First Amendment Day on the Plains to feature expert on First Amendment freedoms

AUBURN – Auburn University will both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Auburn students as part of First Amendment Day on the Plains, Sept. 20 – 21. Access and Community Initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Special Collections and Archives in the Auburn University Libraries have coordinated a series of events that address First Amendment freedoms.

A panel discussion will address “Free Speech and Challenged Speech on University Campuses,” Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 11:30 a.m. in 2222/2223 Student Center. The panelists include Lee Armstrong, Auburn’s general counsel; Steven Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science; John Carvalho, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism; and Margaret Fitch-Hauser, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism.

Gene Policinski, one of the nation’s leading experts on First Amendment freedoms, will give the lecture “Securing Our Liberties,” Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 3 p.m. in Special Collections and Archives, Ralph B. Draughon Library. A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

In conjunction with the lecture, Special Collections and Archives has prepared an exhibit related to two freedom of speech cases that arose at Auburn University in the 1950s and 1960s.

Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, is a veteran journalist whose career has included work in newspapers, radio, television and online operations. Policinski oversees operations and programs of the center, which has offices in Nashville, at Vanderbilt University; and in Washington, D.C. The center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. It provides a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, include freedom of speech, the press, religion and the rights to assemble and to petition the government. Policinski also is co-author of the weekly syndicated newspaper column, “Inside the First Amendment” and executive producer and host of the touring multimedia stage production, “Freedom Sings.”

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment protects the right to freedom of religion and prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

For additional information on events at Auburn, go to or contact Paulette Dilworth at (334) 844-5042 or Shakeer Abdullah at (334) 844.2976.

(Contributed by Paulette Dilworth.)

Contact: Paulette Dilworth, (334) 844-5042 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (