On January 25, 2018, AEN hosted, together with the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, a Symposium on Free Speech and Campus Violence and Disruption, in Chicago, IL. The symposium focused on a number of timely issues relating to free speech on campus.
The first panel, “What Type of Forum is a University? What is the Scope of Permissible Time, Place and Manner Regulation?” was moderated by Mark Yudof of AEN and featured Professor Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota Law School, Dan Sharphorn of the University of Texas, and Provost Jonathan Holloway of Northwestern University. The panelists discussed the role of the university in promoting free speech, and examined the complexities of involved in determining appropriate regulations of speech.
The second panel, “Campus Speech and Disruption,” was moderated by Sam Tenenbaum of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Professor Sheldon Nahmod of the Chicago Kent School of Law, Ken Waltzer of AEN, and Mike Atkins of AEN. The panelists discussed issues such as the “heckler’s veto,” the historical, sociological, and structural reasons for increased disruptions on campus, and the importance of establishing clear codes of conduct.
The third panel, “Campus Speech and Violence,” was also moderated by Sam Tenenbaum and featured Mark Yudof, Mark Rotenberg of Hillel International, and Professor Charles Lipson of the University of Chicago. The panelists discussed ways to balance promoting robust debates and a diversity of opinion with the need to consider public safety, as well as the challenge of determining the limits of free speech.
The fourth and final panel, “Free Speech, Hate and Campus Climate,” was moderated by Ken Waltzer and featured Professor Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago, President Tim Killeen of the University of Illinois, Chancellor Richard Herman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Emily Briskman of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, and Professor Jide Nzelibe of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. The panelists described how their own institutions addressed the issues of defending free speech, responding to disturbances, and disciplining disruptors, and discussed how free speech was key to improving civic engagement, protecting minority groups, advancing social movements.
Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio delivered a keynote address, in which he emphasized the centrality of freedom of speech, expression, and intellectual inquiry to the purpose of the university.