Human Rights Activist Suzanne Nossel Addresses Looming Threats to American Free Speech, Mar.11

Human Rights Activist Suzanne Nossel Addresses Looming Threats to American Free Speech, Mar. 11

The PEN America CEO will headline a two-part dialogue at Fairfield University on the importance of protecting and defending the First Amendment in a time of political upheaval.

"In a time of dissension and political upheaval, free expression seems to be a watershed topic. How do we ensure that our students have the opportunity to be heard?"

— Elizabeth Petrino, PhD, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization in the U.S., will visit Fairfield University, on Monday, March 11, and two weeks later on Tuesday, March 26, for a two-part lecture and open dialogue on the importance of free speech and its inclusion on college campuses.

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel will kick-off the organization’s initial visit with a powerful and provocative lecture in the Dolan School of Business on March 11 at 5 p.m. titled “Whose Freedom, Whose Speech: Free Speech in the Era of Donald Trump.” During her presentation, Nossel will address current and emerging threats to American free speech, including the rise of the digital age and ideological polarization, and will emphasize the need for vigilance in defending and protecting the First Amendment against these dangers. The lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Dean’s Office in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Communication, the Humanitarian Action program, and the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

“We decided to bring in Suzanne Nossel as an opportunity to discuss free speech at a crisis moment,” said Elizabeth Petrino, PhD, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “In a time of dissension and political upheaval, free expression seems to be a watershed topic. How do we ensure that our students have the opportunity to be heard? What happens to our right to free speech as protected by the Fifth Amendment when there are vocal minorities that might impact our expression? These are critical questions at this moment for our students, faculty, and community.”

Following Nossel’s lecture, PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Initiative project director Jonathan Friedman and program coordinator Adeline Lee will return to campus on March 26, to engage students in a lively and intimate dialogue on free speech and inclusion at Fairfield University. The interactive event will address contemporary issues of free speech, explore boundaries between protected and unprotected speech in the campus and classroom setting, and equip students with "ground rules" to effectively dialogue across differences. In facilitated groups, students will also be encouraged to reflect on their own political and cultural identities, and consider how these identities influence their own unique perspectives regarding these issues.  

“As a result of these events, we hope students will be able to think more clearly about the restrictions on speech, and consider how to speak their minds among their peers and teachers,” Dr. Petrino said.

"Whose Freedom, Whose Speech: Free Speech in the Era of Donald Trump” featuring PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel

Date: Monday, March 11, 2019
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Dolan School of Business Dining Room | Fairfield University

Additional Details:

In her lecture, Nossel will address current and emerging threats to American free speech and emphasize the need for vigilance in defending and protecting the First Amendment. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Elizabeth Petrino at epetrino@fairfield.edu.

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Last modified: 02-27-19 12:00 AM

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