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Hate Speech in a Free Society

February 28 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


Thursday, February 28
Free for members; $15 for guests

Nadine Strossen, former national President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), dispels misunderstandings plaguing our perennial debates about hate speech. In her book, HATE: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, Not Censorship. Strossen highlights the dangers that follow efforts to serve justice by limiting civil rights. Strossen argues there has been little analysis of whether censorship effectively counters the feared injuries of hate speech and that laws to regularte hate speech are at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive, enabling enforcing officials with broad discretion which predictably targets minority views and speakers.

Jeremy Waldron, University Professor at NYU School of Law, offers a contrasting argument to Strossen, through the lens of free speech on college campuses. Waldron contends that universities are places of free inquiry, where free speech should be privileged, viewing the college campus as a community that faces issues of vulnerability. In his book, The Harm in Hate Speech, Waldron makes the case that hate speech should be regulated as part of a commitment to human dignity and inclusion and respect for members of vulnerable minorities.

Nadine Strossen is Professor of Constitutional Law at New York Law School and the first woman national President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she served from 1991 through 2008. She has written, taught and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties. In May 2018, Strossen’s book HATE: Why We Should Resist it with Free Speech, Not Censorship, was released to wide acclaim. Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Strossen is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jeremy Waldron is University Professor at NYU School of Law where he teaches legal and political philosophy. A prolific scholar, Waldron has written on jurisprudence and political theory. Waldron was born and educated in New Zealand, where he studied for degrees in philosophy and law at the University of Otago and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand in 1978. Waldron received his doctorate in legal philosophy at Oxford University and was Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998.

Please join us as two pre-eminent legal scholars share their diverging opinions on hate speech.


February 28
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm