***CLICK HERE TO WATCH DAY 3 – SEPT. 20, 2023***

In an effort to activate a deeper understanding of Free Speech and First Amendment issues across the country, the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University, in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will hold four regional symposia around the United States. We are pleased to announce that the first one will be in St. Paul, Minnesota, and co-hosted by Hamline University.

Free Speech at the Crossroads: A Minnesota Dialogue will take place Monday-Wednesday, September 18-20, 2023, with the first day at the Knight Foundation offices in downtown St. Paul, and the subsequent two days on the campus of Hamline University.

This event is made possible by its co-sponsors Georgetown University, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Hamline University, the Star Tribune, the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, the Wayfinder Foundation, and MinnPost.

*Click the links below for more info

Featured Sessions Include

DAY 3 – REGISTER HERE – Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Location: Hamline University, 774 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55104 // Anderson Center, Rms. 304 & 305

Opening Remarks

9:00 am CDT

Dr. Rebecca A. Neal, Director, Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching, Hamline University

Viewpoint Diversity: Listening to Another Side

9:15 am -10:30 am CDT

Many hope that embracing viewpoint diversity fosters an environment with a wide range of political opinions and perspectives, bridges divides, and even challenges our own biases. But whatever one’s political opinion, what if the “other side” of the truth is a lie at best, and an outrageous conspiracy theory at worst? As people at various points on the political spectrum seek to further viewpoint diversity in our institutions, how can they come together to assess which disagreements of opinion are valid and nuanced, and which are unhinged and even disqualifying? Just how does one go about recruiting colleagues who will disagree constructively with others? Are there litmus tests? To what extent have cultural institutions themselves become victims of the culture wars?


Deborah Appleman is the Hollis L. Caswell Professor of educational studies at Carleton College. Her recent work has focused on teaching college-level language, literature, and creative writing courses at the Minnesota Correctional Facilities in Stillwater and Faribault to incarcerated men who are interested in pursuing post-secondary education. She taught high school English for nine years before receiving her doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

Kathryn Kay Coquemont is vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Macalester College. She previously served as associate vice president for student success at Salt Lake City Community College, where she led institutional learning circles focused on anti-racism and co-chaired task forces for increased institutional support of Hispanic/Latinx and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students.

Robert Groven, assistant dean of faculty development and associate professor of Communication Studies at Augsburg University, is one of the original founders and the current director of the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL). MNUDL is an independently funded program of Augsburg using the transformative pedagogy of debate to close the opportunity gap by empowering young people to become voices of change in their communities; it serves some 1,200 students in 67 programs across nine school districts in the Twin Cities.

Jeffrey R. Young (moderator) is a reporter and editor at EdSurge and host of the weekly EdSurge Podcast. He previously spent 20 years at The Chronicle of Higher Education as a reporter and editor. He has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and earned a master’s degree in Communications, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.

Hate Speech in Politics and Education


10:45 am -12:00 pm CDT

Hate speech has been a growing and troubling phenomenon in the United States, as well as other democratic nations. Ill-intentioned individuals – some of them in power – have employed it to demean and harm already-marginalized people, incite violence, manipulate the public, and sow distrust in democracy itself. At the same time, efforts to curb hate speech through policy and regulation have raised concerns about silencing dissent and opposition, while offering a false sense of community stability. In a democratic country, where even ugly and detestable speech is generally protected, are there any measures that governments and educational institutions can adopt to foster a culture of respect and inclusivity, while at the same time protecting the principles of the First Amendment? What can the United States learn from others in this domain?


Christopher Chapp teaches courses on research methodology and American political behavior at St. Olaf College. He received a B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where he studied American politics with an emphasis on political psychology. His research interests include political communication, campaigns and elections, religion and U.S. politics, and the politics of class and inequality.

Ruth DeFoster teaches writing, moral philosophy, advertising, and popular cultures at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her professional background is in print journalism, and her research focuses on media coverage of crime, terrorism, gun violence, and mass shootings. DeFoster is the author of the 2017 book, Terrorizing the Masses: Identity, Mass Shootings, and the Media Construction of Terror, and the upcoming book, The Fear Knot: How Science, History and Culture Shape Our Fears, and How to Get Unstuck.

Duchess Harris is a professor of American Studies at Macalester College. She is also an affiliated member of the political science department and co-directs the Congress to Campus Program with Professor Andrew Latham. Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. Twenty-five years after earning her degree, she was asked to deliver the prestigious David Noble Lecture at her alma mater.

John Hinderaker, president of the Center of the American Experiment, was a litigator with a Minneapolis law firm for 41 years. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television in the United States and Australia. John graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, and he has lectured at Dartmouth, Harvard, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and the University of St. Thomas Law School. Hinderaker founded the Power Line website in 2002.

Tom Crann (moderator) has been a host, producer, and interviewer for Minnesota Public Radio since 1995, and since 2005 has been the host of the local broadcast of “All Things Considered.” He anchored MPR’s award-winning live coverage of the 35W bridge collapse. Crann has also spent over 20 years hosting and producing classical music and cultural programs at public radio stations around the U.S, and for RTE/Lyric FM in Ireland, where he is still a contributor.