March 31, 2011

First Amendment Day

(Left to right) Kyle Peterson, Jessie Opoien, Sarah Haas, Dylan Boyle and Sarah Binder lead the 2010 Freedom March. Photo by Rashah McChesney.

First Amendment celebration begins April 3

by Erin Rosacker

More information can be found on the ISU First Amendment Day blog or Twitter feed.

The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication's First Amendment Day celebration falls a week earlier on the calendar, kicking off April 3, with most events planned for April 6-7. All events are free and open to the public.

Michael Dahlstrom, Greenlee assistant professor and First Amendment Day co-chair, said the celebration was moved up a week to separate it from Veishea activities. He said a grant from the Liberty Tree Initiative helped to fund the most impressive lecture lineup in the celebration's nine-year history.

Funded through a grant from the McCormick Foundation, the Liberty Tree Initiative promotes First Amendment awareness on campuses nationwide. An elm tree will be planted near the diagonal sidewalk between Curtiss Hall and the campanile during Feast on the First Amendment festivities April 7. According to the initiative, the tree represents America's first conversations in 1665 about freedom, which took place under an elm tree in Boston Common.

Schedule of events

Two events are scheduled early in the week, including an opening lecture by Jeff Fleming, director of the Des Moines Arts Center. He will discuss public funding and free expression in visual arts on Sunday, April 3 (7 p.m., 2019 Morrill). On Tuesday, April 5, a First Amendment Blog Poetry Slam (performance poetry readings) will begin a 7 p.m. at the Ames Progressive, 118 Hayward Ave.

On Wednesday, April 6, author and ISU English assistant professor Ben Percy will speak at the kickoff breakfast (8-9:15 a.m., 172 Hamilton). The day's events also include an ArtWalk with University Museums staff (noon, Parks Library) and a lecture, "Leaks, Leaders and the Law," by Jeffrey Hunt, a First Amendment attorney from Salt Lake City (7 p.m., South Ballroom, Memorial Union).

Events on Thursday, April 7, begin at 9 a.m. with the annual freedom march from Ames City Hall (515 Clark Ave.) to the steps of Beardshear Hall. In addition to the tree planting, Feast on the First Amendment activities will include soapbox debates, food, music and exhibits. That event will be held, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on central campus.

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, Arlington, Va., will give two talks on Thursday -- a 10:15 a.m. lecture in the MU Campanile Room and the 8 p.m. keynote address, "Why Students Depend on Freedom of Expression," in the MU Sun Room. Other talks on Thursday include:

  • "Your Freedoms, Your Choices," Kalpana Ramgopal and Lisa Brinkley, Greenlee Student Services (11:15 a.m., MU Campanile Room)
  • "Making Your Entire Campus a Free Speech Zone," Adam Kissel, (2:30 p.m., MU Cardinal Room)
  • "Attacked for Words: A Terror Campaign Against Sri Lankan Journalists," Poddala Jayantha, Sri Lankan journalist (3:40 p.m., MU Cardinal Room)