First Amendment Day 2019

UNC’s eleventh-annual First Amendment Day was held on September 24, 2019.

First Amendment Day was organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy and is one of the highlights of the year for the UNC community. You can read about the festivities on Twitter via #UNCFree.

First Amendment Day Events

The Worth of a Tar Heel: Student-Athlete Equity and Efforts to Recognize Student Athlete Rights of Publicity               
Freedom Forum Conference Center 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

(UNC-Chapel Hill Photo/Ben McKeown)

The First Amendment affords noncommercial speech greater Constitutional protection than commercial speech. Speech relating to political topics or matters of opinion, that engage a person’s likeness, are protected by the First Amendment. However, when someone’s name, image, or likeness is used for trade purposes, courts have had difficulty in determining which rights should be protected—courts must balance the right of publicity and the freedom of expression under the First Amendment.

The NCAA is a billion dollar industry and student-athletes assist in generating that revenue by participating in college sports, and in doing so, sign away their rights to be compensated for their image or likeness.Two bills have recently put forward to better protect student-athletes: the University Student-Athlete Protection Committee (N.C. Senate Bill 335) and the Student-Athlete Equity Act (H.R. 1084). Both aim to eliminate the opportunity for the NCAA and the academic institutions from profiting from a student-athlete’s name, image, and likeness.

This panel will discuss the changing landscape of college athletics and how these proposed pieces of legislation fit into the larger legal scheme of the right to publicity.

MA/JD student Kathryn A. Johnson will moderate this panel. Panelists include: Paul Pogge, associate athletic director at UNC; Amanda Reid, assistant professor of media law in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media; Barbara Osborne, professor in UNC’s Exercise and Sport Science program and director of the Graduate Sport Administration program; and Chris Ekstrand, longtime consultant and scout for the National Basketball Association (NBA).

First Amendment Day Selfie Contest!                11:30 am - 4:30 pm

Learn more about some of the most notable First Amendment Supreme Court cases and take a selfie with the replica black armbands from Tinker v. Des Moines or a replica of the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner from Morse v. Frederick. Tag your post on Instagram with #uncfree and be eligible to win one of several UNC Bookstore gift cards worth $25. We’ll be on the first floor of Carroll Hall near CA 111.


Banned Book Reading               
Davis Library Courtyard 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Come hear members of the Coalition of Youth Librarians, students and faculty from the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), and special community guests read from children’s and adult books that have been banned from school and public libraries.





Modern Problems Facing Student Journalism               
Room 4085, UNC School of Law 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

As newspaper circulation nationwide continues to decline, student publications increasingly seek to fill the gap left by for-profit newspaper companies by reporting on local issues beyond college campus. In recognition of student journalists’ dedication to reporting on their campuses and local communities, the Freedom Forum Institute, the Student Press Law Center, and the Newseum in Washington D.C. declared 2019 the “Year of the Student Journalist.”

However, student journalists and journalism education programs are under pressure, not only threatened with the same closure their larger counterparts face, but also by specialized issues related to newsgathering and reporting. Student journalists have fewer First Amendment protections and are often subject to censorship and prior review, restricted access, and budget constraints.

This panel will discuss the practical problems facing student journalism, including lack of access to information, economic sustainability, and the reporter’s privilege.

Panelists will include Hugh Stevens, renowned First Amendment lawyer who represented The Daily Tar Heel in front of the North Carolina Supreme Court; David Ardia, associate professor of law and faculty co-director of the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy; Erica Perel, general manager of The Daily Tar Heel, a former student journalist and newspaper advisor since 2008; and Maddy Arrowood, editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. The panel will be moderated by MA/JD student Isabela Palmieri.

Open to all students. Pizza will be served!

Silence and Sam: The State of Campus Free Expression at UNC               
Freedom Forum Conference Center, Carroll Hall 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

After the toppling of UNC’s confederate monument, Silent Sam, UNC finds itself at another crossroads as it attempts to deal with recent years of conflict and protest regarding the monument and its history. A recent undergraduate research-led project on the state of campus free expression at UNC found that undergraduates are engaging in self-silencing behaviors regarding controversial political topics in the classroom. How freely are students at UNC expressing themselves in the wake of these and other events? To what extent is the concern about student free expression overblown? This panel will explore the state of free expression at UNC and what work lies ahead. Adrianne Cleven, a senior at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, will moderate. Panelists include Lucy Kate Harrill, a junior in Political Science; Jeremiah Rhodes, a senior at the Hussman School of  Journalism and Media; Cole Villena, a senior at the Hussman School of  Journalism and Media; Professor Mark MacNeilly from UNC’s Kenan-Flager Business School; and Dr. Jennifer Larson, Teaching Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English & Comparative Literature.


Hate, Harassment and the Right to Report: A Conversation with WUNC's The State of Things               
The Carolina Inn 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

WUNC State of Things Host Frank Stasio will host our inaugural live-to-tape First Amendment Day Panel, featuring Rachel Glickhouse, journalist and the partner manager for the Documenting Hate Project at ProPublica. Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea, the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UNC School of Law, will also join the discussion. Other panelists include Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the International Women’s Media Foundation; Wendy Scott, professor of law at Elon University; and Allen Johnson, Greensboro News & Record editorial page editor. The panel will address hate speech online and in public spaces, protest and free speech, the impact of online harassment on women and minority journalists and content moderation.

UPDATE: A recording and summary of the conversation is available here.

The Art of Resistance: An Exhibition Featuring the Work of Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé               
FedEx Global Education Center 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

“Trazando Estados,” by Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé

The Art of Resistance, an exhibition featuring the work of world-renowned graphic novelist and political cartoonist Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, will be on display August 19 to December 13, 2019 at the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Esono Ebalé gained notoriety for criticizing the long-ruling, oppressive government of his native Equatorial Guinea. After living in exile from 2011 until 2017, Esono Ebalé was falsely imprisoned upon his return home. To call for his release, artists from around the world began a virtual collective and social media campaign using #FreeNseRamon, inspiring others to contribute their own art in support of Esono Ebalé, culminating in his freedom in March 2018.

This exhibition features work created by Esono Ebalé prior to and during his imprisonment, the art of those who participated in the #FreeNseRamon movement, and new original art created for the exhibition by the artist.

A free public reception celebrating the exhibition will take place on September 24, 2019, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the FedEx Global Education Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This exhibition is hosted by UNC Global and is organized by the African Studies Center and Global Relations, in collaboration with EG Justice. Additional support by the College of Arts & Sciences; Center for European Studies; Curriculum in Global Studies; Humanities for the Public Good Initiative; and Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

First Amendment Trivia Contest               
Linda’s Bar and Grill 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

What rights are explicitly protected by the 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! This event is being organized by Doctoral Candidate Kriste Patrow and MA/JD student Kathryn Johnson.