First Amendment Day 2013

First Amendment Day 2013


On Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill celebrated its fifth annual First Amendment Day. This campus-wide, daylong event was designed to both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. Students and university community members read from banned books, sung controversial music and discussed the importance of each of the rights protected by the First Amendment, the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights and the public university’s special role as a marketplace of ideas. As it is every year, First Amendment Day was 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.

Bruce Brown Keynote: The Obama Administration and the Media               
Room 111, Carroll Hall 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

brucebrownIt’s been a summer of discontent.  The Associated Press and Fox News learn that they have been subject to secret snooping by the Justice Department, and New York Times reporter James Risen loses a key appeal in the federal courts in his effort to protect his sources.  The Obama Administration has been on a tear pursuing leak investigations.  These events lead to some stirrings of reform, as the Justice Department revises its media subpoena guidelines, and Congress returns to a possible federal shield statute.  But are there other ways out of this corrosive cycle?

Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, will explore the relationship between the Obama Administration and the media.

Brown became executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in September 2012 and is of counsel in the Washington, D.C., office of BakerHostetler, where he had been a partner in the firm’s media law practice.  He has argued press cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Prior to joining BakerHostetler, Brown was a federal court reporter for Legal Times and a newsroom assistant to David Broder at The Washington Post.

Brown co-directs the First Amendment Clinic at the University of Virginia Law School and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in its master’s program in journalism.  Brown received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a master’s degree in English literature from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Stanford University.

Read more about Brown here:

Read more about the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press here:

Carolina Students, Moral Mondays and the First Amendment               
Carroll Hall Room 33 5:15 pm - 6:30 pm

A panel of Carolina undergraduates who have been arrested at the Moral Monday protests in Raleigh and others will discuss the students’ experiences, the importance of student voices in public debates and the role of civil disobedience in a vibrant democracy.  Panelists will include Joshua Orol, a senior communication studies major from Raleigh; Evan Benz, a second-year law student from Raleigh; Kaori Sueyoshi, a junior business and political science major from Chapel Hill; Jacob Plitman, a peace, war and defense and political science major; and First Amendment attorney Hugh Stevens.  Stevens is a partner in the firm of Stevens Martin Vaughn and Tadych in Raleigh. Parth Shah, a junior journalism major from Charlotte, will moderate.  This panel is being organized by Dr. Cathy Packer, co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

Banned Book Reading               
The Pit 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Carol FoltCome out to see your new chancellor support your right to read!  Campus leaders, students and others – including Chancellor Carol Folt – will read from banned books. (Folt will read at 12:30 p.m.)  At the same time, a selection of books that have been banned from libraries will be on display in The Pit. This event is organized by Stacie Smith, manager of the Bulls Head Bookshop.

Privacy or Security? A Question of Ethics               
Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

parr center

Is it ethical for government employees to reveal classified information entrusted to them? Is it ethical for government agencies to collect private communication records between U.S. citizens? The UNC Ethics Bowl Team will debate these questions and others raised by the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect national security, and then the audience will be invited to join in.

The students debaters will be Vinayak Balasubramanian, an economics and philosophy major from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Colleen Ciszek, a junior philosophy and political science major from Fayetteville; Chloe Freeman, a sophomore exchange student from London who majors in philosophy and religion; and Chris Lambert, a senior philosophy and history major.  The Ethics Team is coached by Jan Boxill, a senior lecturer in philosophy at UNC and director of UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics.  She will moderate the debate.

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.


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

Small Photo of Carroll Hall

Help us kick off Carolina’s fifth-annual First Amendment Day!  William P. Marshall, UNC’s William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, will speak about the significance of the First Amendment to public university students.  Student Body President Christopher “Christy” Lambden will read the First Amendment.  Buck Yarborough, senior director of government relations for Time Warner Cable, which generously funded the day’s activities; School of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Susan King; and UNC Center for Media Law and Policy Co-Director Cathy Packer also will speak.  This event is being organized by UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication Associate Professor Michael Hoefges.

Who Should be Protected by a New Federal Shield Law?               
Room 5052, UNC School of Law 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 10.09.00 AMIn May of this year, the Associated Press revealed that the Department of Justice had, without prior notice or negotiation, subpoenaed phone records from the organization’s journalists. In light of this event, Congress renewed efforts to pass a federal shield law—a piece of legislation that would protect reporters from having to reveal their confidential sources and unpublished information in courts or other governmental proceedings.

Come to room 5052 in the Law School next Tuesday (Sept. 24th) to hear a panel discussion on the pros and cons of instituting a federal shield law. The panel will also discuss whether the shield law should be limited to reporters working for traditional news outlets or whether it should also protect bloggers, student journalists and other non-traditional reporters.

Professor David Ardia will moderate the panel that will include Frank LoMonte, Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center; William P. Marshall, UNC’s Kenan Professor of Law; and Dean Smith, assistant professor at High Point University. This event is being organized by the UNC-CH Media Law Society.

Here are the panelists’ biographies:

  • Frank LoMonte is the Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center. LoMonte has expertise in first amendment and media law and specializes in how those areas impact the student media. Prior to entering the legal profession, LoMonte was an award-winning investigative journalist. He holds a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.
  • Bill Marshall is the Kenan Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina. Prior to beginning his teaching duties at UNC, Marshall served as Deputy White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States during the Clinton Administration. Among other fields, Marshall is an expert in first amendment law and media law. He holds a law degree from the University of Chicago.
  • Dean Smith teaches media law at High Point University and is the author of “A Theory of Shield Laws: Journalists, Their Sources, and Popular Constitutionalism.” He earned his Ph.D. from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2012. Prior to attending UNC, Smith worked as a professional journalist for more than 15 years for The Charlotte Observer and the (Raleigh) News and Observer.

Musical Performances by the Loreleis and Cadence                
The Pit 12:15 pm - 12:30 pm

The Loreleis and Cadence, two all-female University a cappella groups, will exercise their First Amendment rights by singing controversial music in The Pit.

Why Coding is Fun and Matters to Democracy: Hear from Carolina’s Student Coders               
Carroll Hall Room 33 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Many First Amendment scholars say that “code is speech.” This panel will talk about why that’s so and why learning to code provides students with many opportunities to express themselves, make government more transparent, report the news, promote companies – and land jobs. Learn more about what students are doing with code  – and how it’s not hard to learn.  The panelists will be Casey Miller, a journalism major from Raleigh; Annie Daniel, a journalism and political science double major from Matthews, NC.; Ashlee Edwards, a Ph.D. student in the UNC School of Information and Library Science; and Sylvia Richardson, a recent SILS graduate who now works as a software developer.  The panel will be moderated by Lincoln Pennington, a journalism and political science major from Chapel Hill.  Miller, Gilbert and Pennington all work in the J-School’s Reese News Lab, where they are reinventing the media.  This event is being planned by Victoria “Tori” Ekstrand, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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

8057963787_f49a2090bfWhat 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.  There will be prizes!  The contest MC will be “Rockin’ Rhonda” Gibson, whose day job is teaching in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  This event is being organized by Natasha Duarte, a student in the UNC schools of law and journalism.

All ages can participate in this event.

What's Protected? Religious Freedoms and the First Amendment                
Room 105, Murphey Hall 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

AmIndian_Poster_FinalThe First Amendment protects freedom of religion in the United States, but who decides what “counts” as religion? Hosted by graduate students in the Religious Studies Department, this event invites members of the University community to vote on historic court cases in which religious freedoms have been negotiated between secular and religious authorities. Students will have the opportunity to discuss these questions with the graduate students: What is religion? How do we know? Who gets to decide? What, then, does religious freedom mean?

The graduate students all are Ph.D. students in the religious studies program.  They are Stephanie Gaskill, M.A. Bowling Green State University; Kenny Richards, M.A. University of Colorado, Boulder; Shannon T. Schorey, M.A. University of Colorado, Boulder; Stanley Thayne, M.A. Brigham Young University; and Leif C. Turnquist, M.A. University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Posters (including the one posted here) and an event flyer for this discussion were designed and produced by Caroline James, a junior journalism major from Charlotte.

Story Time - With Milk and Cookies               
Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm

UNC’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) will host a reading of children’s books that have been banned from libraries because they have gay and lesbian themes. SAGA members will read the stories aloud. Books to be read are “The Lorax,” “The Sissy Duckling” by Harvey Fierstein, “King and King” by Linda de Haan, “Heather Has Two Mommies” by Leséa Newman and “Daddy’s Roommate” by Michael Willhoite.”

Milk and cookies will be served. Feel free to wear your pajamas! You won’t be the only one.

Saga formerly was the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance (GLBTSA).

The Freedom Forum Conference Center is on the third floor of Carroll Hall.

Keynote Warm-Up Act: False Profits vs. Censorship               
Room 111, Carroll Hall 7:00 pm

logoThe opening act of the evening will be UNC’s False Profits, a standup, sketch and improv comedy troupe. Members of the troupe have made a First Amendment Day video on which they discuss how much they appreciate their First Amendment right to make jokes about whatever they want without censorship. But they find the censor isn’t so nice to them this time around . . . . The students involved in this project are Kenan Bateman, a journalism and communication studies major; Eric Clayton, a philosophy major; Kagan Griffin, a psychology major from Concord; Jordan Hale, a political science and communication studies major; Hannah Jones, an economics and political science major from Fayetteville; Marcie Maier, a psychology major; Joey Rasmus, an economics and peace, war and defense major from Southern Pines; and Shayne Sevigny, a business major.