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Punishing school students for online speech

William Turner, Lecturer in media studies | December 4, 2017

On November 29, a San Francisco federal judge untangled a really messy “school speech” case and ruled that students who posted or praised racist Instagram comments were not protected by the First Amendment. Judge James Donato decided that although the online posts, including “likes,” were “speech” under the First Amendment, the out-of-school posts were subject … Continue reading »

What is hate speech?

George Lakoff, professor emeritus of linguistics | October 3, 2017

I have been asked what hate speech is. It is not exactly hard to detect. Hate speech defames, belittles, or dehumanizes a class of people on the basis of certain inherent properties — typically race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Hate speech attributes to that class of people certain highly negative qualities taken to be inherent … Continue reading »

On speech and belonging

john a. powell, director, Othering & Belonging Institute | September 18, 2017

Today and in the upcoming weeks there are those scheduled to make appearances on our campus who are not coming here for dialogue. These speakers are not using their right to speak merely to communicate, they are using speech carefully crafted to harm, to demonize, to disparage, to create a sense of fear about anyone they deem Other. … Continue reading »

Are we Charlie?

Albena Azmanova, visiting scholar, Institute for European Studies | January 16, 2015

Upon arrival last week at Berkeley (I am a visiting scholar on a sabbatical leave) I was baffled by the silent campus. While the world was awash with “I am Charlie” protests in defense of free speech and condemnation of violence, the university that gained its fame as the cradle of the Free Speech movement … Continue reading »

The Free Speech Movement’s passionate readers

Thomas C. Leonard, emeritus journalism professor and University Librarian emeritus | September 22, 2014

“Passionate readers” is not the tag line today for the people swept up in the Free Speech Movement, but it fits just as well as other efforts to sum them up. Thanks to the archives that the Library has built, serious students of the FSM know this. Margot Adler, a familiar voice on National Public Radio … Continue reading »

Money talks and reason walks

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | October 15, 2013

A major case under consideration this term by the Supreme Court is McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which, if the appellants are successful, will do for wealthy individuals what Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010) did for corporations (yes, and labor unions, if any): allow them to give essentially unlimited amounts of money to … Continue reading »

Reconstructing memory

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | January 4, 2012

The Berkeley campus has an eatery with an interesting name and story: “The Free Speech Movement Café.” At the 2000 dedication of the café, then-Chancellor Robert Behrdahl lauded the tumultuous student movement of 1964 for having brought adult rights to college students, including the right of  free expression, and for having broadened civil debate. Back … Continue reading »