Freedom of Speech

“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” – Benjamin Franklin


Each year, the Goldfarb Center chooses an annual theme that informs and shapes our programming. This year the Goldfarb Student Executive Board selected freedom of speech. We plan to cover a range of issues related to free speech ranging from constitutional rights, the role of social media and big technology, resisting hate speech, and campus policies. We will be bringing speakers to campus to help us explore these issues, ranging from civil liberties leaders like Nadine Strossen to activists who were on the frontlines of democracy in Hong Kong reacting to a crackdown on free speech.

The theme is the focal point for the Goldfarb Freedom of Expression Policy Symposium held in the spring, which offers a $2,000 prize for the best public policy student proposal. This page will serve as an information hub on free speech with resources, articles, and updates on Goldfarb-sponsored talks to help educate and inform students who plan to participate in the spring policy competition.

Annual Theme Events

Goldfarb Center Freedom of Expression Policy Symposium​

April 26, 2021
The annual theme for 2020-21 was the criminal justice system and racial inequalities. You can learn more about our programming related to this theme in our annual report. 
In April 2021, six student semi-finalists presented their policy proposals on how to reform the U.S. criminal justice system to achieve racial justice. Topics ranged from marijuana decriminalization to the prison-industrial complex to predictive policing tools and more. The top three winners are announced at the end of the event. The winners were decided by a faculty panel, including Professors Christel Kesler, Adam Howard, and Nadia El-Shaarawi, all members of the Goldfarb Faculty Advisory Committee.
The top prize went to Ester Kim ’21 for her work on Policing in the US: Ensuring Equitable Involvement and Citizen Participation, second place went to Alice O’Neill ’23 and Halle Carroll ’23 who teamed up to focus on Anti-Capitalist Justice: Divesting from the Prison-Industrial Complex, and third place was awarded to Connor Flotten ’21 for his compelling thoughts on Ending the War on Drugs: Decriminalization and Racial Justice.