Archive of Events

Aims of Education Address, 2016 

September 22, 2016

Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law

Freedom of Expression in the Face of Religious Extremism

January 16, 2015

When two gunmen stormed the Paris headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the worst terrorist attack in recent French history shook the heart of a nation, also bringing front and center the issue of free speech in face of rising religious extremism. As millions across the globe stand in solidarity under the banner #JeSuisCharlie, there are also important questions to be asked. Should there be limits to free speech? What feeds into fundamentalist fury, and could free expression be blamed for it? Does there need to be a compromise, between freedom of expression, and respect of religious beliefs? To examine these issues and more, we are joined by a diverse panel of leading religious studies and legal scholars, including Professor Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, Professor Todd Henderson, Michael J. Marks Professor of Law and Aaron Director Teaching Scholar, and Professor Brian Leiter, Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values who bring rich expertise and insights to this timely and important discussion. This event is part of the International Policy Program's Foreign Policy Friday series.

Sponsored by the Institute of Politics

The Battle Over Free Speech on College Campuses

March 9, 2016

In 2015 The Atlantic, Salon, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all published pieces about the complex balance between free speech and political correctness on college campuses. This was a pivotal year for this discussion across the country and at the University of Chicago—leaving Americans wondering: How did we get here? Is the First Amendment under attack? Where do you draw the line, if any, between First Amendment rights and offensive speech? Are speech codes and safe spaces needed on campuses? And what responsibility do colleges have to create a climate that encourages an open and respectful exchange of ideas?

Join the Institute of Politics as we welcome the top minds in the country to examine these issues and see how American collegiate experience has evolved.

Editorial Fellow for The Atlantic Adrienne Green

Colby College English Professor, Salon and New Republic contributor Aaron Hanlon

President and CEO of Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), author, and coauthor of The Atlantic's “The Coddling of the American Mind” Greg Lukianoff

UChicago Law Professor and Chair of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression Geoffrey Stone. This event will be moderated by George Washington University Law Professor, author of Lessons in Censorship: How Schools and Courts Subvert Students’ First Amendment Rights, and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Graduate School in Education Catherine Ross. This event is co-sponored by the International House Global Voices Program.

Watch here:

Defending Online Free Speech Cases: Practical Issues for First Amendment Lawyers

April 28, 2016

Paul Alan Levy ('76) of Public Citizen Litigation Group will address students regarding the defense of online free speech cases.

Paul has specialized in free speech issues arising on the Internet. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts throughout the country about the identification of anonymous Internet speakers. His amicus curiae brief in Dendrite v. Doe, whose approach was adopted by New Jersey’s Superior Court Appellate Division, has become the model for other cases. His Internet practice also includes the defense of trademark and copyright claims brought as a means of suppressing critical web sites.

Way With Worlds: Explore and Express

May 3 and May 4, 2016 

Two-day intensive seminar exploring free speech and meaningful dissent, offered by the Center for Leadership and Involvement.

When Freedom of Speech and Security Clash

May 18, 2016

The state of Israel was only five years old when the Supreme Court published, by many accounts, its most important decision. It struck down a ministerial decision (backed by statute) to close a newspaper. It did so based on the notion that Israel, although lacking a written constitution, was a “freedom-aspiring nation,” thus committed to freedom of speech. Constant conflict between security needs and the country’s “liberal DNA” has been a part of Israel ever since. Ilana Dayan, a journalist who studied law and teaches free speech, will take students through the highs and lows of Israel’s struggle to maintain itself and its liberal democracy. We will explore the stories that generated the fiercest struggles, the way they emerged from the shadows, the personal dilemmas of a patriotic reporter, as well as reflections on censorship and self-censorship.

Fellows Seminar sponsored by the Institute of Politics

The Struggle for a Free Press in an Age of Commercial Media

May 19, 2016

Has television news diminished public discourse? Can commercial television divorce money-making concerns? Is it even made for impartial reporting? Case law on those issues is ample but often detached from the day-to-day reality of honest journalists who try to bring the truth to a screen owned by big corporations. This seminar will shift between theory and practice, featuring real-life examples of the dramatic clash between journalism, television and money.

Fellows Seminar sponsored by the Institute of Politics

A Way with Words: Explore and Express

April 21 and 22, 2015

Part of the Way with Words leadership workshop series, offered by the Center for Leadership and Involvement

This two-night seminar focused on transforming conflict into an opportunity. The first interactive session focused on skill-building for how to explore positions and conflicts, from their causes to their underlying motivations, to your own needs and limitations within conflict. The second session focused on expressing viewpoints in the face of difficult conversations, from framing the dialogue to handling emotionally charged conversations, and finally to collaborating and action planning on how to move forward. It was aimed at helping students who wondered how to approach that friend that keeps posting the offensive articles on their Facebook page and recognized that in a society where free speech is valued, a meaningful dissent is vital to furthering the discussion, and that so many things can get in the way: reputation, pride, vulnerability, ego, emotions.

Not Just Another Panel: Finding an Ethic of Free Speech Together

April 22, 2015

On January 6, The University of Chicago released its Report on the Committee of Freedom of Expression, which sparked debate and campus dialogue regarding our need to "speak, write, listen, challenge and learn” freely, while "maintaining a climate of mutual respect” and “civility.” This dialogue attempted to answer questions such as, “How do we maintain such a climate in both theory and practice?” and “Can we define an ethic of free speech?” It was sponsored by the Institute of Politics, University Community Service Center and Spiritual Life.

Who Is Charlie? Charlie Hebdo Journalist Zineb El Rhazoui on Freedom of Expression

February 26, 2015

Following opening remarks by Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Chicago Law School, and introductions by Eve Zuckerman, president of the UChicago French Club, “Charlie Hebdo” journalist Zineb El Rhazoui discusses the context surrounding the Charlie Hebdo attack, the French culture of satire and secularism, and freedom of expression in contemporary society, with questions by Robert Morrissey, the Benjamin Franklin Professor of French Literature and executive director of the France Chicago Center at the University of Chicago. Morrissey then moderates a Q&A session with the audience.

Art on the Move: Party at the Smart

April 11, 2013

UChicago students -- explore the activist art projects from India on view in The Sahmat Collective and create your own art in support of democratic action, tolerance, and free speech. 

After seeing the show, express your ideals by designing and printing personalized slogans on a tote bag you can take home. The evening also features live performances organized in partnership with the South Asian Students Association. 

Liberty vs. License: The Anti-Islamic Video and Responsible Citizenship

October 10, 2012

A teach-in with a faculty panel discussing responses by Muslims in South Asia and the Middle East and the implications for US foreign policy in the region. What is the role of social media, law and politics, the general public in being responsible global citizens where cultures hold different values about free expression?

Cosponsored by Spiritual Life and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality/Civil Islam Program. 

Racism on The Radio

May 2, 2011

The panel will provide a critical analysis of the recent racist 'parody' aired on Twin Cities radio station KDWB towards the Hmong community. The Twin Cities has the largest urban population of Hmong in the U.S. (over 70,000). This incident has broader implications regarding who holds the power on the airwaves and what is deemed as 'free speech' and 'parody' towards communities of color and other marginalized groups. Anyone interested in media/press representation of marginalized communities and discourse regarding 'parody' and discrimination towards these groups should attend. 

Bruce Thao [Moderator], AM/PhD in the School of Social Science Administration at the University of Chicago

John V. Moore, Adjunct Professor in Communications at Columbia College

Bill Yoshino, Midwest Director of the Japanese American Citizens League

Free Speech in the Age of Wikileaks 

February 26, 2011

A panel-style lecture focused on free speech, the future of journalism, the Shield Bill, and Wikileaks. This is an audience questions oriented conversation, with most of the panel time designated for questions. 

Moderator: Charles Lipson
Geoffrey Stone
Annmarie Lipinski
Joe Morris
Michael Macleod-Ball

Academic Freedom Symposium

May 5-7, 2010

Role of Free Speech on Campus 

May 8, 2009

Please join us for a discussion on the role of free speech on campus. We will explore issues related to creating and sustaining an environment that allows for open, rigorous, and intense intellectual inquiry and debate, while fostering civil discourse both on campus and in the classroom.

Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Provost

Geoffrey R. Stone, Law School
Margaret M. Mitchell, Divinity School
Ramon Gutierrez, Department of History 

Mark Hansen, Dean, Social Sciences Division

OUTSpoken Speaker Series: Hate Crimes & Hate Speech 

February 18, 2009

In Defense of Academic Freedom

November 10, 2008

Two panels on academic freedom, chaired by Tariq Ali, editor of Verso Books and New Left Review.The growing evidence of outside interference in the hiring process at universities and the recent tenure denials at DePaul University, has prompted leading scholars across the nation to begin to speak out in defense of academic freedom. The DePaul University Academic Freedom Committee, Verso Books, and Diskord Journal sponsored a public symposium held in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago.