Webinar Series
Center Programs

Back to Basics: A Webinar Series for UC Staff and Faculty

These workshops have been curated specifically for UC staff and faculty members in order to provide space for teams across the system to think through how to support student expression on campus, manage institutional responses to visits by controversial speakers or speaker disruptions, and simultaneously maintain a campus climate of inclusivity and belonging. These workshops are being presented by UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement in partnership with the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Equity Affairs, UC Legal and the Office of Systemwide Community Safety at the UC Office of the President have produced this webinar series.

You may register for any or all of these training opportunities. A separate webinar series for students is forthcoming.

Campus Safety and Protest Management

Norms around protest and policing on campuses have changed dramatically. Today, the onus is on student affairs professionals to observe and support students who are engaging in protest. What does this mean for campus safety? When should campus police intercede? How can we better support these professionals and our students? Join for these discussions and more.

Featuring: Heather Belk, Policy and Programs Analyst, Student Policies and Governance, Student Policies and Equity Affairs; Staci Bias, Associate Director, Systemwide Community Safety; and Melissa Collins, Program Manager for Security, Risk and Resilience, UC Risk Services — University of California Office of the President

Exploring First Amendment Principles and Campus Expression

Need a refresher on those First Amendment basics? Join this workshop to  review what speech is protected by the First Amendment and what is not; forum analysis; time, place and manner regulations and protests/disruption/heckler’s veto. Explore best practices for responding to hateful speech that cannot be prohibited but negatively impacts campus climate.

Featuring: Michelle Deutchman, Executive Director, UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement and Joshua Meltzer, Principal Counsel, Education Affairs — University of California Office of the President.

Title VI Today

The federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently has opened multiple investigations under Title VI, which prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including based on allegations of antisemitic and anti-Muslim discrimination or harassment. We will discuss the agency’s positions and guidance as well as University policy regarding responding to allegations of a hostile environment while safeguarding expression.

Featuring: Joshua Meltzer, Principal Counsel, Education Affairs, UC Legal and Sonya Sanchez, Senior Principal Counsel, Education Affairs and Governance, UC Legal — University of California Office of the President

Academic Freedom 101

Much has been made of  the unrelenting attacks on academic freedom from legislatures across the country, but do we really understand what academic freedom is, and how it is distinct from freedom of speech? What does it protect and why is it important to higher education and democracy? This workshop will cover these questions as well as explore how our communities can uphold this critical UC principle.

Featuring: Howard Gillman, Chancellor, UC Irvine and James Steintrager, 2023-2024 UC Academic Senate Chair, Professor of English, Comparative Literature and European Languages and Studies, UC Irvine and Michelle Deutchman, Executive Director, UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement

Visit our Recent & Upcoming Events page for more information on ongoing Center programming.


Center Programs

VOICE Initiative

The Center’s Valuing Open and Inclusive Conversation and Engagement (VOICE) Initiative provides up to $5,000 in funding for UC students, staff and faculty who are interested in conducting research or coordinating programs and activities that further the Center’s mission of exploring the intersection of expression, engagement and democratic learning and considering what can be done to restore trust in the value of free speech on college campuses and within society at large. VOICE has funded 83 total projects across all ten UC campuses. 

To learn more about these projects and the other amazing work of our VOICE-ers, or to apply to the initiative please visit the VOICE page here. Applications for our next VOICE cohort are due March 24, 2024.



Each year, the Center selects Fellows from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds such as law, journalism, higher education, social science, technology and government. We are focused on projects that address current issues affecting students, staff, administrators and faculty and will have a direct impact on individuals and communities across campuses. Work products can take many forms such as (but not limited to) qualitative/quantitative research, curricular modules, toolkits or training programs/pilots. For more information about the work of previous Fellows, click here.

For more information, please visit the full fellowship page here.



Principles, Policies and Practices: A Toolkit to Prepare for and Manage Major Campus Events or Incidents 2024 Update



Compiled UC Campus Policies and Resources on Expression

We have collected the speech and expression policies from each UC campus, as well as many of the resources they provide, to encourage safe and meaningful expression.


SpeechMatters Podcast

SpeechMatters is the official podcast of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The podcast features thought leaders tackling the most pressing issues impacting free expression and democracy on campus and beyond. Hosted by the Center’s Executive Director, Michelle Deutchman.

To listen to recent episodes of the podcast, you can find SpeechMatters on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify or click the link here.


Center Compiled Resource Pages

In an effort to equip you and your institutions and organizations with effective tools, we’ve collected a number of resources focused on dialogue, targeted online harassment and voter engagement. 

To see all of our resource materials, please visit the full resources page linked here


UC Community Safety Office

The Office of Systemwide Community Safety engages across the university to implement practices that improve consistency, transparency and accountability and demonstrate a community-oriented approach to safety and security. This office directly supports the full implementation of the UC Community Safety Plan.

Learn more about the Office of Systemwide Community Safety here


UC Free Expression Community of Practice

The Center and the UC Office of the President partnered to create a group of student affairs professionals from across the ten UC campuses whose work touches free expression. This community of practice meets online bi-monthly and annually in-person. At our last in-person full-day symposium discussion focused on labor relations, protests, effective methods for utilizing law enforcement and best practices for responding to bias incidents.

If interested, please contact Heather Belk at heather.belk@ucop.edu

Related Resources

VOICE Initiative

Recent & Upcoming Events

SpeechMatters Podcast