Universities and students have come under attack in recent years for promoting the concept of “safe spaces.” Proponents of the idea argue that safe spaces promise a reprieve from bigotry and oppression by allowing students of all backgrounds the opportunity to express themselves freely. But to their critics, safe spaces pose a dire threat to free speech. Are safe spaces coddling young minds, or are they a necessary component of modern education? On Saturday, June 23, the “fantastic” (New Yorker) debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. will live stream a debate on the motion “Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous,” presented in partnership with the John Templeton Foundation.
PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel, a veteran of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, and Vanderbilt law professor and First Amendment expert David Hudson will debate in favor of the motion. Opposing them, and arguing in support of safe spaces, are Wesleyan president Michael Roth and UC Davis law professor Ashutosh Bhagwat.
Taped before a live audience in Canada, the debate will stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast “Intelligence Squared U.S.” On June 23, viewers can tune in at IQ2US’s website: https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debate/trigger-warning-safe-spaces-are-dangerous/
WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous”
WHEN: Saturday, June 23, 2018 / Debate 7:30-9:00 PM
WHERE: Streaming live at http://intelligencesquaredus.org
Debating For the Motion:
* Suzanne Nossel: CEO, PEN America
Suzanne Nossel is a leading voice on free expression issues in the U.S. and globally. She is CEO of PEN America, the leading human rights and free expression organization, and was previously chief operating officer of Human Rights Watch and executive director of Amnesty International USA. She is a veteran of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, most recently serving as deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations under President Obama.
* David L. Hudson Jr: First Amendment Scholar & Law Professor, Vanderbilt University
David L. Hudson Jr. is a First Amendment expert and law professor at Vanderbilt University. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of more than 40 books and has written several devoted to student-speech issues, including “Freedom of Speech: Documents Decoded” and “Let the Students Speak: A History of the Fight for Free Expression in American Schools.” Hudson also serves as the First Amendment Ombudsman for the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center.
Debating Against the Motion:
* Michael S. Roth: President, Wesleyan University
Michael S. Roth is the president of Wesleyan University and is known as a historian, curator, author, and public advocate for liberal education. He has written a number of books including “Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters,” which has been assigned to boards of trustees and incoming freshman alike and serves as a powerful tool for students, their families, faculty, and policymakers who are wrestling with the future of higher education in America.
* Ashutosh Bhagwat: Law Professor, UC Davis
Ashutosh Bhagwat is the Martin Luther King Jr. professor of law at UC Davis and the author of “The Myth of Rights: The Purposes and Limits of Constitutional Rights.” He has written numerous books, articles, and book chapters on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the structure of constitutional rights, to free speech law, to the California Electricity Crisis. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Bhagwat clerked for Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court.
ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. DEBATES (IQ2US)
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 150 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.
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