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Recorded Free Speech Events

Hate Speech and Free Speech

Description: From white nationalist demonstrations to viral memes, from political misinformation to online trolls, hate speech is everywhere. In the United States, the First Amendment right of free speech protects most hate speech. Join this workshop to discuss the tension between free speech and hate speech on college campuses and online. Can we respond in ways that address the harms of hate speech while protecting free speech rights?

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Lambe,  Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Delaware2020-2021 Fellow of the University of California Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement

    Jennifer Lambeis an associate professor in the Communication Department at the University of Delaware, with a joint appointment in the Legal Studies minor and the Center for Political Communication. Lambe is a 2020-2021 Fellow with    The University of California NationalCenter on Free Speech and Civic Engagement. Lambe received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Her research and teaching focus broadly on media and democracy. Her areas of interest include (a) freedom of expression; (b) media policy/law/ethics; and (c) the effects of media. In 2017 she co-authored the second edition of Media Effects and Society with Elizabeth M. Perse. Other current and recent projects include a forthcoming book,   tentatively titled Remedies for Hate Speech, improved measurement of public (and campus) willingness to censor,   updating measurement of political tolerance, public opinion about celebrity and athlete free speech, net neutrality, and campaign finance issues. Lambe has been partnering with the Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Delaware for five years to provide campus programming about the tensions between free speech and hate speech. Their largest collaboration was a two-day symposium entitled “Speech Limits in Public Life: At the Intersection of FreeSpeech and Hate.

Keynote: Can Speech Truly Be Free? Who Can Say What When?  

Description: This event will serve as the keynote speech of UC Merced's inaugural Free Speech Week. Our keynote speaker will provide historical and contemporary perspectives on freedom of speech and expression and discuss implications for the academic environment. President White will also participate in a Q&A session during the second part of the keynote address that will be moderated by Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Dania Matos.

Speaker: Dr. Lori S. White, President, DePauw University

    Lori S. White is the 21st President of DePauw University. Dr. White has spent over 30 years working in higher education; most recently as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and a Professor of Practice at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the first woman and the first person of color to serve as DePauw's president. Dr. White is active nationally in several higher education organizations and has served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Foundation. Dr. White earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in education administration and policy analysis, with an emphasis in higher education. She also participated in Harvard’s Management and Leadership in Education Program.

Moderator: Dania Matos, J.D. Associate Chancellor & Chief Diversity Officer, University of California, Merced 

Navigating Issues of Free Speech & Academic Freedom Within Academia 

Description: The objectives of the event are to a) help familiarize academic audiences with the nuances associated with navigating free speech as instructors, researchers, and students; b) introduce academic freedom and how it may intersect with free speech within higher education, and c) acquaint academic audiences with available campus resources at UC Merced concerning free speech and academic freedom. After attending the event, the academic audience will have a working knowledge of issues surrounding free speech, academic freedom, and the valuable campus resources available to aid in navigating these issues.


Dr. Jonathan Grady, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students

    Dr. Jonathan Grady serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Studentsat UC Merced. Utilizing a social justice framework rooted in community cultural wealth, criticalness, accountability, and love, Dr. Grady focuses on building structures and systems to enhance campus climate, improving student success outcomes, and creating a more equitable, just, and inclusive institutional culture. Dr. Grady promotes excellence in all that he does and creates critical pedagogical practices and strategies that question current norms and practices and seeks to empower and uplift students and their communities. Dr. Grady holds a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in urban education with a concentration in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master’s degree in Africana Studies from Cornell University.

Dr. Chris Kello, Interim Vice Provost & Graduate Dean, Professor of Cognitive & Information Sciences

    Dr. Chris Kello earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz.He was a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and advanced research associate at the House Ear Institute before joining the faculty at George Mason University in 2001. He received an early career award from the National Science Foundation for his integration of computational and experimental studies of speech and reading, and went on to become program director of the Perception, Action, and Cognition program at NSF. He also oversaw two NSF Science of Learning Centers and received an NSF Director’s award before joining UC Merced in 2008 as a Professor of Cognitive Science.Dr. Kello has served as both Interim and Associate Graduate Dean for several years, and he has led or co-led several sponsored research projects totaling over $6 million dollars, including two NSF-funded graduate training programs. He has over 100 publications across a variety of fields and research communities, with a broad emphasis on interdisciplinary studies of human behavior.

Free Speech is a Human Right 

Description: Free speech is the underpinning of a free society; without it, the defense of human rights and resistance against oppression are impossible. Yet in democracies and autocracies alike, attacks on expression have grown at a startling rate in recent years, limiting the ability of individuals to speak their minds, engage in uncensored dialogue, and hold their leaders to account. This session will focus on how populism and polarization have affected free speech in countries around the world, and explore how international advocacy can support and defend the brave individuals who speak out, challenge tyranny, defend the truth, and make the case for freedom.

Speaker: Nicholas Perez, Manager for Free Expression and Education | PEN America

    Nicholas “Niko” Perez (he/him/his) is the manager for free expression and education at PEN America. He supports PEN America’s advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. Perez previously worked for the Columbia University Human Rights Advocates Program and consulted for the Human Rights Education and Training Section at the United Nations. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University in human rights and humanitarian policy and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in international politics. He also was a Global Leadership Fellow at Waseda University in Japan, a Model United Nations advisor at Mira Costa High School, and a forensics researcher for the Yahad-in Unum Genocide Research Agency.

How Higher Education Has Failed to Teach Critical Thinking in Public Discourse 

Description: America has a democracy deficit, which shows most frequently in a debased public discourse.  It’s easy to blame this deterioration of public discourse on ignorance, yet the number of highly educated people using the tools of critical thinking to mount attacks on the “other side” while ignoring weaknesses in their own positions suggests the cause is much deeper.  I believe our political discourse has become debased not in spite of higher education, but partly because of it.  In explaining how we have inadvertently contributed to motivated reasoning, I will offer an alternative educational approach designed to help our students become capable of critical reflection as well as critical attack.  

Speaker: Gregg Camfield, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Professor, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

    Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Gregg Camfield joined the University of California, Merced, in July of 2007. As UC Merced’s second-most-senior executive, Camfield provides leadership for campus administrative operations and serves as the university’s chief academic officer. He is thus responsible for planning, development, and improvement of all academic programs, policies, and infrastructure. He oversees faculty recruitment, retention, and renewal processes as well as a rigorous review of faculty appointments, tenure, and promotion. He also oversees planning, quality, and delivery of student education, working closely with the Merced Division of the University of California Academic Senate. In addition, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Camfield convene, as appropriate, vice-chancellors and other senior administrators to address issues that cut across divisional lines, oversees the campus budget-request process, and leads strategic planning and other strategic campus initiatives in close collaboration with the chancellor. In his time at UC Merced, Camfield has been chair of UC Merced’s initial accreditation team, chair of Undergraduate Council, chair of the humanities faculty group, and served for four years as UC Merced’s first Vice Provost for the Faculty. Camfield earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He has held academic appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of the Pacific, where he also was director of the University Honors Program. He is a scholar of American literature and culture, with two books on Mark Twain, one on American literary humor, and several editions. He has also published over 40 scholarly research articles and reviews, on topics ranging from 18th to 20th-century authors, and has shared his scholarship more broadly by contributing to web-sites, museums, government reports, school curricula, and documentary films.

Free Speech in Everyday Life

Description: At a time when free speech is often pitted against other progressive axioms—namely diversity, inclusion, and equality—PEN America has advocated that the drive to create a more inclusive society need not, and must not, compromise robust protections for free speech. In this session, Jonathan Friedman, Director of PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program, will discuss the history of free speech as a progressive, democratic value, and its interlinkages with movements for social justice, as well as offer practical tips for balancing free speech and inclusion in everyday life, from classroom conversations to online interactions, to university administration. The session will have robust time for questions from the audience about free speech in America today.

Speaker: Jonathan Friedman, Director, Free Expression and Education | PEN America

Jonathan Friedman(he/him/his) is the director of free expression and education at PEN America, where he oversees PEN America’s advocacy, analysis, and outreach in the national debate around free speech and inclusion in higher education. He served as lead author on PEN America’s 2019 report, Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America, and on the production of its digital Campus Free Speech Guide. Friedman holds a Ph.D. in international education from New York University and has previously taught courses at NYU and Columbia University in comparative and international education, higher education, and social theory. His research on American and international higher education has been published in leading academic journals, and he regularly provides commentary on campus free speech issues for national news media. He has previously received awards for his teaching, research, and leadership.

Link to Bio: 

Using Our Voices Together: Collaborations Between Students and Administrators to Address Campus Speech Challenges

Description: Conventional wisdom has it that student leaders and campus administrators are often at odds. But that does not always hold true. Rather, there are ample opportunities for partnership that can result in positive impacts on campus climate. Join a panel of students and student affairs professionals for a dynamic conversation about an area ripe for collaboration: responding to difficult campus speech issues, both on-line and in-person.


Le’Trice Curl, Associate Dean of Students, Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Le’Trice Curl serves as the Associate Dean of Students for the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) at UC Merced. As a proud member of the founding staff, Le’Trice joined UC Merced in 2005. Since that time Le’Trice led the creation, growth, and development of the Office of Student Life, and is now advancing the OSRR areas of Student Conduct and Integrity Programs, Conflict Mediation and Resolution, Restorative Practices and Community Standards. As a first-generation college student, Le’Trice understands the many amazing opportunities and challenges students face as they navigate the University community. Having worked with college students for over 25 years in the areas of residence education, student life, leadership, student conduct, and diversity education, Le’Trice continues to center the work of student engagement, creating initiatives that celebrate identity, promote integrity, and encourage involvement. Advocating for students and promoting a community that fosters student success is at the heart of her work. Le’Trice holds an M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Colorado State University, and a B.A. in Social Welfare and minor in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley.

Kamyar Nekoui, UC Merced Alumnus (’20) and UC Hastings J.D. Candidate (’23)

    Kamyar Nekoui is a current at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. As a former UC Merced student, Kamyar worked closely with the Dean of Students as the Director of Student Success and Campus Climate. In addition, he was the first intern for UC Merced’s Office of Legal Affairs. In both of these roles, Kamyar worked on a variety of projects including developing policy around free speech and expression, increasing transparent communication between staff and students, and helping to establish the Multicultural Center on campus. His future goals include graduating from Hastings College of the Law in 2023, aiming to work in legal fields involving social justice and equity.

Melissa Barthelemy, PhD Candidate, UC Santa Barbara and 2019-2020 Free Speech Fellow

    Melissa Barthelemy is a Doctoral Candidate in Public History with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She served as a 2019-2020 Free Speech Fellow at the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. As a fellow she created a toolkit for student affairs administrators and university leaders to help them balance demands for freedom of speech and the promises of equal educational opportunities. She has served as an intern and consultant for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs assisting with special projects pertaining to free speech, campus climate, mental health services, and crisis management. Melissa has helped lead campus and community responses to the May 23, 2014 Isla Vista Tragedy in which six UCSB students were killed and 14 individuals were injured in a violent rampage. She is interested in relationships between intolerant and offensive speech, campus safety, and hate crimes committed in college environments. Melissa holds a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law with an emphasis in Public Interest Law, an M.A. from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in United States Constitutional History, and a B.A. from University of California, Santa Cruz in United States History.

Jason Braun, Student Intern for the Office of the Dean of Students and Associate Vice Chancellor; Director of the UC Merced Law Clinic

    Jason Braun is a current Fourth Year UC Merced Student, Majoring in Political Science and Minoring in Anthropology. Jason’s first three years at UC Merced consisted of advocacy in Student Government where he called for greater accessibility of funding for marginalized communities on campus. Specifically, as the Internal Vice President of Student Government at Merced, he acted as an archival source for student inquiries pertaining to government operations, a connection to exciting programs and events, and as a guide for navigating university policies. Furthermore, he has served as the Director of the UC Merced Law Clinic for the past three and half years at UC Merced. Through his work at the Clinic, he acquired legal assistance for students on campus and developed workshops that elaborated on student concerns including Tenant Rights. In addition, through his recent role as the Student Intern for the Dean of Students Office, he has established a marketing campaign aimed at highlighting the enduring strength, resilience, and creativity of students in the pandemic. As Student Intern, Jason has piloted initiatives designed for uplifting the community cultural wealth UC Merced has to offer. He aspires to graduate from law school with an emphasis on judicial reform.

Moderator: Michelle Deutchman, Executive Director of the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement

BIO Information Here