Speech on Campus: Perspectives, Implications and Ethics

Wayne State University students, faculty, and staff are invited to an interdisciplinary symposium on student, faculty, and university interests in free and civil discourse on campus—and how to bridge those interests when they seemingly conflict. RSVP by February 26.

Thursday, February 29, 2024
Student Center Ballroom - 265
Wayne State University


Time Agenda
9:15  - 9:30 a.m. Welcome and introduction
Dean Richard Bierschbach 
Wayne State University Law School
9:30  - 11:30 a.m.  Panel I: “Student, Faculty, and Institutional Perspectives”
11:30 - 11:55 a.m.   Break for buffet line
11:55 a.m. - noon Presidential welcome and introduction of lunch discussion
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D.
Noon - 1:30 p.m. Lunch and moderated discussion
1:30 - 1:45 p.m.    Break
1:45 - 3:30  p.m. Panel II: “Bridging Interests, Perspectives, and Emotions”
3:30 - 3:45 p.m. Closing and introduction to upcoming year of dialogue events

Welcome and introduction

Richard BierschbachDean Richard Bierschbach 
Wayne State University Law School





Panel I: Student, Faculty, and Institutional Perspectives

This panel considers the varying educational, academic freedom and university interests implicated by upsetting or hateful student, faculty, and third-party speech, including online.


Mark SattaMark Satta
Wayne State University Law School
Department of Philosophy





Lauren Lassabe ShepherdLauren Lassabe Shepherd
University of New Orleans
Historian and author of Resistance from the Right: Conservatives and the Campus Wars (2023).





keith whittingtonKeith Whittington
Princeton University
Political theorist and author of Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech (2018)




Jennifer RuthJennifer Ruth
Portland State University
Critical theorist, co-author of the Academe blog and co-author of It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the Future of Academic Freedom (2022)




Denis Baszile

Denise Taliaferro Baszile
Wayne State University College of Education, Dean
Curriculum and cultural studies scholar and co-editor of Race, Gender, and Curriculum Theorizing (2016) and Curriculum Theorizing in Color and Curves (2020).

Lunch and moderated conversation

A university president and a law school dean will reflect on their years of institutional leadership, including lessons learned in working to create cultures of productive dialogue between groups and people with sometimes fundamentally different ideologies.

Kimberly EspyPresident Kimberly Espy
Introduction of speakers:
President, Wayne State University






Jon Weinberg Jon Weinberg
Wayne State University Law School






Eduardo PeñalverEduardo Peñalver
President, Seattle University






Erwin Chemerinsky Erwin Chemerinsky 
Law Dean, U.C. Berkeley






Panel II: Bridging Interests, Perspectives, and Emotions

This panel considers research and methodological approaches to the critical issue of moving past, and even repairing, speech divides.


Donyale PadgettDr. Donyale Padgett
Professor of Communication and Chief Diversity Officer, Wayne State University





Rachel Wahl Rachel Wahl
University of Virginia,
education scholar researching deliberation, dialogue and democracy in university communities and beyond.





Mary Kate CaryMary Kate Cary
University of Virginia,
politics fellow and former White House speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush.






Fred Duong Fred Duong 
University of Toronto,
social and personality psychologist studying empathy and polarization interventions.