Past Programs

Berry College Spring 2009
Liberty Tree Week — a program series of speakers, exhibits and free performances with free admission. Events included the planting of a Liberty Tree; daylong classroom discussions about religious expression and freedom of information in America; a banned books display and the program “Rebooting America: The First Amendment & A New Generation.”

California State University, Fullerton Spring 2010
“Censorship at Every Turn” was a daylong symposium focusing on the role of censorship, copyright and free speech in the United States. The program included a screening of the documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” panel discussions and a keynote address on copyright and “unoriginal” speech.
Related link: Censorship at Every Turn

Central State University April 2013
Central State University held its 18th annual Communication Week April 7-12, 2013, with the theme “Focus on the First.” The week of activities included presentations by Ohio state senator and newspaper publisher Eric Kearney and Ohio ACLU Associate Director Gary Daniels.

Eastern Kentucky University Spring 2009
“Free Food vs. Free Expression and the First Amendment: No Free Lunch” — a campus-wide event in which students, faculty and staff were offered a choice between a free lunch and the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Through a series of student-organized staged “confrontations,” participants experienced the temporary “loss” of the rights of free speech and press, religious liberty and the rights of petition and assembly.

Elmhurst College November 2013
First Amendment Day was held Nov. 19, 2013, at Elmhurst College. The day featured a freedom of the press panel discussion, a college newspaper workshop and the dedication of The Liberty Tree.

Elon University Fall 2009
At “First Amendment Day at Elon,” First Amendment experts and advocates discussed the future of the First Amendment in an Internet-dominated age, and whether corporations and individuals share the same free speech protection. A Liberty Tree was planted at the conclusion of the events.

Illinois College 2013-14
The academic year at Illinois College got off to a fiery start with the “Reading Bad: Banned Books Contest,” followed in October by a popular multimedia performance, “1st and Foremost, Lift Your Voice.” In November, Ken Paulson gave a presentation called “James Madison & Twitter: How the digital generation can change the world.” The academic year culminated with an April dedication of a Liberty Tree at the Starhill Forest Arboretum.

Iowa State University Spring 2011
First Amendment Day 2011 began with a Freedom March from City Hall to central campus and included among its events a lecture on the student press in the 21st century, a Feast on the First Amendment, soapbox debates and the planting of a Liberty Tree.

Kirkwood High School 2014
An Editorial Leadership seminar during a spring journalism conference schooled attendees on issues in scholastic journalism. Through four TED-Talk-like presentations, participants learned about the First Amendment and their relationship with it. Topics included, “How to deal with an upset reader” and “Being a leader among your peers.”

Lehigh University Fall 2009
“Lehigh Celebrates the First!” was a series of programs and discussions on the five freedoms of the First Amendment. Programs and activities included testimonials from faculty, students and staff called “Banned Books We Love,” and the planting of a Liberty Tree. “Fight the Power,” a multimedia musical presentation of music that changed America, made its debut.
Related link: Lehigh Celebrates the First!

Miami University of Ohio Spring 2008
The pilot campus program launched April 7. More than 300 students and educators attended the First Amendment town hall meeting. Students developed their own Web site on First Amendment issues and a campus exhibit depicting First Amendment heroes.

North Georgia College & State University Spring 2011
A Liberty Tree planting kicked off the university’s series of campus Tree events. The university also hosted an exhibit titled “Bars & Blurs,” which featured artwork centered on the theme “Censorship vs. The Freedom of Speech,” a workshop on petitioning the government and a lecture on free press and the military.

Robert Morris University Spring 2011
“Festival of Five Freedoms” brought together college and high school students for events ranging from panel discussions on First Amendment issues to essay and project competitions to discussions with faculty. The festival also included the planting of a Liberty Tree on campus.
Related link: Festival of Five Freedoms

Southern Illinois University Spring 2011
The School of Journalism held a campus conference focusing on “accountability, privacy, anonymity and free expression in a Twitter Age.” The conference included panel discussions, an essay, story and photo contest involving First Amendment values, voter polling on First Amendment issues and the planting of a Liberty Tree on campus.

Trinity University 2013
First Amendment week at Trinity University was chock-full of freedom-enhancing events, including a screening of All the President’s Men, an improv performance and discussion, a debate about the status of hate speech, and edgy “two-page all-propaganda supplement to the campus newspaper.”

University of North Alabama Spring 2011
The university kicked off its First Amendment Month with the planting of a Liberty Tree. Other events included an art workshop for students in grades 3-8 through a partnership with the Tennessee Valley Art Association; a display of “Liberty Wraps,” which were columns wrapped with items reflecting the freedoms of the First Amendment; and presentations on “The Importance of the Local Newspaper” and “The First Amendment, Freedom of Speech and Civility.”

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Fall 2010
For the second year in a row, UNC-CH celebrated First Amendment Day. The daylong event featured the planting of a Liberty Tree, performances of controversial music, a banned-book reading, a discussion on the state of student free expression at the university, and a keynote address by Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.
Related link: First Amendment Day

University of Tennessee Spring 2011
The College of Communications held a month-long First Amendment Program that featured a banned books and newspapers exhibit, a panel discussion titled “WikiLeaks, the First Amendment, and the Espionage Act” and a workshop for high school journalism teachers. The celebration also included the dedication of a permanent kiosk in the college’s new Scripps Convergence Lab containing First Amendment information, documents and Web links.

West Morris High School 2012-2013
West Morris High School hosted a video contest promoting the First Amendment. The competition was covered in the school and community newspaper and the winner announced during First Amendment Day festivities.

Winston-Salem State University Spring 2010
“Social Media: Free Speech at What Cost?” was a one-day conference designed to help participants understand both the power and the ramifications of social media. The program featured a keynote address by Christopher “Play” Martin of the hip-hop duo Kid ’n Play, a talk on online ethics, a panel discussion on free speech and social media, and the planting of a Liberty Tree.

Wilkes University 2013
The Tom Bigler Journalism Conference at Wilkes University brought a slew of First-Amendment-related activities to the campus, including a professional workshop, speeches by media professionals, student media workshops and a keynote presentation by Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.

Winthrop University Spring 2011
The university held its second Liberty Tree Series in collaboration with the West Forum and with assistance from faculty, staff and students in the departments of mass communication, political science and English. The school held its first Liberty Tree program in Fall 2009. The 2011 events focused on free expression and paid particular attention to the performing arts. Events included presentations on banned books and hip-hop music as well as a staged reading of the controversial play “Phaedra’s Love.”
Related link: Liberty Tree Series

Yale University Spring 2010
The Liberty Tree First Amendment Online Colloquium at Yale Law School examined how First Amendment freedoms increasingly are exercised online, with the law in flux as to how those rights are protected. Topics included search engine law, the First Amendment online, political speech and e-mail, and open government. Speakers in the series included Amy Goodman, founder of Democracy Now!, and Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post.