On Thursday, March 22nd, 2019, leading national experts discussed pressing issues related to free speech on campus, the internet and beyond at the Center’s inaugural #SpeechMatters conference in Washington, DC.

Highlights from #Speechmatters 2019

Learn about how UC students contributed to the conference during the student dialogue.

Event Videos

Opening Remarks by Michelle Deutchman and UC President Janet Napolitano

Panel 1: Columnists Corner

What does our evolving view of the First Amendment mean for America, our democracy and our future generations? The New York Times’ Frank Bruni and Bret Stephens, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, and NPR's Tamara Keith explored cutting-edge questions about free speech, public discourse and the role of the First Amendment in today’s society.

Lightning Talk by Howard Gillman

Panel 2: Speech Dilemmas in the Digital World

The rise of the internet has irrevocably changed how we communicate. Colleges must grapple with how best to use emerging technology to enhance education while also ensuring a safe and inclusive community. Prominent thought leaders and industry experts discussed the pressing issues surrounding technology’s impact on hate speech, harassment and today’s campus climate.

Lightning Talk by Erwin Chemerinsky

Panel 3: Furthering Civil Discourse in Higher Education

Tremendous attention has been directed toward the lack of civil discourse in America and our academic institutions. But what about the progress being made? In this panel discussion, scholars and university leaders shared the work they and others are doing to elevate dialogue and enhance viewpoint diversity on campus.

Fireside Chat with Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband and UC President Janet Napolitano

The #SpeechMatters conference closed with a discussion about free speech trends from campus to the courtroom between Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Eric Dreiband and UC President Janet Napolitano moderated by UCLA Professor of Engineering, Public Policy, and Management & Visiting Professor of Law, John Villasenor.

Event Photos


Ilana Redstone Akresh

Associate Professor of Sociology

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Susan Benesch


Dangerous Speech Project

Katya Armistead

Assistant Vice Chancellor & Dean of Student Life

UC Santa Barbara

Monika Bickert

Vice President for Global Policy Management and Counterterrorism


Frank Bruni

Op-Ed Columnist

The New York Times

Erwin Chemerinsky


UC Berkeley School of Law

Michelle Deutchman

Executive Director

UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement

Eric Dreiband

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division

Department of Justice

Vijaya Gadde

Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead


Howard Gillman


University of California, Irvine

Tamara Keith

White House Correspondent


Ruth Marcus

Deputy Editorial Page Editor

The Washington Post

Kelli Musick

National Campus Program Coordinator

Feminist Majority Foundation

Janet Napolitano


University of California

Steven R. Schultz

General Counsel

Purdue University

Lara Schwartz

Director of Civil Discourse Project

American University

Bret Stephens

Op-Ed Columnist

The New York Times

John Villasenor

Professor of Engineering, Public Policy, and Management; Visiting Professor of Law



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