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Emily Ryan
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Experts to discuss intersection of free speech, social media

Wed, 03/12/2014

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will host a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in The Commons at Spooner Hall to address “Data & Democracy: What is Free Speech in the Age of Social Media?” This event is hosted by The Commons, the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the Office of the Provost.

The panel will be moderated by Deanell Reece Tacha, the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the School of Law at Pepperdine University, and a former faculty member of the KU School of Law. Panelists will include Frank LoMonte, executive director, Student Press Law Center; Amy Gajda, associate professor of law, Tulane University Law School; and Stephen McAllister, E.S. & Tom W. Hampton Distinguished Professor of Law, KU School of Law.

“Flagship universities play an important role in our society as centers for the free and open exchange of information, the expression of professional and academic opinions, and the pursuit of wide areas of research or inquiry,” said Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “That role carries with it great responsibility, and this important conversation sets KU apart as a leader in exploring the ramifications of protecting academic freedom while operating responsibly in the public forum of social media.”

Amid a changing social landscape of connectivity and communication, the legal and societal landscape of what is meant by “free speech” may be shifting as well. While the First Amendment guarantees free speech, the panel will address the substance and forms of that protection in the age of social media.

In addition, the panel will discuss what free speech and privacy mean in an era of immediate and unfettered access to information, and whether there are new rules that characterize social engagement and free expression today.

The event is open to the public and will be streamed online at http://www.thecommons.ku.edu/FreeSpeech/.  Those who are unable to attend in person may submit questions via Twitter using hashtag #DataDemocracy and may follow the discussion on the Twitter feed for The Commons, @TheCommonsKU.

 



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Best thing about Kansas? The sunsets. Always. #exploreKU shot by umbrellaphoto on insta. http://t.co/KB7MhzkzDm
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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