The slogan “Hate Will Never Win” was popularized on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus in early 2018, spurred by the men’s basketball team in an effort to combat hate speech. The NU College of Law will continue the theme this week.
On Thursday, Sept. 19, the College of Law and the University Program Council will host former president of the American Civil Liberties Union Nadine Strossen to present her lecture “HATE: Resist It. Don’t Censor It” at 7:30 p.m. in the College of Law’s Hamann Auditorium.
Will Parker, a sophomore hospitality, restaurant and tourism management major and UPC’s diversity and education chair, said he hopes bringing Strossen to the College of Law will be helpful to the UNL law students.
“[Strossen] is a huge advocacy lawyer, and she has a ton of experience,” Parker said. “She has worked with so many advocacy groups on so many various topics.”
Parker worked with Katie Pfannenstiel, the College of Law’s assistant director of alumni relations and event planning to coordinate Strossen’s visit.
“[Strossen] really stuck out in [the College of Law’s] mind, especially given the recent free speech issues in our country,” Pfannenstiel said.
Strossen was brought to Lincoln in October 2018 as part of the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues.
“[Strossen] said that she wants to go beyond just the ‘hate speech’ theme that she addressed when she was here last year and also address the other free speech challenges that we are facing, like attacks on media [and] journalists and national security issues,” she said.
Parker said that students today can recognize the problems in today's world, but gaining insight into the legal perspective will deepen their understanding.
“It’s going to be about the legal side of advocacy,” Parker said. “How we can become a part of that community, and how we can do it respectfully?”
Pfannenstiel said the College of Law also hopes to bring awareness to the ongoing issues of free speech and censorship through this event.
“[Through Strossen,] we can gain an understanding of the importance of free speech, not just everywhere but specifically on college and university campuses,” Pfannenstiel said.
Both Parker and Pfannenstiel said Strossen’s experience with law and advocacy offers a unique perspective on such pressing issues.
“[The College of Law] just wants to give the students and law community the opportunity to hear from a powerful woman such as Nadine,” Pfannenstiel said. “Especially students with an interest in constitutional law.”
Overall, Parker and Pfannenstiel said they hope students can learn something new from this event and walk away with a broader view of free speech and censorship.
“I think that this talk will help teach all of us to learn from our disagreements,” Pfannenstiel said. “Let’s work together and try to see how we can move forward by having a conversation instead of having an argument.”