Atlantic Contributor Thomas Healy to Discuss Free Speech at UCSD


Students at the "Million Student March" on April 14, 2016. (AJ Peterson / The Triton)

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The Atlantic contributor Thomas Healy will visit UC San Diego to discuss free speech at college campuses on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Healy, a law professor at Seton Hall University, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Price Center East Ballroom. The author of The Great Dissent, the story of how Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes “resuscitated” the First Amendment, Healy is well known for condemning violence at university “free speech” events, while also arguing that disruptive forms of protest are just as legitimate as others. His piece in The Atlantic, “Who’s Afraid of Free Speech?” (which is also the title of his talk on campus), explains what he believes critics of campus protest often get wrong about “the state of public discourse.”

Event organizer and Communications Department Chair Valerie Hartouni told The Triton that she believes now is the time to invite speakers like Healy in response to public criticism of “what appears to be a rising, illiberal militancy on campuses.”

Hartouni said that the Communications Department plans to host more speakers in the coming weeks to reflect on the state of freedom of speech at the college campus level. The efforts on campus mirror those being taken by the UC as a whole, which last week announced the creation of a national center that will study the First Amendment in D.C.

“The goal of our planned series of talks is to situate front and center and provide a venue for thinking about what free speech is,” Hartouni wrote, “and what counts as legitimate counter-speech.”

Ethan Coston is a staff writer at The Triton.