, but faculty teach in reach spaces – classrooms – and these can be sites of hostility, from racist comments to microaggressions," Jones said. "Balancing the legal with the practical requires a conversation, and we have assembled a team of experts to take this on. I think the diversity of ideas presented by these speakers will be of great interest to UA administrators, faculty, and students."

National Free Speech Experts

Sigal R. Ben-Porath is a professor of education, political science, and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Her most recent book is titled "Free Speech on Campus," in which she offers strategies to de-escalate tensions and negotiate debates surrounding trigger warnings, safe spaces, and speech that verges on hate.

Noam Chomsky, a University of Arizona laureate professor of linguistics and the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair, is an ardent free speech advocate, having written "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise." Chomsky, who is considered the founder of modern linguistics, is one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world.

Bob Corn-Revere is a First Amendment attorney, partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and president of the First Amendment Lawyers Association. In numerous cases, he has successfully represented university students battling censorship on campus, including the unconstitutional enforcement of "free speech zones."

Nadine Strossen was president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008. She is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School. A frequent speaker on constitutional and civil liberties issues, her media appearances include "60 Minutes," "Today," "Good Morning America," and "The Daily Show." Her book, "HATE: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, not Censorship," was published in May 2018.

Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a journalist, activist, and lawyer whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic. Timm formerly worked as an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and helped James Goodale write a book on the Pentagon Papers and the First Amendment.

This event is sponsored by the Don Bennett Moon Foundation, the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the UA Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, which helped fund Chomsky's position at the UA. The UA Dean of Students Office is also a co-sponsor.


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