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Western New England University School of Law to Host Debate on Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2017 - 10:10 AM All News , Law

"safe-spaces, civility contracts, tolerance policies, and offensive speech rules"

On Wednesday, March 1, Western New England University School of Law will host a debate on academic freedom and freedom of speech. The event will take place in the Blake Law Center Moot Court Room at 12:00 p.m. and will be moderated by Matthew Feehan, the interim president of the University’s Chapter of the Federalist Society. The debate will be streamed live online and can be viewed at http://www1.wne.edu/law/live/. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served in the Law Common. 

Mr. Azhar Majeed, vice president of policy reform at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and School of Law Professor Bruce K. Miller will debate strategies such as safe-spaces, civility contracts, tolerance policies, safety-pins, and offensive speech rules. These techniques are championed by some as vital policies to protect vulnerable populations and to curb hateful speech, while others believe these measures are unnecessary and could impact the freedom of faculty and student speech. 

Have well-meaning attempts by college administrators nationwide to protect students by regulating speech, inadvertently affected the first amendment rights of students and faculty members? This is a matter for debate. This debate follows on the heels of the recent presidential election, which was distinguished by its unusually raw rhetoric, and seeks to examine the appropriate balance between protection of first amendment rights and the right of society and vulnerable populations to be free of hurtful speech.

The Western New England University School of Law student chapter of the Federalists Society and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) are sponsoring the event. For more information please contact matthew.feehan@wne.edu