March 23-31, 2017
Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

Intellectual Honesty

A lecture about free speech on college campuses with Robert L. Shibley
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 / 6:00pm-7:00pm
201 Plemmons Student Union (Blue Ridge Ballroom)
Free event

Join student and faculty advocate Robert L. Shibley, executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for a lecture on how college campuse act with regard to the First Amendment – and free speech in particular. Shibley has stated that “campuses are meant to be the ultimate marketplace of ideas in a free society,” and that college students are “regularly put on campus trial and threatened with the loss of their education and disruption of their careers for saying or thinking and expressing the wrong thing on campus.”

Robert Shibley

Robert Shibley is FIRE’s second longest-serving employee and is executive director of FIRE, having started in 2003 as a Program Officer for what would become the Individual Rights Defense Program. Along with traveling to various campuses to speak about First Amendment issues, Robert has represented FIRE publicly on “Fox and Friends” and “Stossel,” as well as on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” in national and international radio and TV interviews, and in published editorials in the New York Post, Boston Globe, National Review, Providence Journal, Daily Oklahoman, and other newspapers. He also writes columns for The Daily Caller,, and Pajamas Media.

About the commentators

Dr. Philip J. Ardoin

Dr. Phillip J. Ardoin is a professor of American politics and serves as chair of the Department of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University. He serves with Dr. Paul Gronke as co-editor of PS: Political Science and Politics, which is the journal of record for the American Political Science Association. He has served as president of the North Carolina Political Science Association and director of the Department of Government and Justice Studies’ graduate program in political science. From 2009-11 he was faculty in residence in Frank Hall on Appalachian’s campus.

Ardoin’s research interests address a broad array of issues within the field of American politics. His current research projects include analysis of factors that influence partisan polarization in the N.C. General Assembly, an examination of the influence of college student voting on local elections throughout the United States and attitudes of political elites regarding college student voting. At Appalachian, he has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses, including American National Politics, American Legislative Politics, The Presidency and Executive Branch, Fight Club Politics, Presidential Elections, and Washington at Work. Ardoin earned a B.A. from Marymount University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Louisiana State University.

Matthew Dockham

Matthew Dockham is director of external affairs and community relations at Appalachian. Prior to holding this position, he served as director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Environmental Quality (formerly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) in Raleigh. Dockham served almost six years in increasingly responsible legislative support roles for Congresswoman Sue Myrick and three years as legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

Reporting directly to Chancellor Sheri N. Everts, Dockham’s primary responsibility is fostering, supporting and expanding the university’s relationships with state, regional and local governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to strengthen the university and its ability to deliver educational, service and research programs in support of its mission. Dockham holds a B.S. in political science from Wake Forest University.

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 will explore these questions, and others.

Join the conversations!

Learn more | View the entire schedule