Skip to main content

Students, faculty and staff will celebrate UNC’s sixth annual First Amendment Day on Tuesday, Sept. 23 during National Banned Books Week.

Organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, First Amendment Day allows the University community to explore, understand and discuss the importance of each right protected by the First Amendment and the role of the public university as a marketplace of ideas.

Faculty and students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law have coordinated events throughout the day that include panel discussions on a variety of topics, musical performances and book readings, including a reading by Chancellor Carol L. Folt.

Events planned for First Amendment Day include:

  • First Amendment Day Opening Ceremony – Front steps of Carroll Hall, 9:30-10 a.m.

As a kick-off, Anne Klinefelter, associate professor of law, will speak about freedom of speech and its value to the University’s mission. Kyle Vilemain, the Student Body Vice President, will also read the First Amendment. Other speakers at the event include School of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Susan King, UNC Center for Media Law and Policy Co-Director Cathy Packer and Buck Yarborough, senior director of government relations at Time Warner Cable. 

  • #YesAllSpeech, Part 1 – Front steps of Carroll Hall, 9:31 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

A student-led social media campaign, #YesAllSpeech will allow participants to share why First Amendment freedoms matter to them. Student volunteers will take photos of participants with signs, and it is encouraged that photos are shared on social media under the hashtags “uncfree” and “yesallspeech.” Raffle prizes will also be given away.

#YesAllSpeech, Part 2 will continue in the Pit from 12:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

  • Banned Book Reading – The Pit, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James W. Dean Jr., among others, will read from banned books. A selection of banned books will also be on display at the event.

  • First Amendment Day Keynote Address, “Unlearning Liberty” and “Freedom From Speech:” Why Everyone Should Be Concerned About Censorship on Campus – Room 111, Carroll Hall, 7:01-8 p.m.

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), will discuss the cultural value of free speech in higher education. As a lawyer, author and columnist, Lukianoff will draw on his experiences battling for freedom of speech on campus and share what cases of censorship have taught students on college and university campuses.

A complete list of events can be found here.

Participants are encouraged to use the hashtag “uncfree” on social media throughout the day to share photos and tweets from the events.

By Olivia Hart, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published September 22, 2014