Monday, June 17

Letter to the Editor: Free speech center plans to fully engage campuses, students

Keshav Tadimeti’s recent Opinion column about the University of California’s new National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, titled “New free speech center should be proactive, localize campus operations,” downplays the extent to which the center and its fellows will engage with UC students and campuses.

The center’s advisory board will be chaired by UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman, two of the UC’s most engaged voices on free speech on their campuses and at the national level. Starting in January, the center’s inaugural class of eight fellows will conduct research, offer seminars to and mentor UC students. Each of the fellows will have the opportunity to spend a week in residence at a UC campus, engaging directly with UC students, faculty and staff who have seen the debate on free speech play out firsthand. Fellows will also explore students’ views on free speech, how those views may vary among different groups of students and in what ways those views may have changed from previous generations.

In 2018, the center will host a national free speech conference that will prominently feature UC student and faculty leaders. Through research, advocacy, debate and discussion, the center will be fully engaged with students and campuses to advance the UC’s perspective on free speech.

Stephanie Beechem

UC Office of the President

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