Law experts address campus free speech, hate speech, April 10

Nadine Strossen

Jeremy Waldron

The Free Speech Presidential Speaker Series, initiated by President Martha E. Pollack to address campus climate, will continue Tuesday, April 10, with a conversation about free speech and hate speech.

The event will address the question, Does our constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech go too far? In an era when hateful messages demeaning entire ethnic or religious groups go viral and hate groups have become more numerous, students and faculty on some campuses are advocating “hate speech codes” to punish those who express hate. Attempts to impose such codes, however, run up against not only legal barriers but the difficulty of clearly defining hate speech.

Two scholars will bring different points of view to a dialogue on this polarizing topic. They are Jeremy Waldron, professor of law at New York University and author of “The Harm in Hate Speech,” and Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, law professor at New York Law School and author of the forthcoming book “Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship.” Sherry Colb, professor of law at Cornell Law School, will moderate.

The conversation will take place from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. in Landis Auditorium, 184 Myron Taylor Hall, with overflow seating in 182 and 186, and will be livestreamed on CornellCast. Open to the public, the event is sponsored by the Office of the President and Cornell Law School.

The inaugural event in the Free Speech Presidential Speaker Series featured constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, who spoke Nov. 20, 2017.

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Rebecca Valli