November 12-15, 2018
Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

Appalachian State University, like universities across the nation, is faced with the challenge of balancing a respect for and obligation to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution with an institutional culture of respect for thought, belief and community.

  • When members of our community express themselves in ways that belittle or degrade others, how do we address these actions?
  • When members of our community view expressions of speech as threats, how do we ensure their safety?
  • How can we protect freedom of speech and thought for all members of our community?
  • Can we – or should we – use policy to address these matters?

Through a weeklong series of conversations, panel discussions, speeches and forums with experts in the field, our community explored these questions, and others.

What campus learned from ‘Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State’
Listen to podcasts recorded during the weeklong series of events

The series of events titled “Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State” centered around the First Amendment and freedom of expression on our campus. In presenting this programming, Appalachian State University proactively explored issues of free speech, academic freedom and respect for differences of opinion and belief faced by college campuses across the nation.

The series of more than two dozen events culminated March 31, 2017, but the conversation continues.


Sponsoring organizations

  • Office of the Chancellor
  • Division of Academic Affairs
  • Division of Business Affairs
  • Division of Student Development
  • Division of University Advancement

Committee members

  • Dr. Phillip Ardoin, chair, Department of Government and Justice Studies
  • Dr. Lee Ball, director of sustainability
  • JJ Brown, dean of students
  • Jeff Cathey, director, Student Engagement & Leadership
  • Dr. Sue Edwards, vice provost for faculty affairs
  • Hank Foreman, interim chief of staff
  • Megan Hayes, director, University Communications
  • Traci Royster, director, Staff Development and Strategic Initiatives for student development
  • Leroy Wright, interim vice chancellor for Student Development

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