“The creation of this center comes at a critical time, not only for higher education, but for our country as a whole. Through research and years of teaching, I have seen the growing imperative to improve understanding of free speech issues.”

Howard Gillman, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine

A cornerstone of the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement is its Fellowship Program.

Each year, the Center’s Advisory Board selects up to ten fellows from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, including leading figures from the worlds of law, journalism, higher education, social science, big data, technology, politics and government. Fellows receive a stipend to further the conversation on policies related to free speech and civic engagement by conducting research, offering seminars and mentoring UC students. In addition, the Center provides support for each fellow to spend a week in residence at one of the 10 UC campuses to engage with students, faculty, administrators and other community members on the subject of their research.

Through their research, the fellows explore issues ranging from what the latest data demonstrate about college students’ views on free speech to how those views may vary among different groups of students and in what ways those views may have changed from previous generations. The fellows also examine how our nation’s political polarization drives changing perspectives on the First Amendment and how the rise of social media and the fragmentation of traditional media impact students and others’ views of free speech.

The fellows’ work is central to the nationwide conference the Center will host in 2018. The conference will convene university presidents, elected officials, student leaders, fellows and others to explore these issues and develop new approaches for engaging and educating students about the critical role of the First Amendment and civic engagement in American democracy.

Robert Cohen

Professor, New York University

Cohen will compare free speech crises at UC Berkeley in 2017 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, then develop related curriculum materials for middle and high school teachers and incoming college students.

Carlos Cortes

Professor emeritus, UC Riverside

Cortes will explore the history of diversity initiatives on college campuses and how those initiatives have affected students' and administrators' evolving views on free speech issues.

Ellis Cose

Best-selling author, former ACLU writer-in-residence

Cose will perform a deep analysis of the challenges of protecting free expression in the context of polarized politics, accusations of fake news and a rise in white nationalism, supplementing his book project on the history of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Justin McClinton

Ph.D. candidate, UC Santa Barbara

McClinton will develop a toolkit that helps university administrators prepare incoming students to engage with challenging ideas.

Candace McCoy

Director, Office of the Inspector General for the New York Police; Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York

McCoy will study recent protests and changing police practices when groups decide that rioting or threats of violence are necessary to bring attention to their issues.

Elizabeth Meyer

Associate professor, University of Colorado Boulder

Meyer will aim to demystify First Amendment topics such as free speech, harassment and nondiscrimination in K-12 and university settings, including surveying educators on challenging acts of expression in their classrooms.

William Morrow

Former UC Berkeley student body president

Morrow will create a "playbook" for student leaders on how to handle the unique politics, legal restrictions, community relations and complex media communications involved with expressing opposition to the messaging of controversial speakers.

Carlin Romano

Professor, University of Pennsylvania; Critic at large, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Romano will work with the country's top intellectuals and writers to set up debates on controversial topics at up to eight college campuses. He will write a series of articles connected to these debates, examining when and why conventional viewpoints tip into the unacceptable.

Gamelyn Oduardo-Sierra

Legal counsel, University of Puerto Rico

Oduardo-Sierra will focus on developing online resources, podcasts and educational guides about the rights of assembly, public forums and civic participation as avenues of social conciliation.

Keith Whittington

William Nelson Cromwell Professor, Princeton University

Whittington will build on previous work to develop model guidelines for campus free speech, moving from the defense of principles to concrete statements and regulations that can be adapted and used by college administrators.