Free speech is a foundational principle of higher education. It is through the robust exchange of ideas, both orthodox and controversial, that higher education fulfills its mission. But freedom of speech is also a source of substantial controversy that often leads to campus unrest. Whether prompted by an invitation to a controversial speaker, protests over historical monuments, peaceful demonstrations at athletic events, social media threats implicating violence or riots, or hecklers hijacking campus events, free speech is both thriving and threatened on campus. Campus attorneys are increasingly called upon for their expertise on the law surrounding the First Amendment or comparable state law or University policy requirements and also for their good judgment in advising campus leaders and other administrators who are planning for or responding to crisis situations.
This one-and-a-half-day CLE workshop will address a wide range of issues related to free speech and campus unrest. Sessions will include content that:
- addresses the perspective of the current generation of students on free speech and the First Amendment;
- helps campuses prepare for and manage campus unrest;
- identifies when speech can be censored or becomes actionable;
- addresses how to keep campuses safe during events featuring controversial speakers;
- explores effective responses to hate speech; and
- touches on other timely and pertinent topics.
Wilmerhale Partner Brian Boynton presented “Thinking Ahead: Anticipating and Planning for Disruptive Speech & Demonstrations.”