Freedom of Expression on College Campuses

MON, SEP 18, 2017 (1:24:47)

Universities that foster reasoned and thoughtful debate are vital to a thriving society. Since the passage of the Bill of Rights, Americans have enjoyed the right to free expression. Many forms of offensive speech are protected by the First Amendment, while obscenity and certain types of violent expression are not.

Pressure to snuff out free speech is increasing. From Middlebury College to UC Berkeley, protests have erupted into violence, turning the “marketplace of ideas” into a danger area for freedom of expression. How can universities strike a balance between free expression and the need for campus peace and safety? What, if any, restrictions should be placed on student expression at a private institution?

+ BIO: Susan Kruth, J.D.

Susan Kruth, J.D., is the Senior Program Officer, legal and public advocacy, for FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). A graduate of the Univeristy of Virginia School of Law, Kruth began by working to protect free speech through a fellowship with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, VA. She has also completed civil rights internships with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & AIDS Project.

Kruth is the author of numerous articles, listed in FIRE’s and other online publications; for example, “Professors’ Rights to Free Speech at Risk Nationwide,” The Huffington Post, 25 November 2014.

+ BIO: Reginald Oh, J.D.

Reginald Oh, J.D., is a prolific constitutional law scholar whose work focuses on distributive justice — the ways in which justice succeeds or fails when gender and race are involved. He has in the past two years spoken at more than 30 national and international conferences. For example, he presented “Race, Racism and Belonging” at the International Congress for Law and Mental Health in Padua, Italy.

At Cleveland-Marshall, Professor Oh teaches seminars on the Fourteenth Amendment and on Legal Issues in Education. His articles, such as “Interracial Marriage in the Shadows of Jim Crow: Racial Segregation as Racial and Gender Subordination,” focus on history, politics, linguistic analysis and race and gender. “Regulating White Desire: Anti-miscegenation, Racial Segregation and the Protection of White Supremacy,” which examines the gendered nature of racial segregation, is forthcoming in the Wisconsin Law Review.

Case Western Reserve University