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What is the role of a university in preserving First Amendment rights for its community? Are the expectations different for an institution of higher education than, say, for a governmental agency? Can a college campus protect free speech and still foster an inclusive environment for all?Constitutional law scholar Howard Gillman will address such questions Wednesday, May 30, at UC Santa Barbara, when he delivers the 2018 Wade Clark Roof Lecture on Human Rights. His talk, “Free Speech on Campus,” is presented by the campus’s Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life. Free and open to the public, the event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall.
The chancellor of UC Irvine, Gillman co-authored the 2017 book “Free Speech on Campus” with Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law. Gillman also is co-chair of the advisory board for the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, which was launched by the UC in 2017 to support and advance research, education and advocacy on such issues.
Controversy over free speech today is an increasingly frequent occurrence on college campuses. Impassioned demands to censor any expression deemed hateful, disrespectful or bullying — and to ensure an inclusive, nondiscriminatory learning environment — are constantly being weighed against equally fervent advocacy for completely free speech, and charges that censorship threatens free inquiry.
In his talk, Gillman will examine why campuses must provide supportive learning environments for an increasingly diverse student body, but can never restrict the expression of ideas. After discussing the central arguments for prohibiting the censorship of ideas on campus, he will review what colleges can and can’t do when dealing with free speech controversies, including controversies around large-scale demonstrations that create risks of violence.
Kathleen Moore, UCSB professor and department chair in religious studies, and interim director of the Capps Center, sought to bring Gillman …