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Responsibilities and Rights: Community and Free Speech RSVP


How does “free speech” operate on a private, liberal arts campus? Where are the legal boundaries? How do we make sense of the impact of speech on others, especially in relation to power, equity, and privilege? Where are the tensions between speech and community?

This symposium seeks to explore these questions and more as we situate them in the context of Lewis & Clark College. Join us for a day of discussion and dialogue with students, staff, and faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Education and Counseling, Law School, and Common Services.

Event open to Lewis & Clark community only.

Council Chamber
When Americans discuss the issue of free speech, they frequently include references to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That amendment explicitly protects “the freedom of speech,” and the Fourteenth Amendment has been interpreted to include a similar protection. But because those two constitutional amendments only provide rights against government actors, they do not necessarily provide the controlling rule in many contexts where people might assume they have a right to free speech. One such context is the campus of a private college like Lewis & Clark.This session will include explanations of (1) what actions by the college, or government regulators of the college, would and would not implicate the constitutionally protected free speech rights of students, faculty, and staff, (2) what additional constitutional protections students, faculty, and staff at public colleges and universities have against actions taken by school administrators, (3) how the Oregon Constitution’s protection of free speech compares to the protection in the U.S. Constitution, and (4) the key debates that have arisen when different countries have considered whether and how to provide constitutional protection of speech. Although the approach a private college takes to balancing free speech interests with other important interests is not dictated by domestic or international constitutional norms, those norms can certainly help inform the conversation as the appropriate balance is sought.
How do we set up spaces for idea exchange? Whose voices are heard? This panel will explore the historical contexts and contemporary realities of argument, information exchange, and community.
With the advancement of technology, students receive their information from a variety of sources. The kind of news that students receive can influence their discussions both inside and outside the classroom. This session will explore the effects the media has on the Lewis & Clark academic and student life community.
Should there be limits at L&C on which speakers can come to campus and/or on what speakers can say on campus?
After participants grab dinner, they will engage in a structured dialogue on ​the specific question of ​whether our democracy should protect hate speech. The deliberation process will include a reading comparing the U.S. with Germany. In ​small ​groups​, with the assistance of a facilitator,​ ​participants will present ​pro/con position​s​based on the reading​. An open discussion will follow​ these presentations​. ​In the discussion the participants will be encouraged to reflect on new information ​that they obtained ​from the symposium and to work toward a consensus in their group. At the close of the discussion all the groups will share ​their ​points of agreement and dissent. The deliberation process ​is designed to ​encourage ​an​ understanding of different viewpoints and ​participation​​in a civil dialogue ​rather than a debate.