Our fifth class of Fellows represents professors, practitioners and graduate students from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds, and includes our inaugural Senior Fellow and first undergraduate Fellow. This cohort will research complex topics such as the perceptions and attitudes of international students, threats to academic freedom from state legislatures, and the racial and gender tropes Black women encounter while exercising free expression. Their projects will include developing educational materials and programs that can serve as a roadmap to safeguarding and encouraging the robust exchange of ideas while simultaneously upholding the institutional values of equity and inclusion.

Leslie Garvin

Executive Director, North Carolina Campus Engagement

Research Title: "Disrupting Mis & Dis-Information in the University Setting"

Drawing upon research and a team of experts, Leslie will develop a Toolkit and Issue Guide (using the NIF deliberative dialogue framework) that institutions can use to combat mis- and disinformation, to better facilitate open and fact-based discussions, and to deliberate on this issue to find common ground for action.

Neal Hutchens & Brandi Hephner LaBanc

Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, University of Kentucky; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Research Title: "Social Media: The Real Campus Speech Zone"

This collaborative research project and related publication and dissemination plan will identify the challenges and opportunities related to online speech of college students, specifically in relation to social media. These platforms can help build communities and provide robust platforms for free speech and expression. But, online speech continues to present challenges for colleges and universities and members of campus communities.

Krystal-Gayle O'Neill

Ph.D. Candidate, Global Governance and Human Security, University of Massachusetts - Boston

Research Title: "'Excuse me, I'm speaking': Reconceptualizing Freedom of Speech Through a Black Feminist Lens"

Black women are woefully undervalued in academia, especially when it comes to what they have to say, or expertise they bring. This project will examine racialized and gendered tropes, Black women encounter when exercising their right to free speech, from an intersectional black feminist lens.

Amna Khalid & Jeff Snyder

Associate Professor, Department of History, Carleton College; Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Carleton College

Research Title: "Anti-CRT Bills Come to Campus: Documenting and Analyzing Emerging Threats to Free Expression and Academic Freedom from State Legislatures"

This project will examine anti-CRT bills targeting higher education and track how they are being implemented and challenged on campuses in different states. Khalid and Snyder will create a resource guide for campus stakeholders to better understand the impact of these bills on free expression and academic freedom. They will also produce a set of podcast episodes to explain the significance of these bills to a broader audience.

Jacqueline Pedota

Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Leadership and Policy, The University of Texas at Austin

Research Title: "Faculty, Academic Freedom, and Inclusion in a Politically Polarized Climate"

Academic freedom is under attack in the current politically polarized climate. These attacks create profound challenges for campus inclusion. Drawing on the concept of repressive legalism, this study examines how faculty at the forefront of these attacks respond in attempts to safeguard academic freedom and protect campus inclusion.

Danny Shaha

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Pennsylvania State University

Research Title: "Universities' Response to Offensive and Bias-Related Speech"

Danny Shaha will examine how Student Affairs practitioners at various universities respond to offensive speech and, generally, how universities engage their campus communities in dialogue and restoration in their normal course of business and in response to incidents. He will then create a best practices guidebook for Student Affairs practitioners.

Emma Tolliver

Undergrad Student, English and Political Science - Public Service, UC Davis

Research Title: "Undergraduate Student Advocacy in the University of California System: a Handbook"

Emma’s project seeks to evaluate what the barriers to civic engagement are in the University of California system and how those barriers can be lowered to make civic engagement initiatives and projects more accessible and successful for all University of California students.

Andrew Wasserman

Professorial Lecturer, American University

Research Title: "A Matter of Speech and Space: The Challenges of Campus Public Artworks"

Public artworks on college and university campuses are bound to projections of who constitutes a campus community and what values this community holds. Through public programming, student engagement, and case study research, this project explores institutional policies that enshrine creative protections and offer an equitable campus space.

Elizabeth Niehaus - Senior Fellow

Associate Professor, Educational Administration, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Research Title: "Beyond the Moral Panic of 'Student Self-Censorship'”

Elizabeth’s research - a continuation of the work she began as a ‘20-’21 Fellow - explores college students’ moral reasoning around issues of free expression in the classroom, challenging the crisis narrative and providing an evidence-based, nuanced perspective on how students are navigating challenging classroom discussions.