“Responding to Hate on Campus: Is Free Speech the Answer?” will be the focus of an onstage conversation at Hope College with Nadine Strossen, who is a past president of the American Civil Liberties Union, on Monday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The presentation will be a dialogue with Dr. David Ryden, who is the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of Political Science at Hope.  The event is being hosted by the college’s Markets & Morality student organization.

Strossen, who was president of the ACLU from 1991 to 2008, is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita at New York Law School and a Senior Fellow with FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education) and a leading expert and frequent speaker/media commentator on constitutional law and civil liberties, who has testified before Congress on multiple occasions. She serves on the advisory boards of the ACLU, Academic Freedom Alliance, Heterodox Academy, National Coalition Against Censorship, and the University of Austin.

The theme of the April 15 event at Hope is derived from the title of her 2018 book “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship.”  As outlined on the website of the book’s publisher, Oxford University Press, the book “[s]hows that laws restricting such speech do not effectively reduce the feared harms of ‘hate speech’” and “that non-censorial countermeasures, including the kind of robust ‘counterspeech’ that has been increasingly vigorous throughout the U.S., is more effective than censorship in advancing the causes of equality and societal harmony.”

Her most recent book, “Free Speech: What Everyone Needs to Know,” published this past October by Oxford University Press, provides specific answers to topical questions about free-speech law and general explanations of how and why the law distinguishes between protected and punishable speech. She is also the host and project consultant for “Free To Speak,” a three-hour documentary film series on free speech released on public television this past fall.

The National Law Journal has named Strossen one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers,” and several other publications have named her one of the country’s most influential women.  Her many honorary degrees and awards include the American Bar Association’s prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award (2017). In 2023, the National Coalition Against Censorship (an alliance of more than 50 national non-profit organizations) selected Strossen for its Judy Blume Lifetime Achievement Award for Free Speech.

When Strossen stepped down as ACLU president, three (ideologically diverse) Supreme Court Justices participated in her farewell/tribute luncheon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter.

Her book “Defending Pornography:  Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights” was named a New York Times “notable book” of 1995, and will be republished this year as part of the New York University Press “Classic” series.  Her book “HATE” was selected as the “Common Read” by Washington University and Washburn University.

Strossen has made thousands of public presentations before diverse audiences around the world, including on more than 500 different campuses and in many foreign countries, and she has appeared on virtually every national TV news program.  Her hundreds of publications have appeared in many scholarly and general interest publications.

Strossen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. Before becoming a law professor, she practiced law in Minneapolis (her hometown) and New York City. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Markets & Morality aims to support and celebrate freedom of expression in the context of the liberal arts by hosting speakers and films on topics spanning the economic, political and cultural aspects of human civilization, with a special concern for human flourishing as understood in Christian perspective.  The April 15 conversation is sponsored by Voices for Liberty and co-sponsored by the college’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Pre-Law Society and Department of Political Science.

To inquire about accessibility or if you need accommodations to fully participate in the event, please email accommodations@hope.edu.  Updates related to events are posted when available at hope.edu/calendar in the individual listings.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.