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Since its formation in the fall of 2021, the Academic Freedom Committee (which includes members from the Office of Academic Affairs; the College of Law; Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU); Department of Communication; Hinckley Institute of Politics, Marriott Library; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and the College of Nursing) has dedicated its time to exploring ways to reaffirm the university’s commitment to unfettered intellectual inquiry, the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, and the value of free speech.

Free speech in higher education involves respectful disagreement, civic engagement in dispute resolution and a search for the truth based on democratic principles. With these basic understandings in mind, the committee has proposed a slate of events and activities as methods of demonstrating the importance of academic freedom and freedom of speech at the University of Utah.


How Free Speech Saved Democracy
How Free Speech Saved Democracy
Friday, Sept. 22, 12-1 p.m. Hinckley Institute Caucus Room Join us to listen to Chris Finan, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, discuss his book, "How Free Speech Saved Democracy: The untold history of how the First Amendment became an essential tool for securing liberty and social justice."
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Free Speech Kickoff Event
Friday, Sept. 23 12-1 p.m. Hinckley Institute Caucus Room Join us to listen to Dr. Richard Hasen, a UCLA law professor and internationally recognized expert on election law, discuss his book, “Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons our Politics and How to Cure It.”
Live stream
Reframing the Conversation: Practicing Academic Freedom & Free Speech
Wednesday, Sept. 14 12-1 p.m. Hinckley Caucus Room or virtually. This month’s Reframing the Conversation panel will offer space to discuss how society considers two staples of American life, free speech and academic freedom.
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Cheap Speech Book Discussion
Wednesday, Sept. 14 2-3 p.m. Join librarian Allyson Mower for a discussion of the book “Cheap Speech” by Richard L. Hasen leading up to the author’s campus visit on September 23. The event book discussion will take place in person as well as through Zoom. Registration for the Zoom link is required.
Zoom registration
Practicing Freedom at the U of U
Exhibit at Marriott Library, Level 2 from Sept 12, 2022 until January 2023. From a student bill of rights to organized protests and sit-ins, U of U students have practiced free speech and academic freedom rights in significant ways.
Talking About Censorship: A Discussion About Banning Books in a Free & Open Society
Monday, Sept. 19 12-1 p.m. J. Willard Marriott Library ProtoSpace, Level 2. Libraries and schools across the nation are asked to remove books from their shelves on a regular basis. During 2021, the American Library Association saw more book banning attempts than they’d seen in the past 20 years. Why are we seeing so many challenges? What are the trends? And what can we do to keep our libraries and schools free from censorship?
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Banned Books Table Trivia
Wednesday, Sept. 21 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. J. Willard Marriott Library Level 2. Browse selections from books that have been banned or challenged through the years.