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Media Advisory: MU School of Law to Host First Amendment Symposium

October 24th, 2017

Story Contact: Liz McCune, 573-882-6212,

The University of Missouri School of Law will host a symposium to explore methods of preparing for, managing and mediating conflicts arising from fostering free expression on college campuses. By bringing together free speech scholars, dispute resolution experts and university leaders who have experience with free speech conflicts, MU School of Law experts hope to advance the public’s understanding of how university leaders can remain true to both the mission of the university and the values of the First Amendment.

Speakers feature individuals who have been on the front lines of free speech issues in a university setting, including officials from Auburn University, Middlebury College and the University of Missouri. The keynote speaker is constitutional law expert Robert Post of Yale University.

The symposium is sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Law; the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution; and the Journal of Dispute Resolution, which is the center’s journal. The journal will publish papers from participants in a forthcoming symposium issue.

Hulston Hall, MU campus

Friday, Oct. 27
Introductions and welcome begin at 9 a.m.
Concluding comments and adjournment are at 4:45 p.m.
The full agenda is below.


The symposium is open to the public. Media are encouraged to RSVP with Liz McCune from the MU News Bureau by calling (573) 882-6212 or emailing

9 a.m.   Introductions and Welcome

Lyrissa Lidsky
Dean and Judge C.A. Leedy Professor, MU School of Law

Rafael Gely
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, and James E. Campbell Missouri Endowed Professor, MU School of Law

Robert Jerry
Isidor Loeb Professor of Law, Symposium Co-Director, MU School of Law

9:10 a.m.   Session 1: Framing the Issue; Narratives of Actual Experiences and Outcomes
Framing: Opening Remarks

Articulating a Frame for the First Amendment, the University and Conflict Management

Chris Wells
Enoch H. Crowder Professor of Law, Symposium Co-Director, MU School of Law

9:30 a.m.   Panel: Narratives and Outcomes (Moderator: Robert Jerry)

A Narrative: University of Missouri
Evonnia Woods, Ph.D.-candidate
University of Missouri, Department of Sociology; Member, MU Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protest, Public Spaces, Free Speech and the Press

A Narrative: Auburn University
Taffye Benson Clayton
Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, Auburn University

Julie Huff
Director, Office of Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Office of the Provost, Auburn University

A Narrative: Middlebury College University
Baishakhi Banerjee Taylor
Dean of Students and Lecturer in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Middlebury College

11 a.m.        Break

11:15 a.m.   Session 2: Keynote Remarks
(Convenor: Chris Wells)

Freedom of Speech in the University
Robert Post
Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School

12:30 p.m.   Break for Lunch
The conference luncheon is a ticket event at the MU Student Center, room 2206. See link for details.

1:45 p.m.    Session 3: Dispute Resolution Perspectives
(Convenor: Chris Wells)

Panel: What Does Dispute Resolution Scholarship Inform Us About Free Speech Conflict on College Campuses? (Moderator: Rafael Gely)

Introduction to the Panel: Dean Lyrissa Lidsky

Lisa Blomgren Amsler
Keller-Runden Professor of Public Service, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Jennifer Gerarda Brown
Dean and Professor of Law, Quinnipiac University School of Law

Grande Lum
Director, Divided Community Project and Adjunct Professor of Law, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

3:15 p.m.        Break

3:30 p.m.       Session 4: Identifying Next Steps and Best Practices
Stakeholders Roundtable (Moderator: Ben Trachtenberg, MU Law Associate Professor)

Terry Amsler
Adjunct Instructor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

Jacob Appelsmith
Adviser to the Governor and Director, California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; former General Counsel, University of California-Davis

Azhar Majeed
Vice President of Policy Reform, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

R. Douglas Schwandt
Chief, University of Missouri Police Department

Patricia Telles-Irvin
Vice President for Student Affairs, Northwestern University

Howard Wasserman
Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law

4:45 p.m.         Concluding Comments and Adjournment (Gely, Jerry and Wells)

NOTE: The University of Missouri System and its four campuses reaffirmed their commitment to free expression in August by endorsing a statement that says, in part, “freedom of expression is indispensable to a university’s ability to transmit knowledge and is fundamental to the ability of members of a university community to discover, explore, interpret, and question knowledge.”

As part of that commitment, the university continues to encourage robust discourse among our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Over the past several years, the university has hosted speakers, community forums and scholarship of all political views and is working to ensure that MU is welcoming to all individuals, regardless of their political affiliation or background.

As of June 1, 2017, six university policies (contained in the University’s Business Policy and Procedure Manual) became effective. These include a combination of new policies and previously existing policies that were amended. Each of the six policies is designed to help the campus community and visitors understand their rights and responsibilities related to free speech and the use of public space. Experts from law, political science, law enforcement, health and safety, public affairs, and journalism were consulted during the creation of the policies and procedures. For more information on the values underlying the policies, see our guiding principles.