Jon Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America will speak at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on Oct. 13.
The expert on free speech controversies is being hosted by the College of Education and Human Sciences and the Department of Educational Administration.
Friedman oversees research, advocacy and education related to academic freedom, educational gag orders, book bans and general free expression in schools, colleges and universities. An interdisciplinary scholar by training, Friedman has served as lead author on PEN America’s reports, Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights (2022), Educational Gag Orders: Legislative Restrictions on the Freedom to Read, Learn, and Teach (2021), and Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America (2020). He also steered the production of PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Guide (2020).
Friedman regularly provides commentary for news media about educational censorship, and has published op-eds for CNN, The Washington Post, The Hill, The Daily Beast, New York Daily News and Inside Higher Ed. In this role, Friedman also drives forward PEN America’s efforts to catalyze a more informed, civic culture among the rising generation, on college campuses and among the general public.
Friedman will speak at a session for faculty members and administrators 10 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 13, in the Great Hall of the Wick Alumni Center. The session will focus on whether free speech and the goals of a diverse, inclusive campus are truly at odds and why robust protections for academic freedom, though they can be nuanced and pose challenges, are vital to the academic mission.
The session will offer steps professors and administrators can take to effectively encourage both open and respectful exchange on campus and in classrooms, educate students and campus communities about free expression, and address situations in which racist or hateful arguments are put forth.
From 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Friedman will participate in a panel for students in Teachers College Hall, room 105. He will be joined by Michelle Hassler, associate professor of practice in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Kyle Langvardt, assistant professor in the College of Law. The informative panel discussion will focus on how educators can serve students in the current environment.