Dual Degree Student Lands Privacy Job in Washington

natashaNatasha Duarte, a fourth-year student in Carolina’s dual-degree program, will graduate with a J.D. and a master’s in Mass Communication this week.  At graduation she will be honored as the outstanding master’s graduate in the School of Media and Journalism.

Last month, Natasha successfully defended her thesis, in which she examined law enforcement’s use of big data to identify those who are at risk of committing crimes.

After graduation and a summer of studying for the bar exam, Natasha will head to Washington, D.C., to begin work at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) as the Ron Plesser Fellow. Her work at CDT will focus on consumer privacy and government surveillance issues.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help fight for better tech policy and meaningful privacy protections,” Natasha said.

Congratulations Natasha!


Student Reports on Free Speech Conference

conferenceIn early April, I participated in a “Free Speech on Campus” conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Newseum Institute and co-sponsored by the Knight Foundation. There, 41 students from across the country exchanged thoughts about the importance of protecting free expression on college campuses while also dealing positively with the very real issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, and culture and bias.

According to a recently released Gallup survey, most students (78%) say colleges should expose students to all types of speech and viewpoints, but a significant minority (22%) say colleges should prohibit biased or offensive speech in the furtherance of a positive learning environment.

What speech, if any, rises to the level of violence sparked a debate at the conference and provided insight about why some students might be willing to support speech restrictions. Some students argued that, depending on the context, racial slurs and the incorrect use of gender pronouns amounted to a violent attack while others worried about the implications of college administrators stepping in to decide what speech is and is not acceptable.

Fanta Aw, assistant vice president for campus life at American University and a sociologist by training, expressed concerns about students’ lack of understanding when it comes to free speech. She said, “Students often say ‘I’m feeling unsafe’ but, in fact, what they mean is, I’m feeling uncomfortable.” Aw would like colleges to help students deconstruct such terms and to work harder to create an environment where students value and learn from difficult conversations.

With the rise of student protests on campuses, colleges are being forced to consider how they have gotten to this point and what should be done. Jennifer Grygiel, social media specialist at Syracuse University’s school of public communications, reminded students that although social media platforms have fundamentally changed how students advocate for their causes, “we need to have conversations in real life” to make social progress.

That’s why I feel fortunate to have been a part of the conference at Newseum. There, I had an opportunity to voice my opinions and listen to the opinions of others. While our perspectives and viewpoints differed because of our lived experiences, we all agreed that we should be working together to foster a “marketplace of ideas” on our campuses. Suggestions included holding meetings under the Chatham House Rule, which would provide anonymity to speakers and encourage the sharing of information; increasing civic understanding through events like Carolina’s First Amendment Day; and organizing free speech conferences on our own campuses.

Free speech is complicated. Sometimes you feel like you are being forced to choose between your cultural identity and the rights of others to express their opinions. Perhaps, as Barack Obama said, “The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech.”  


Recent media law grad publishes in legal journal

UNC media law graduate Kevin Delaney has had a shortened version of his master’s thesis published in Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal. The article is “Aereo, the Public Performance Right, and the Future of Broadcasting.”

The article looks at Aereo, a company that offered an inexpensive way for consumers to watch broadcast television via the internet. Specifically, the article explores ABC, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., a 2014 Supreme Court case in which the Court determined that Aereo had violated broadcasters’ exclusive rights to perform copyrighted works publicly. Delaney discusses the Court’s decision and its potential future impact on copyright law and broadcasting.

This is the citation for the article: Kevin W. Delaney, Aereo, the Public Performance Right, and the Future of Broadcasting, 42 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 19 (2016).

Kevin graduated from Carolina’s  JD/MA dual degree program (earning a law degree and a master’s degree in mass communications) in 2015.  He currently is the McCormick Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Congratulations, Kevin!


Media Law Faculty Participate in Friday Center Constitution & Culture Series

Two UNC media law faculty members will speak about free speech on college campuses as part of a Friday Center series titled, “What’s the Big Idea? Constitution in Crisis: The Law & Culture of the United States Constitution.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. on April 28 at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.

The speakers will be Dr. Cathy Packer, co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy and the W. Horace Carter Distinguished Professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism, and William P. Marshall, the Kenan Professor of Law at UNC.

They will discuss legal and cultural aspects of free speech on college campuses.  Packer will discuss the nature of free speech on UNC’s campus today, including how students at UNC and elsewhere think about free expression.  Marshall will address how the First Amendment applies to hate speech, trigger warnings, and bullying and harassment.

Click here or more information about the series. Tickets are $10 or free with a student ID, and are available here.



Media law student selected to attend “Free Speech on Campus” conference

UChanda MarloweNC media law student Chanda Marlowe has been selected to attend a one-day conference on “Free Speech on Campus” in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2016. Forty students were selected. The conference, sponsored by the Newseum Institute and the Knight Foundation, will provide an opportunity for students to discuss the challenges to free expression on college campuses related to conversations about race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual identity.

Chanda is in her third-year of UNC’s dual-degree program, working toward degrees in both law and mass communication. Her primary research interest is the free speech and privacy rights of students.

The goal of the conference is to gather a diverse group of students to explore free expression issues in a meeting consistent with the First Amendment’s provision for a “marketplace of ideas” within society. It’s the first step in a joint initiative exploring contemporary free expression issues on college campuses.

Later this year, the Newseum will host a “Free Expression Fair” in Washington, D.C., where students will demonstrate projects that promote free expression on campus. The Newseum and Knight Foundation ultimately plan to support students in developing an interactive guide to free speech on campus. College students who are interested in free expression issues on campus should be on the lookout for more opportunities to participate in the Newseum’s upcoming events this year.