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In March 2017, Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger was seriously injured when protesters, angry with a speaker whose views they opposed, turned violent. Professor Stanger was there to verbally challenge the speaker. She never got the chance, and the invited speaker never spoke.
This incident stands out among several in which speakers invited to campuses were denied the right to speak by protesters or merely by threats of violence. “Political life and discourse in the United States is at a boiling point,” says Professor Stanger, “and nowhere is the reaction to that more heightened than on college campuses.”
Last year, at Reed College in Oregon, a group of students began protesting three times a week in a required first-year humanities course, objecting to course content and condemning Reed faculty for perpetuating discourse that the students saw as anti-black and closed off to dialogue and criticism.
In her October Washington Post op-ed, Reed Professor Lucia Martinez Valdivia, who lectured during these protests, wrote, "In the face of intimidation, educators must speak up, not shut down. Ours is a position of unique responsibility: We teach people not what to think, but how to think."
Join Professor Stanger and Professor Martinez Valdivia on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 for “Speech on Campus: When Protests Turn Extreme.” What led to the protests on their campuses? Why did Middlebury agree to host such a controversial speaker? What has been learned from these incidents? What are the limits of free speech protection for both speakers and protesters? How can other colleges and universities deal with the challenge of providing platforms for the exchange of ideas while also securing public safety? Have Americans lost the ability to disagree peacefully? As Stanger wrote, “Our constitutional democracy will depend on whether Americans can relearn how to engage civilly with one another.”
This event is another in the “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education and American Society” series sponsored by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and co-sponsored by the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at ASU. This discussion will be held on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum.
Allison Stanger is the Russell Leng ’60 professor of international politics and economics at Middlebury College. Her most recent book, "One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy," was published by Yale University Press in fall 2009 (paperback edition published in January 2011). Stanger received her doctorate in political science from Harvard University. She also holds an Master of Arts in regional studies — Soviet Union (Harvard), a graduate diploma in economics (London School of Economics), and a Bachelor of Science in actuarial science/mathematics (Ball State University).
Lucía Martínez Valdivia is an assistant professor of English and humanities at Reed College. She works primarily in early modern English poetry and non-dramatic prose, with a focus on Reformation politics and poetics. A chapter from her first book project, "Mere Meter: Early Modern Metrical Psalms and the Sound of English Poetry," is forthcoming in a new history of English literature from Cambridge University Press. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Oregonian and the Chicago Tribune. Martínez Valdivia received her doctorate in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in addition to a Master of Arts in English and comparative literature from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Music from Florida State University.
Continuing Legal Education Credit (CLE) is available with this event. The State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement. This activity may qualify for up to 1.0 hours toward your annual CLE requirement for the State Bar of Arizona, including 0.0 hour(s) of professional responsibility. CLE participants should register here.
Parking will be available in the University Center 2 Visitor Lot, located on the south side of Fillmore between First Street and Central Avenue, for $3 per hour.
For more information about the newly established School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, please visit scetl.asu.edu. For questions about this event, email SCETLEvents@asu.edu or call 480-965-0155.