The Newseum Institute and the Knight Foundation will sponsor a one-day “Free Speech on Campus” conference at the Newseum to discuss the challenges to free expression on college campuses related to conversations about race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexual identity.
The goal of the conference is to gather a representative group of students to explore these issues — a meeting consistent with the First Amendment’s provision for a “marketplace of ideas” within our society. The conference will be the first step in a joint initiative between the Newseum Institute and the Knight Foundation that will explore contemporary free speech and free expression issues on college campuses. Later this year, the Newseum will host a “Free Expression Fair” in Washington, D.C., where students will demonstrate projects that promote free expression on campus. One goal of these programs is to develop a nonpartisan “Guide to Free Speech on Campus” later this year.
“Colleges and universities should be places in our society where free expression and free speech are celebrated,” said Jeffrey Herbst, president and CEO of the Newseum. “However, many fear that the very institutions that depend on vigorous debate are becoming the areas of our country where free expression is most challenged. The Newseum and the Knight Foundation are determined to champion free expression and to identify how colleges and universities can have difficult discussions that welcome all viewpoints.”
The Newseum Institute and the Knight Foundation will pay hotel and food costs, along with some travel costs for conference participants. The travel subsidy will include a mileage stipend for those driving to Washington, D.C., and parking fees for two days. Airfare will be provided for a smaller number of participating students.