First Amendment Day

The seventh annual First Amendment Day was held on September 29, 2015.


First Amendment Day 2015 1AD2015

Each year, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrates First Amendment Day. This campus-wide, daylong event is designed to both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. Students and other members of the university community read from banned books, sing controversial music and discuss the public university’s special role as a marketplace of ideas and the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights. First Amendment Day is observed during National Banned Books Week.

First Amendment Day is organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is a collaboration between the School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law. Generous funding for the day’s events is provided by Time Warner Cable.


First Amendment Day Opening Ceremony               
Front Steps of Carroll Hall 9:30 am - 10:00 am


Carroll HallHelp us kick off Carolina’s seventh-annual First Amendment Day!

Several members of the Carolina community will speak about our First Amendment freedoms and the value of those freedoms to UNC’s mission, to our democracy, and to our selves. Also speaking will be Buck Yarborough, senior director of government relations-NC for Time Warner Cable, which generously funded the day’s activities. Yarborough is past president and a current member of the board of directors for the North Carolina Cable Telecommunications Association.

These are the others who will speak:

  • William “Bill” Marshall, Kenan Professor of Law at UNC. Marshall has published extensively on freedom of speech and teaches First Amendment and media law. Marshall was deputy White House counsel and deputy assistant to the President of the United States during the Clinton Administration.  He also has served as the solicitor general of the State of Ohio. 
  • Rachel Gogal, student body vice president. Rachel is a public relations and political science major from Raleigh. 
  • Cathy Packer, W. Horace Carter Distinguished Professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. Packer teaches media law.

This event was organized by UNC School of Media and Journalism Associate Professor Michael Hoefges.

How Should Public Schools Accommodate Transgender Students?               
Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Parr CenterCalifornia has enacted legislation ensuring transgender students the same opportunity as all other students to participate in all school activities and programs. The statute, the first of its kind in the nation, requires schools to allow transgender students to use all facilities (including restrooms and locker rooms) that match their gender identity, rather than their sexual identity. In contrast, a bill proposed in Utah would require students either to use only the restroom that corresponds to their sexual identity (documented by a birth certificate or doctor’s examination) or to use a separate restroom set aside for transgender students that must be provided at a student’s request.

What is the best policy with respect gender identity and use of restrooms? The UNC Ethics Bowl Team will debate this and related questions, and then the audience will be invited to join the discussion.

Debate Team #1 is composed of:

  • Brittany Leppert, a senior philosophy major
  • Ellie Beck, a senior peace, war, and defense major
  • Alex Martin, a junior biology and philosophy major
  • Sky Jones, a senior geological sciences major

Debate Team #2 is composed of:

  • Tommy Savransky, a junior psychology and philosophy major
  • Sri Sure, a junior philosophy major with minors in economics and mathematics
  • Jake Feldkamp, a senior philosophy major
  • Moriah Johnson, a senior biology and philosophy major
  • Robert March, a junior mathematics major

The Ethics Bowl Team is coached by Joshua Blanchard, a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy and a research assistant at the UNC Parr Center for Ethics.

Come listen to the UNC Ethics Bowl Team debate and join in the discussion afterward! The Freedom Forum Conference Center is on the third floor of Carroll Hall.

Policing Protests               
Room 5046, UNC School of Law 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm

ProtestThe recent arrests of Black Lives Matter protesters have raised an issue that has always plagued protest movements: nuisance laws and other “content-neutral” restrictions that can effectively silence dissent. In this panel, attorneys and activists will discuss the importance of protest in a democracy, the First Amendment rights at stake, and law enforcement’s handling of protesters. These are the panelists:

  • Scott Holmes (UNC Law ’98), attorney at Brock & Meece, PA, and assistant professor and supervising attorney for the civil litigation clinic at North Carolina Central University School of Law. Holmes has been representing protesters in court for a decade, including the Black Lives Matter Protesters who were recently arrested in Durham.
  • June Beshea, UNC senior and organizer of The Real Silent Sam movement, which seeks to provoke critical dialogue about monuments and buildings in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
  • Desmera Gatewood, Durham activist and organizer for movements including Black Lives Matter and N.C. Raise Up for $15. Gatewood is getting her master’s degree from the American University School of Public Affairs.
  • David Ardia, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Law and co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, will moderate.

Pizza will be served!!

Musical Performances by the Loreleis and Cadence               
Lobby of Manning Hall 12:20 pm - 12:30 pm

loreleis-pictureThis event has been moved to the lobby of Manning Hall

Two of the University’s premier female a cappella groups — the Loreleis and Cadence — will exercise their First Amendment rights by singing controversial music in Manning Hall. Don’t miss this! 


Banned Book Reading               
Lobby of Manning Hall 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

banned book readingThis event has been moved to the lobby of Manning Hall

Come out to see your University Chancellor and others support your right to read! Members of the Coalition of Youth Librarians (COYL) – all graduate students in the UNC School of Information and Library Science – have organized a reading of children’s and adult books that have been banned from school and public libraries.  Organizational efforts were led by COYL President Jeanne Stroud.  Broadcast journalism major Maddie Gardner helped out by creating a sign for this event.

Chancellor Carol Folt will read at 12:30 p.m.

How Copyright and the First Amendment Coexist Today               
Davis Library Research Hub, Second Floor 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Through the centuries, copyright has been used both to thwart and to encourage free speech. Join us to learn how copyright and the First Amendment coexist in the United States today. We’ll discuss recent cases, such as Garcia v. Google, Inc., that blend copyright and First Amendment issues.  In the 2015 Garcia case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit first ordered Google to remove copies of the notorious “Innocence of Muslims” film from YouTube because one of the actors in the film insisted she had a copyright interest in her performance and thus a right to have the film taken down.  Later the court rescinded that order.

This event is sponsored by the Scholarly Communications Working Group. It is being organized by Anne Gilliland, scholarly communications officer for the University Libraries.

Student Journalists Want Better Access to UNC Athletes. What’s the Problem?               
Freedom Forum Conference Center on the Third Floor of Carroll Hall 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Carolina’s student journalists complain about their limited access to student athletes. Three student journalists and Steve Kirschner will discuss the limitations on media access to student athletes and the reasons for them. They also will discuss the University policies restricting student athletes’ use of social media.

Kirschner is the senior associate athletic director for communications at Carolina. He directs strategic communication for the athletic department and oversees media relations and communication for the Tar Heel men’s basketball program.

These are the other panelists:

  • Paige Ladisic, editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel and senior journalism and political science major from Oak Island, N.C.
  • Paul Beam, reporter and graphic designer for Sports Xtra. Paul is a sophomore broadcast journalism major and music minor from Belmont, N.C.
  • Danielle Wallace, a reporter for Sports Xtra. Danielle is a junior broadcast journalism and political science double major with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She is from Waxhaw, N.C.
  • Amanda Martin, a media law attorney in the firm of Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych in Raleigh. Her firm represents several media outlets in the area, including The Daily Tar Heel.
  • Jessa O’Connor will moderate the panel. She is a junior broadcast journalism major from Charlotte, N.C.

This event was organized by Cathy Packer, W. Horace Carter Distinguished Professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

Symbols of the South and The First Amendment               
Room 33, Carroll Hall 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Symbols of the South - Confederate Flag

Silent Sam and the newly named Carolina Hall on the UNC campus are among the symbols of the South that have created a firestorm of opinion about their meaning and their impact on students. The Confederate flag and other buildings and monuments are the subject of controversy across the state and the nation. The #blacklivesmatter movement has been particularly critical of those who continue to defend these symbols as expressions of Southern pride and expression protected by the First Amendment. This panel will explore this debate, the law regarding these controversial Southern symbols, and the activism surrounding symbols of the South.

These are the panelists:

  • Mary-Rose Papandrea, a professor in the UNC School of Law who teaches courses in First Amendment and media law.
  • Fitzhugh Brundage, the William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor in the UNC History Department, who teaches U.S. history courses and chairs the History Department.
  • June Beshea, UNC senior and organizer of The Real Silent Sam movement, which seeks to provoke critical dialogue about monuments and buildings in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
  • Frank Pray, chair of the UNC-CH Campus Republicans.
  • Resita Cox, president of Ebony Reader’s Onyx Theatre (EROT), UNC’s premiere spoken word group and a subgroup of the Black Student Movement. Cox is a broadcast journalism and political science major.
  • Paris Alston will moderate.  She is a senior broadcasting and global studies double major at UNC.

This event was organized by Victoria “Tori” Ekstand, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and communications director for the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

Danielle Keats Citron: First Amendment Day Keynote Address               
Room 111, Carroll Hall 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

danielle-citronThe 2015 keynote speaker will be Danielle Keats Citron, author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, a Harvard University Press book. Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar nominated her book as one of the top 20 “Best Moments for Women” in 2014.

One reviewer said of Citron’s book: “Citron addresses a significant, timely topic in this impressively comprehensive, expertly researched book. Drawing upon leading legal and sociological works, the author explores the nature and consequences of cyber harassment and cyber stalking. Citron’s approach is particularly effective because she introduces a series of actual cases in which victims’ lives and livelihoods have been damaged by deliberate, malicious invasions of privacy over the Internet. In addressing legal remedies for digital hate attacks, Citron invokes lessons from the civil, women’s, and employee rights movements. Moreover, she emphasizes ways in which victims can employ civil and criminal legal means of catching and punishing perpetrators of these crimes. . . . An excellent analysis of the social impact of Internet hate crimes” (Lynne Maxwell, Library Journal, Sept. 15, 2014).

Professor Citron is the Lois K. Macht Research Professor & Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Her work focuses on information privacy, cyber law, automated systems, and civil rights. She has published extensively in law reviews and frequently writes for popular media, including the Atlantic, New York Times, and Slate.

First Amendment Trivia Contest               
Linda’s Bar and Grill 8:30 pm - 10:30 pm

trivia contest
What rights are explicitly protected by First Amendment? Which U.S. Supreme Court justice said obscenity was difficult to define but “I know it when I see it”? Enter the trivia contest and test your knowledge of this most important Constitutional amendment. If you don’t want to compete, come to watch and enjoy the fun. You do not need to be 21. There will be prizes! The contest MC will be “Rockin’ Rhonda” Gibson, whose day job is teaching in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. This event is being organized by Natasha Duarte, a student in the UNC schools of journalism and law, and Brooks Fuller, a Ph.D. student in the School of Media and Journalism.