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.
Realizing the Democracy We Want: Student Voting and Civic Engagement
What is the state of youth voting among college students as we barrel toward the November presidential election? Today’s guests, Jennifer Domagal-Goldman from ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, and UC Berkeley undergraduate student, Alex Edgar, discuss successful strategies to increase youth participation in local, state and federal elections in 2024. Listen in for tangible tips on actions you can take now to engage the young people in your life and on your campus. Full transcript available here.
Executive director, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge at Civic Nation
Undergraduate student, UC Berkeley
Every single person in a college community can help support nonpartisan democratic engagement on their campus by:
- Visiting www.allintovote.org and check or update your registration and then take our Pledge to Vote – and then ask three friends or family members to do the same.
- Asking your president or chancellor to join more than 625 of their peers in signing our Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation. It sends a strong signal to the campus that nonpartisan voter engagement matters.
- Working with your athletic department to encourage all athletic administrators and coaches to sign the 2024 Coaches Pledge.
- Recognizing a student who’s doing extraordinary work on your campus with the ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll.
- Submitting a nonpartisan campus democratic engagement action plan by May 31, 2024.
- Learn more about the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition: https://slsvcoalition.org/
- Check out the latest U.S. Department of Education Toolkit for the Promotion of Voter Participation for Students: https://allin.vote/USEd-Toolkit
Getting Curious: Restorative Justice Practices in Higher Ed
Restorative justice – traditionally used as a way to respond to criminal acts – is now being used on college and university campuses to foster community, improve relationships and respond to harm. Leading the way is the Office of Restorative Justice Practices at UC San Francisco directed by this month’s guest, Dr. Maria Jaochico. Dr. Jaochico grounds us in restorative justice approaches that can be utilized when community values compete with protected speech. Full transcript available here.
Director of the Office of Restorative Justice Practices, UC San Francisco
- Restorative Justice Practices at UCSF (UCSF)
- RJ101 For workplaces and organizations (UC Berkeley)
- National Education Association Restorative Practices (NEA)
- “Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice” by Fania E. Davis
When Speech Causes Stress: Supporting Campus Constituents
People do not seem to agree on much right now; however, there does seem to be consensus that this is a challenging and painful time on college campuses. This month’s guests, Dr. Katya Armistead, assistant vice chancellor and dean of students for UC Santa Barbara and Dr. Genie Kim, director of student mental health and wellbeing at the UC Office of the President, discuss the hard work of providing support to the campus community when ugly speech rears its head. Full transcript available here.
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, UC Santa Barbara
Director of Student Mental Health and Wellbeing, UC Office of the President
- “How two Dartmouth professors are addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” (NPR)
- Student mental health & well-being (UC Office of the President)
- Message to students on “Campus Climate and Civility” from Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and guest Katya Armistead at UC Santa Barbara
Indictments, Incitement and (Artificial) Intelligence
Join the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, Ben Wizner, for a conversation about former President Trump’s use of the First Amendment as a legal defense, whether his speech on January 6th meets the Supreme Court’s test for incitement and how AI might impact the democratic process. Full transcript available here.
Director of the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, ACLU
- “Opinion: We’ve defended Trump’s 1st Amendment rights. But his latest claims about the Jan. 6 indictment are nonsense” by David Cole and Ben Wizner
- Just Security Trump Trials Clearinghouse
- DOJ 2020 Election Interference Indictment
- Georgia 2020 Election Interference Indictment
“Wake Up Everybody”: President Drake on Speaking Up, Medicine and Music
As the academic year begins and students return to campuses, we look forward to another year of expression and engagement. This month we are honored to have UC President Michael V. Drake join the podcast to discuss a time when he spoke up in the face of racism, how UC uses its voice to further its motto of Fiat Lux as well as to share some song picks with us. Full transcript available here.
University of California President and Center Chair
- 2022-2023 Class of Fellows Projects: https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/fellows-22-23/
President Drake’s Song Picks
- “Wake up Everybody” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOxoeGL3tTo
- “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEBlaMOmKV4
- “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqNTltOGh5c
A Student Affairs Administrator and a Police Officer Walk into a Bar …
Two former fellows, Dr. Alice Yau, a Sergeant with the Chicago Police Department and Dr. Jill Dunlap, Senior Director for Research, Policy, and Civic Engagement at NASPA join us this month to discuss their research and curriculum related to speech, campus law enforcement and student affairs administrators. Together, with host Michelle Deutchman, learn how this dynamic duo paired up to address protest and free speech policies on campus. Full transcript available here.
Senior Director for Research, Policy & Civic Engagement at NASPA, ’20-’21 Center Fellow
Dr. Alice Yau
Sergeant & Police-Officer-Instructor-Trainer at the Chicago Police Department, ’20-’21 Center Fellow
- Visit this page for more information about Jill & Ali’s Student Affairs Workshops
- 2020-2021 Fellowship Project – Mind the Gap: Administrators’ Role in Reducing Tensions Between Campus Law Enforcement and Student Activists
- Jill & Ali’s Fellows in the Field Workshop
- Two examples recommended during the episode:
Courting Controversy: Upcoming Cases on Campus Speech
In this month’s SpeechMatters episode, former fellow and UC Davis Law Professor Brian Soucek dives into what’s happening in the lower courts when it comes to campus speech. Brian and Michelle talk diversity statements and the recent lawsuit against UC Santa Cruz, bias response teams and Speech First’s targeted lawsuits against them, and the potential impact of the decision in 303 Creative. Full transcript available here.
Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Fellow at UC Davis, ’20-’21 Center Fellow
- “Institutional Values, Academic Freedom, and the First Amendment” Brian Soucek Fellowship Project
- “How to Protect DEI Requirements From Legal Peril” by Brian Soucek
- “Speech First, Equality Last” by Brian Soucek
- “Bias Response Teams and Emerging Alternatives” Ryan Miller Fellowship Project
- “Stop WOKE Act” Brief by Amna Khalid & Jeffrey Snyder
The Challenge of AI: “Abstinence is Not the Best Approach”
The latest generative AI technologies have dominated the headlines these last few months raising questions about how ChatGPT will change teaching, research and learning at colleges and universities, as well as in society at large. In this episode, we explore AI’s impacts – both big and small – with nationally recognized technology policy expert and Director of UNC at Chapel Hill’s Center on Technology Policy Matt Perault. Full transcript available here.
Director, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Center on Technology Policy
- UNC Center on Technology Policy: https://techpolicy.unc.edu/
- Matt Perault Article on Section 230 and Chat GPT: https://www.lawfareblog.com/section-230-wont-protect-chatgpt
- “Our Robophobia” by Andrew Keane Woods: https://www.lawfareblog.com/our-robophobia
- “Communications Can Be Defamatory Even If Readers Realize There’s a Considerable Risk of Error” by Eugene Volokh
Class Notes Links:
- “On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed: https://bookshop.org/p/books/on-juneteenth-annette-gordon-reed/15266396
- Jenny Pizer, LAMBDA Legal SpeechMatters Episode: https://freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/speechmatters-podcast/#Ep6Jenny
- American Library Association’s “Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022:” https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10
Lessons Learned: Preparing for and Responding to Polarizing Speakers on Campus
With college life fully back in-person this year, we have seen a series of heckler’s vetoes and violence at universities across the country. This week’s guests, UC Davis student body President Radhika Gawde and Penn State’s Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Danny Shaha, join us to share their experiences preparing for and responding to polarizing figures invited to speak on campus. Full transcript available here.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Penn State University, 2022-23 Center Fellow
Student Body President, UC Davis Associated Students
- Penn State Statement Prior to Oct. 24 event
- Penn State President Bendapudi’s message after the cancelation of the event
- Penn State President Bendapudi’s free speech video
- UC Davis Free Speech Town Hall Prior to March event
- UC Davis Statement Post Oct. 25 event cancellation
- UC Davis Chancellor May’s free expression video
Dahlia Lithwick talks Speech, SCOTUS and Stanford Law School
This month’s episode features Slate Senior Editor and Lady Justice author Dahlia Lithwick. Together with host and Center Executive Director Michelle Deutchman, Dahlia talks through recent events at Stanford Law School, cases at the high court and the significance of the expulsion of two Black Tennessee state representatives for exercising their speech rights. Full transcript available here.
Senior Editor at Slate and author of Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America
- Recent Slate Articles by Dahlia Lithwick:
- Most Recent “Amicus” Podcast Episode on Tennessee Legislators: https://slate.com/podcasts/amicus/2023/04/the-tennessee-three-and-the-republican-strategy-to-make-voting-irrelevant
- New York Times piece by Vimal Patel on Stanford Law School: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/09/us/stanford-law-school-free-speech.html
Can the Framework of Human Rights Law Help at Home?
UC Irvine School of Law Clinical Professor David Kaye joins SpeechMatters this month to tackle freedom of expression from a global perspective. The conversation touches on how tools like social media and AI might work for (and against) protesters around the world, and why “using the vocabulary of human rights” here at home and on our campuses can enhance expression. Full transcript available here.
Director of International Justice Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law at UC Irvine Law
- International Justice Clinic at UC Irvine Law
- Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet by David Kaye
- UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
- David Kaye’s work as UN Special Rapporteur
- Global Network Initiative
Democratic Engagement is a Courageous Act
Two former Center fellows Ellis Cose, Director of the Renewing American Democracy Project, and Teri Platt, Associate Professor of Public Administration at Clark Atlanta University come together to talk about Black History Month, the teaching of Black history and the critical role that the next generation of voices can have in our democracy. Full transcript available here.
Director of Renewing American Democracy
Associate Professor of Public Administration at Clark Atlanta University
- Renewing American Democracy Project
- Teri Platt’s Fellowship Project: “Evaluation of Free Speech and Civic Engagement on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Campuses for 2020 Social Justice Summer and General Election”
- Ellis Cose’s Fellowship Project: “Free Speech in a Post-Truth Society”
- La Times opinion article by Ellis Cose: “Opinion: Black History Month is a century-old relic – one we still desperately need”
- Campus Vote Project – Legacy Initiative
- Ways that Voting is Harder in GA
“Tell me More”: Tactics to Move Beyond Cancel Culture on Campus
To kick off season two of SpeechMatters, Michelle Deutchman is joined by University of Pennsylvania Professor and author Sigal Ben-Porath to discuss her new book, Cancel Wars: How Universities Can Foster Free Speech, Promote Inclusion, and Renew Democracy. Ben-Porath leaves listeners with steps everyone can take to strengthen community and, ultimately, democracy. Full transcript available here.
Professor of Education, University of Pennslyvania
- Cancel Wars: How Universities Can Foster Free Speech, Promote Inclusion, and Renew Democracy by Sigal Ben-Porath
- Free Speech on Campus by Sigal Ben-Porath
- Article in The New York Times by Vimal Patel: “A Lecturer Showed a Painting of the Prophet Muhammad. She Lost Her Job.“
Home for the Holidays: Dialoguing Across Political Difference
With the holiday season in full swing, Michelle Deutchman chats with Tania Israel, UC Santa Barbara Professor and author of Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide, and BridgeUSA CEO Manu Meel, about how to engage in challenging conversations with family and friends and why doing so is fundamental to democracy. Full transcript available here.
NOTE: Since this recording, postdoctoral employees and academic researchers ratified an agreement to end their strike and return to work.
Associate Dean for DEI and Professor of Counseling Psychology, UC Santa Barbara; Author of Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide
Chief Executive Officer, BridgeUSA
- The Flowchart That Will Resolve All Political Conflict in Our Country
- Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide: Skills and Strategies for Conversations That Work by Tania Israel
- Start a Chapter – BridgeUSA
Digital Speech Goes to the Supreme Court
In this episode, Center Executive Director Michelle Deutchman and Eric Goldman, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law at Santa Clara University Law School, consider the two cases on the Supreme Court docket that could transform the internet speech landscape. Goldman suggests ways that individuals can be part of shaping the future of “Internet 3.0.” Full transcript available here.
Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law; Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute & Supervisor, Privacy Law Certificate
- Technology and Marketing Law Blog
- An Overview of the United States’ Section 230 Internet Immunity by Eric Goldman
- Why Section 230 Is Better Than the First Amendment by Eric Goldman
- The Constitutionality of Mandating Editorial Transparency by Eric Goldman
- Gonzalez v. Google LLC – SCOTUS blog
- Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh – SCOTUS blog
Notes from the Field: Fighting Educational Gag Orders
In this episode, Michelle Deutchman invites PEN America’s Director of Free Expression and Educational Programs Jonathan Friedman and ACLU’s Senior Staff Attorney Emerson Sykes to discuss their ongoing efforts to protect free speech and academic freedom from censorious state legislation. Full transcript available here.
Director of Free Expression and Education Programs at PEN America, 2019-2020 Center Fellow
Staff Attorney at the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project; 2019-2020 Center Fellow
- Article in The 74 by Asher Lehrer-Small: “The ACLU’S Fight Against Classroom Censorship, State By State“
- ACLU Court Case: Pernell v. Florida Board of Governors
- ACLU Court Case: Bert v. O’Connor
- Article in The Progressive Magazine by Jonathan Friedman: “Rapidly Accelerating Book Bans Are Part of a Coordinated Assault on Public Education“
- PEN Report: Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools
- PEN Report: Educational Gag Orders
Tales from the Beat: A Conversation with Higher Ed Reporters
In this episode, Michelle Deutchman sits down with two seasoned journalists on the higher education beat, Elissa Nadworny from National Public Radio and Michael Powell from The New York Times, to discuss what their reporting has revealed about the evolving relationship between higher education, free speech and democratic learning. Full transcript available here.
Higher Education Correspondent at National Public Radio
National Reporter at The New York Times
Back to School: What’s Ahead for Campus Speech?
In this ‘Back to School’ episode, Michelle Deutchman sits down with UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley Law, who also serve as co-chairs of the Center’s National Advisory Board. The trio discuss recent trends related to campus speech and academic freedom, as well as what challenges lie ahead in the coming academic year. Full transcript available here.
National Advisory Board Co-chair at the Center and dean of UC Berkeley School of Law
National Advisory Board Co-chair at the Center and chancellor at UC Irvine
- PEN Report: America’s Censored Classrooms
- Article in The Connecticut Post by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman: “Yale heckling is bad. State censorship? Worse.“
- Article in The Washington Post by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman: “Free speech doesn’t mean hecklers get to shut down campus debate“
- Free Speech on Campus by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman
Looking at the Law: The First Amendment & LGBTQ Rights
In this episode, Michelle Deutchman discusses the legal fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community with Jenny Pizer, Acting Chief Legal Officer at Lambda Legal. Lambda is the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV. Michelle and Jenny discuss the role of litigation, education and public policy work in the LGBTQ movement including the release of the updated Title IX regulations and an expressive conduct case that is headed to the Supreme Court. Full transcript available here.
Acting Chief Legal Officer at Lambda Legal
- Article in The Hill by Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings: “President Biden: Don’t forget LGBTQ students while honoring Title IX“
- Statement by President Joe Biden on the 50th Anniversary of Title IX
- FACT SHEET: U.S. Department of Education’s 2022 Proposed Amendments to its Title IX Regulations
- Lambda Legal Applauds Biden Administration for Proposed Regulations Protecting LGBTQI+ Students
- Brief for Amici Curiae Lambda Legal (in the case of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis)
- 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis Opinion (United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit, July 16, 2021)
What Does the Data Tell Us? Exploring Self-Censorship on College Campuses
In this episode, two experts – both of whom have conducted research on the issue of self-censorship – help us look behind the click-bait headlines to examine why college students may be reticent to share their viewpoints. Dig into the data with Elizabeth Niehaus, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Senior Fellow at the Center, and Sean Stevens, senior research fellow in polling and analytics at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. (Note: Since the time of recording, FIRE’s name has been changed. Learn more here). Full transcript available here.
Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and Senior Fellow at the Center
Senior Research Fellow, Polling and Analytics at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression
- 2021 College Free Speech Rankings
- Annual Campus Expression Survey – Heterodox Academy
- The Spiral of Silence: A Theory of Public Opinion (Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, June 1974)
- Article in Inside Higher Ed by John K. Wilson: “The Inevitable Problem of Self-Censorship “
- “Self-Censorship or Just Being Nice? Understanding College Students’ Moral Reasoning around Free Speech in the Classroom” (Research by Elizabeth Niehaus)
- Article in Inside Higher Ed by David Steele: “Afraid to Speak Up or Out“
Hope in Higher Education―How We Move Forward
In this episode, former Secretary of Education and Maryland gubernatorial candidate John B. King, Jr. discusses some of the challenges facing higher education (high costs, opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect minority students, state legislatures’ threats to academic and individual freedoms) and why his outlook remains hopeful for its future. Full transcript available here.
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education and President of The Education Trust
- Beyond the Ban – The Education Trust
- Segregation Forever? The Continued Underrepresentation of Black and Latino Undergraduates at the Nation’s 101 Most Selective Public Colleges and Universities
- Broken Mirrors: Black Student Representation at Public State Colleges and Universities
- Broken Mirrors II: Latino Student Representation at Public State Colleges and Universities
- National & State Trends in Degree Attainment for Latino Adults – The Education Trust
- National & State Trends in Degree Attainment for Black Adults – The Education Trust
- Article in The Washington Post by John B. King, Jr.: “No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase my family’s history“
Book Banning: Local Fights, Dangerous Implications
In this episode, special guest Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, discusses the alarming rise in book bans across the United States, and what this dangerous trend means for the future of education, politics, and our essential freedoms. Full transcript available here.
Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation
- American Library Association (ALA): Intellectual Freedom: Issues and Resources
- ALA: State Legislative Toolkit
- ALA State of America’s Libraries Special Report: Pandemic Year Two (2022)
- Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 85
- PEN America: “Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights“
- Unite Against Book Bans
- Article in The Washington Post by Annie Gowen: “Censorship battles’ new frontier: Your public library“
- Article in CNN by Ronald Brownstein: “Book bans move to center stage in the red-state education wars“
Leading with love in the face of targeted harassment
In this episode, Michelle Deutchman sits down with Dania Matos, the Vice Chancellor for the Division of Equity & Inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley. The pair discusses Dania’s commitment to “leading with love” in her equity and inclusion work in the private, nonprofit and government sectors, and her experience with targeted harassment because of this important work. Full transcript available here.
Vice Chancellor for the Division of Equity & Inclusion, UC Berkeley
- UCI Resources to Support Academics Targeted by Online Harassment
- Research by 2020-2021 Fellow Nina M. Flores: “Tweets, Threats and Censorship: Campus Resources To Support Faculty Through Incidents of Targeted Harassment“
- Fellows in the Field Interactive Workshop: “Tweets, Threats and Censorship: Campus Resources To Support Faculty Through Incidents of Targeted Harassment“
- Article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by Sarah Brown: “Many Student-Affairs Officials Are Considering Leaving the Field“
- Ask the Experts: Diversity and Expression
“Cheap Speech” and its toll on our democracy
During the inaugural episode of SpeechMatters, Center Executive Director Michelle Deutchman sits down with Professor Rick Hasen, a national authority on elections and author of the recently published Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics—and How to Cure It, to discuss the state of democracy and the persistent threat of disinformation. Full transcript available here.
Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, UC Irvine
- Article in The Washington Post by Richard L. Hasen: “Facebook and Twitter could let Trump back online. But he’s still a danger.“
- Article in Slate by Richard L. Hasen: “How Supreme Court Radicalism Could Threaten Democracy Itself“
- Article in The New York Times by Richard L. Hasen: “How to Keep the Rising Tide of Fake News From Drowning Our Democracy“
- Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics—and How to Cure It by Richard L. Hasen