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University of California Free Speech Center Launches Journal

December 20, 2019
 
 

The University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement has launched the first edition of Speech Spotlight, a new journal about First Amendment-related campus issues for higher education officials.

“This initiative is intended to help members of higher education communities gain new insights into speech and civic engagement-related issues on university and college campuses,” the inaugural report said. “Each installment will address a specific topic by clarifying the issues, reframing the debate and raising critical questions to facilitate constructive discussion and effective action.”

The center plans to send additional reports in 2020 but has not finalized a publication schedule, Michelle Deutchman, the center's executive director, said in an email. Those interested in receiving the reports can visit the center's website, she said.

The December 2019 chapter of Speech Spotlight focuses on the controversy of bias response teams, or BRTs, on college campuses, which support those who “feel aggrieved” by speech or actions on campus, the report said.

Some free speech advocates liken BRTs to “speech police,” while others argue they allow university leaders to better assess campus climate for marginalized students, according to the center. The report also references court cases related to BRTs and includes questions higher education officials should ask when considering implementing a BRT on their campuses.

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