Symposium Program/Schedule

Peaceful protest on UA Mall

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

James E. Rogers College of Law
1201 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85721


8:00 am – 9:00 am Registration
Continental breakfast for Symposium attendees
8:15 am Seating for keynote begins
9:00 am – 10:15 am

Keynote: Erwin Chemerinsky
Keynote is open to all registered for Symposium and Keynote

10:15 am - 10:30 am Break
10:30 am - 11:45 am

A) Is Threatening Speech Free Speech?
Balancing free speech with safety and security has been a challenge since the founding of the United States. That challenge is especially acute on college campuses where higher learning includes the free flow of information. In addition, as sources of information grow, so does the challenge. Social media have become open channels for all sorts of communication, including threats. This session looks at examples of online threats and explains why they are not protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

Dr. Joseph Russomanno, Ph.D, is an associate professor with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and a faculty affiliate in ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

B) Classroom Environments as a Battleground
Discussions about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and micro aggressions have occurred this year on most college campuses. The impact and implications of these issues are felt in faculty senate meetings, deans’ offices, student organization spaces, and the classroom. In a national political climate that is polarizing, students who speak out about experiences of oppression and exclusion by the behavior of faculty and fellow students in the classroom and those who believe students are demanding university policies and practices that will result in overprotection, coddling, and censorship square off. The vitriol can overshadow the need to thoughtfully promote academic freedom, encourage free expression and open dialogue, and maintain campuses that foster respectful discussion and behavior. This panel will discuss how we address the challenge of open dialogue and academic freedom within a polarizing climate of disrespectful debate.

Derek Bambauer, J.D., is Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, where he teaches Internet law and intellectual property.

Dr. Kevin Byrne, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Theatre, Film, and Television at the University of Arizona

Dr. Karen Seat, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona. 

Najwa Nabti, J.D., is the Director of Undergraduate Law and Master of Legal Studies Programs, as well as a Professor of Practice, at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona (moderator)

11:45 am -12:45 pm Welcome by Kendal Washington White, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students

Lunch for Symposium attendees provided by El Charro
12:45 pm - 2:15 pm

Plenary session: The First Amendment in the Digital Age
This session provides foundational​ information regarding prohibited speech categories and forum analysis which form the foundation for addressing First Amendment challenges in the digital age. An overview of adjudication trends involving the Internet and social media will be provided as well as a sample of high-profile First Amendment challenges facing higher education.  

Presenter: Dr. Lee Bird

2:15 pm - 2:30 pm Break
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

A) Is it Protected Speech? The Intersection of Workplace Threats, Student Code of Conduct, and the First Amendment
Campus administrators often face the difficult task of determining whether or not the expressive speech of employees and students violates campus policy. When expressive speech does not violate policy, but is negatively impacting the campus climate, what alternatives are available?  A panel of student affairs and human resource professionals will share their thoughts and expertise in addressing these challenging situations. 

Dr. Lee Bird, Ph.D, is the Vice President for Student Affairs at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater and co-author of  The First Amendment on Campus: A Handbook for College and University Administrators (2006), published by NASPA.

Dr. Helena Rodrigues, Ph.D. is the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Joseph Russomanno, Ph.D, is an associate professor with the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and a faculty affiliate in ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

B) Civil Discourse, Deliberation, and American Higher Education: Then and Now (Ethics CLE)
This session explores the history and practice of civil discourse on college and university campuses, within classroom settings and beyond. Surveying the empirical research on civil discourse, the session will help to make sense of how we got to where we are now and what we can learn from it.

Timothy J. Shaffer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. He is also principal research specialist with the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

A) The First Amendment and the Future of the Free Student Press
Experts in media law, student press rights and journalism education come together to discuss how the First Amendment rights of student-run print, digital and broadcast college media outlets continue to face challenges on college and university campuses nationwide, and to explore what can be done about it.

Daniel C. Barr, esq. is a partner in the Phoenix office of Perkins Coie L.L.P and legal counsel for the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona

Sarah Garrecht Gassen is a columnist, editorial writer and intern/apprentice coordinator of the Arizona Daily Star; adjunct faculty and high school outreach director at the UA School of Journalism

Frank LoMonte, esq. is the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Student Press Law Center

B) The Power of Student Voices: Dissent as a Tool for Change
This past year, student leaders who engaged in activism across the country used their voices to push for change. At the same time, a majority of first-year students (64% of over 141,000 surveyed) agree that dissent is a critical component of the political process. In this panel discussion, student leaders will discuss how they have used direct action, expressive speech and social media as tools to harness the power of student voices.

Kenzie Bevington is a student organizer and activist who is getting her BA in law at the University of Arizona.

Kevyn Butler is a recent graduate from the University of Arizona School of Dance. As the former Co-President of the Black Student Union, Kevyn created countless events around the intersection of social justice, wellness of the college student, and blackness.

Mónica Contreras is a University of Arizona alumni where she majored in Mexican American studies and dedicated her time to student organizing.

Celeste González de Bustamante, Ph. D, is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona and an affiliated faculty of the UA Center for Latin American Studies (moderator)