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MEDIA ADVISORY: MU Law School to Host Hate Crimes Panel

February 16th, 2011

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

WHAT: In response to a recent racially charged incident on campus, the University of Missouri School of Law will sponsor a Difficult Dialogues panel on hate crimes. The law school faculty speaking on the panel are national experts in both criminal prosecution and defense and freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

The panel will address the issues presented by criminal hate crime laws and the tensions created by such provisions within the criminal justice system and with respect to an individual’s right to free speech under the Bill of Rights,” said Lawrence Dessem, dean of the MU School of Law.

“I hope this panel will lead to a good dialogue within the community about appropriate responses, both legally and socially, to incidents such as these,” said Christina Wells, the Enoch H. Crowder Professor of Law at MU and a free speech expert.

The Difficult Dialogues Initiative (DDI) is a part of the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative at the University of Missouri. Through the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, MU constantly strives to become a more inclusive, creative and innovative learning and research environment with the ultimate goal to facilitate the competent functioning of students, faculty, staff and administrators in a diverse and competitive global society.

WHO: Panelists will include law school professors Frank Bowman, Paul Litton, David Mitchell, and Christina Wells, and the session will be moderated by Chief Diversity Officer Roger Worthington.

WHEN: 1 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17

WHERE: Courtroom, Hulston Hall, MU Campus

NOTE: This program is free and open to the public.