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Facts vs. Feelings – First Amendment Education Week

To help the University community understand Free Speech, there will be a week of activities, culminating in the panel discussion, “Facts vs. Feelings.”

Millersville University is committed to creating a diverse campus environment free from harassment and discrimination. The campus sometimes has uninvited visitors who use hateful, bigoted, sexist, homophobic and racist rhetoric. What can the University do? What are the legal rights? What can students, faculty and staff do? Find out the week of March 13-17 when the Community Response Team, Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the MU Police Department hold a First Amendment Education Week.

“When uninvited visitors use language intended to anger and hurt people, it does not align with or reflect the EPPIIC values we live daily as a community. These non-university visitors used cowardly tactics designed to disrupt, frighten and anger individuals in our community and to garner attention,” says Carlos Wiley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Millersville.

To help the University community understand what can and cannot be done, there will be a week of activities, culminating in the panel discussion, “Facts vs. Feelings.” All events are free and open to the campus community.

Tuesday, March 14
Title IX Tabling 12-2 SMC Atrium
Free Funnel cake 12-1 Outside the SMC

Wednesday, March 15
Bystander Intervention
4-5 p.m. in SMC

Thursday, March 16
First Amendment Panel
4-6 p.m. in SMC, Room 24

The panel will include:

  • Ande Gonzalez – Chief of Appeals and Legal Services with the Lancaster District Attorney’s office.
  • Jeffrey B. Hawkins – Acting Chief Counsel to the State System of Higher Education and its constituent universities. Previously he served for nearly 20 years as primary University Legal Counsel for five of the State System universities and provided subject matter expertise to the Office of Legal Counsel in matters involving the First Amendment.
  • Rob Spicer – Dr. Spicer is an Associate Professor of Digital Journalism at Millersville University. His dissertation was “(Mis)Information wants to be free: A discourse analysis of deception in politics,” published in 2014. His book, “Free Speech and False Speech: Political Deception and its Legal Limits (or Lack Thereof)” was published in April 2018. He teaches communication research, journalism, media criticism, and media production courses.
  • Ronald Farrell – Millersville University senior Government, Policy, and Law major with a minor in economics. Recommended by the chair, Mr. Farrell is taking Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, where they just finished discussing the First Amendment, the categories of unprotected speech, and what defines those categories. He enjoys applying what he’s learned to real-life scenarios in the national and state governments.
  • Alyson Crose– Millersville University senior Government, Policy, and Law major with a Pre-Law concentration and a minor in English. Recommended by the chair of the department, Ms. Crose took the civil rights and liberties segment of Constitutional Law, which deals with the types of speech that are protected and unprotected by the First Amendment, as well as how courts analyze what constitutes unprotected speech. Outside of class, she enjoys reading about how our civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution are integrated into daily life through legislation and jurisprudence.
  • Laura Granruth – Dr. Granruth will moderate the discussion. She is an associate professor in the School of Social Work and oversees the Center for Civic Responsibility and Leadership. She has moderated campus forums featuring opposing political parties, and she teaches about social justice, gathering and free speech.

“We see these events as a way to educate the University community on the First Amendment,” says Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Mary Beth Williams. “The panel discussion will help us all know how to recognize and report non-EPPIIC behavior, how to build resilience for thoughts that differ from our own and how to build compassion for others who may be experiencing pain.”


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