Across the country, debates rage on university campuses as to whether or not they should allow speakers like Richard Spencer to have space on their campus for speaking events. In some cases lawsuits are filed and courts intervene. In Cincinnati, we’ve seen the University of Cincinnati wrestle with this issue in our own backyard. In addition to the decisions made by university officials and speakers who request space, other questions arise, and other individuals are impacted.

What is legally protected under the first amendment? Who is Richard Spencer and what is his message? What are the reactions to this message and who is reacting? What is the cost of free speech and who should pay for it? Does freedom of speech lead to threats and actual harm? How are university officials making decisions about whether or not to allow speakers on campus? How do the courts decide the cases that come before them?

And finally, what’s the best way to express our disagreement when we strongly disagree?

Moderated by Bob Rack and Patti Foster, and with an introduction focused on the student response by University of Cincinnati alumnus Aftab Pureval, the following individuals participated in a conversation around just these questions in the Mayerson Room at Hebrew Union College on Wednesday, January 24th.

Dr. John Paul Wright, Professor, University of Cincinnati
Sana Hassan, Staff Attorney, Council on American-Islamic Relations
Ken Wall, Director, SAFE Cincinnati
Judge Fanon Rucker, Judge, Municipal Court
Kate Murphy, Higher Education Reporter, Cincinnati Enquirer

Listen to the full program here:

Part 1: When Hate Comes to Town

Part 2: When Hate Comes to Town


In advance of our program, several of our panelists participated in a conversation on WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition on Tuesday, January 23rd. You can listen to that conversation below.