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Thursday 02/25

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



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; Kamyar Nekoui, UC Merced Alumnus (’20) and UC Hastings J.D. Candidate (’23); Melissa Barthelemy, Ph.D. Candidate, UC Santa Barbara and 2019-2020 Free Speech Fellow; & Jason Braun, Student Intern for the Office of the Dean of Students and Associate Vice Chancellor, Director of the UC Merced Law Clinic


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.




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

Bio Information: Click Here