A Town hall w/ Michael Lawrence, MSU’s Foster Swift Collins & Smith Professor of Constitutional Law.

MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences building
404 Wilson Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824

Speech on College Campuses: Is the ground shifting around freedom of expression in public universities?

A growing set of cases across campuses across the United States have challenged conventional expectations about speech in public universities. High profile but controversial speakers have been barred from speaking on a variety of grounds, such as public safety. Are we seeing a change in the application of First Amendment principles, or are other values and principles coming in conflict with the First Amendment and reshaping policy and practice?

In this discussion, Michael A. Lawrence, Foster Swift Professor of Constitutional Law from the MSU College of Law, will kick off discussion by speaking on the First Amendment as it relates to public universities, highlighting individual rights, permissible limits and the unique aspects of the academy that make this protection so essential to our everyday operation.

The moderator, William H. Dutton, Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy in the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, will then open the floor for discussion. It is well known that the First Amendment has a long and important history within U.S. public universities. Protecting basic freedoms, such as speech and the press, tie directly to issues of academic freedom in higher education and the larger society. As such, and in light of recent controversies, it is essential for faculty, staff and students to understand this important constitutional provision and its connection to changes in policy and practice on college campuses.

Michael Lawrence studies constitutional law and racial injustice.