Professor John R. Stanley offers the following account of how he organized the 2010 celebration of National Freedom of Speech Week at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.:
We had a Freedom of Speech Exhibit during one day (Wednesday, October 20 from 9 AM to 5 PM). Within it, we displayed about 13 posters that I put together that related to different issues concerning freedom of speech. At the bottom of each poster were two questions promoting discussion about freedom of speech issues as they related to each of the posters. Such posters included issues related to:
A. Flag burning
B. Artistic Freedom (Mirth & Girth by David Nelson)
C. A poster on Freedom of Speech in China (offering a cultural perspective)
D. Clothing as Freedom of Speech (Paul Robert Cohen case from 1968 regarding “vulgarity on his jacket)
E. Broadcast speech (George Carlin)
F. Protesting (Fred Phelps at Funerals specifically)
G. The Freedom to Read
Also, we had a banned books display, with folded cards that displayed why the book was banned.
Within the exhibit, students and faculty were encouraged to write their responses on the sheets of paper on the tables as well as on the chalk boards and white boards within the room around the display.
Also, a 15 minute presentation looped via Power Point during the whole day’s exhibit. It mentioned things that were not considered protected speech as well as had quotes about Free Speech from a variety of famous people. There were two videos imbedded within the presentation (one on protesting at funerals and one on the music censorship).
Lastly, at the end of the day, our state champion debate team debated the issue of whether or not protesting at funerals should be considered protected speech.
Several students and faculty went through the exhibit over the course of the day and also attended the debate at the end of the day.
Thanks for including us!!! This was a fantastic event that opened up a lot of dialogue about freedom of speech.
John R. Stanley
Assistant Professor of Speech Communication,
Director of Individual Events &
Assistant Director of Forensics
North Central College
30 North Brainard
Naperville, IL 60540