CSO opens new season


Columbus Symphony Opens 2018-19 Masterworks Season with Fantasia-Inspired Program September 21 & 22

CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov and the Columbus Symphony open the 2018-19 Masterworks season with a concert inspired by the 1940 Disney classic, Fantasia. Bach’s majestic music, as seen through the eyes of legendary conductor Stokowski, and Wagner’s terrifying “Ride of the Valkyries” are paired with the rich orchestral palettes of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Strauss’ iconic Also Sprach Zarathustra, made famous by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Columbus Symphony presents In Full Splendor: Opening Night at the Symphony at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, at 8pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The CAPA Ticket Center will also be open two hours prior to each performance.

Prelude – Patrons are invited to join Christopher Purdy and CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov in the theatre at 7pm for a 30-minute, pre-concert discussion about the works to be performed.

About CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is currently the music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain.

In 2017, Milanov received an Arts Prize from The Columbus Foundation for presenting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as part of CSO’s 2017 Picnic with the Pops summer series. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its reach by connecting original programming with community-wide initiatives, such as focusing on women composers and nature conservancy, presenting original festivals, and supporting and commissioning new music.

Milanov has established himself as a conductor with considerable national and international presence, appearing with the Colorado, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Seattle, and Fort Worth symphonies, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center and Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Civic Orchestra in Chicago.

Internationally, he has collaborated with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra de la Suisse Romand, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Aalborg, Latvian, and Hungarian National Symphony Orchestras, Slovenain Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestras in Toronto, Vancouver, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic (South Africa), Mexico, Colombia, Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte, and New Zealand. In the Far East, he has appeared with NHK, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Singapore Symphonies, and the Malaysian and Hong Kong Philharmonics.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. During his 11-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances. In 2015, he completed a 15-year tenure as music director of nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. In 2013, he wrapped up a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, Caroline Shaw, Phillip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev, among others.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcomed presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. He has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin for Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo for the Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Mazzepa and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus for Verdi’s La Traviata.

An experienced ballet conductor, he has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with some of the best-known choreographers of our time, such Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently, Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with the Zurich Ballet, and in Paris with La Scala Ballet.

Milanov studied conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, where he received the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship.

A passionate chef, he often dedicates his culinary talents to various charities.

About composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

A Baroque composer and musician, Bach is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations as well as for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His Toccata and Fugue in D minor was first published in 1833, during the Bach Revival era, through the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn. Familiarity with the piece was enhanced in the second half of the 19th century, but its popularity increased significantly in the 20th century due to being included in Disney’s Fantasia (in English composer Leopold Stokowski’s orchestral transcription). Today, it is considered the most famous work in the organ repertoire.

About composer Richard Wagner (1813–83)

Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, and conductor chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, he wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. The “Ride of the Valkyries” refers to the beginning of Act 3 of Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), the second of four operas constituting Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). The story of Die Walküre is based on the valkyrie of Norse mythology, one of a host of female figures who choose who dies in battle and who lives. The valkyries take their chosen dead to Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin, where they eat their fill and are brought mead by the valkries as they prepare for the great battle of Ragnarök. In “Ride of the Valkyries,” four of the eight valkyrie sisters of Brünnhilde gather on a mountain peak to prepare for the transportation of fallen heroes to Valhalla. As they are joined by the other four, they greet each other and sing their battle-cry.

About composer Paul Dukas (1865–1935)

French composer, critic, scholar, and teacher Paul Dukas was intensely self-critical, causing him to abandon or destroy many of his compositions. His best-known, surviving work, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (L’apprenti sorcier), is a symphonic poem written in 1897, and was based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1797 poem of the same name. In the poem, an old sorcerer leaves his apprentice behind in his workshop with a list of chores to complete. To make quick work of the list, the not-yet-fully-trained apprentice uses magic to enchant a broom to do the work for him. But when the broom soon floods the floor with water, the apprentice realizes he doesn’t know how to stop the magic.

About composer Richard Strauss (1864–1949)

Straus was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras, best known for his operas. He was also a prominent conductor in Western Europe and the Americas, enjoying quasi-celebrity status as his compositions became standards of orchestral and operatic repertoire. Composed in 1896, Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) is a tone poem inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel of the same name. The book chronicles the fictitious travels and speeches of Zarathustra. While Zarathustra’s namesake was the founder of the Zoroastrianism religion, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is one who turns traditional morality on its head. Strauss conducted the first performance of Also sprach Zarathustra in Frankfurt on November 27, 1896. Its initial fanfare–titled “Sunrise” in the composer’s program notes–became well known after its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.




Friday & Saturday, September 21 & 22, 8 pm

Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.)

CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov and the Columbus Symphony open the 2018-19 Masterworks season with a concert inspired by the 1940 Disney classic, Fantasia. Bach’s majestic music, as seen through the eyes of legendary conductor Stokowski, and Wagner’s terrifying “Ride of the Valkyries” are paired with the rich orchestral palettes of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Strauss’ iconic Also Sprach Zarathustra, made famous by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 228-8600 or (800) 745-3000. www.columbussymphony.com

The 2018-19 season is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city’s artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Kenneth L. Coe and Jack Barrow, and Mr. and Mrs. Derrol R. Johnson funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens.

Columbus Symphony and Musicians Reach Progressive New Three-Year Agreement

The Columbus Symphony (CSO) board, musicians, and the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians, Local 103, have agreed on a new, three-year collective bargaining agreement that will go into effect September 1, 2018.

Under the new agreement, the 47 full-time musicians of the Columbus Symphony will receive a 3% raise with an additional week of work added in the second year, and another week of work added in the third year. Ultimately, the musicians will be guaranteed 28 weeks of work. In addition, the musicians will perform one benefit concert per year for the next three years.

“The Columbus Symphony is committed to providing the community with the quality institution it deserves,” stated Lisa Barton, CSO Board Chair. “As evidenced by the final agreement, it is obvious both sides of the table understand what it takes to do that, and this is the next step in fortifying the organization’s stability while progressing to a new level of cooperation, community partnership, and music excellence.”

In addition, full-time musicians will have access to employer group health insurance for the duration of the three-year agreement. This is a continuation of the benefits extended to the musicians beginning April 1, 2018, a benefit that the CSO put in place prior to the negotiation of a new contract.

“This new agreement speaks volumes about the hard-won progress the Columbus Symphony has made to stabilize itself as an organization, allowing it to now move forward and begin rewarding those committed to its long-term success,” said Doug Fisher, President of the Central Ohio Federation of Musicians, Local 103. “We look forward to all the exciting things ahead for the Columbus Symphony and are proud to be a part of it.”

“Our musicians live and work in central Ohio and it is important for us as a board to ensure that we provide them with financial stability,” stated Barton.

“The Columbus Symphony board, staff, and musicians came together under the mantra of ‘one CSO’ to negotiate this contract, and the result is an agreement that positions the entire organization for success in meeting and exceeding our goal of serving the needs of a growing central Ohio community,” said Denise Rehg, executive director of the Columbus Symphony.

In the recently concluded 2017-18 season, the Columbus Symphony performed 243 concerts and programs for more than 158,000 people, a 7% increase in the number of concert and program performances and a 9% increase in attendance from the 2016-17 season.

“I have had the opportunity to observe the growth and development of the Columbus Symphony over the past few years, and feel this new agreement truly shows the organization’s commitment to serving the central Ohio community,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council. “I strongly believe in the value a professional symphony brings to a city, and when all facets come together with that common mission in mind, it creates an environment poised for success for many years to come.”

The 2018-19 season is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city’s artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Kenneth L. Coe and Jack Barrow, and Mr. and Mrs. Derrol R. Johnson funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens.

About the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the longest-running, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 175,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit www.columbussymphony.com.

Opinion: No, Internet Users Are Not Paying With Their Data

By Alan McQuinn


Every day, hundreds of millions of people go online to search the web, watch videos, read content, and catch up with friends — all without paying a single cent. But some critics deride this free ecosystem, claiming that not only are unsuspecting consumers “paying” for these services with their data but they are getting a rotten deal.

To fix this, they argue, government should enact tougher privacy laws or even give consumers property rights over their personal data. However, data is not like cash, and enacting laws and regulations based on this misconception would both harm America’s digital economy and make the lives of digital consumers considerably worse.

The exchange of data is a fundamentally different exchange of value than other transactions. Unlike most goods, data has not rivals: many different companies can collect, share and use the same data simultaneously. Similarly, when consumers “pay with data” to access a website, they still have the same amount of data after the transaction as before. As a result, users have an infinite resource available to them to access free online services. In other words, if I give you $10, I have $10 less. But if I tell you I am a Star Wars fan, now we both know that information. Sharing my data does not preclude me from sharing the same data to access any number of services.

Yet most detractors do not understand how services turn user data into value, mistakenly arguing that the interests of ad-supported companies and consumers are not aligned when users are not paying for services. Indeed, many go so far as to claim that if consumers are not paying money to use a service, then they are the product. The clear implication is that free services treat consumers worse than those that require payment.

This claim could not be further from the truth. Ad-supported digital services turn data into value by functioning as two-sided markets that connect consumers and advertisers. Users get access to a free service and advertisers get access to an audience for its ads. In most cases, the advertiser does not even know which users see their ad, only that the ad is placed in front of a targeted group of people, such as people who live in Washington or have an interest in travel.

Moreover, simply paying for a service does not immediately translate into a better experience for the consumer. For example, airline passengers often cite increasingly cramped airplane seats, lack of amenities and poor customer service — despite paying for tickets. Indeed, whether a company’s business model is subscription-based, pay-per single use, ad-based or any combination of the three has no bearing on the quality of consumer experiences.

Unfortunately, a growing number of advocates and some policymakers have started calling for privacy regulations for free digital services because they do not understand how ad-supported services operate nor see the value they generate for users. For example, Congress introduced legislation in April to require affirmative consent for data collection. These regulations would likely have a severe effect on the free internet ecosystem by reducing the effectiveness of advertising. One study of European regulations that limited how advertisers can collect and use consumer information for targeted advertising found that these rules reduced the effectiveness of online ads by 65 percent — leading to a massive reduction in revenue.

With much less money from advertising, some companies would have to switch from a free, ad-supported business model to a fee-for-service or subscription business model, where customers would have to pay for services that were once free. You can hear the complaints now: Why are these greedy companies now charging for things they used to offer free of charge?

Policymakers should recognize that the exchange of data for services is not a zero-sum game, and businesses and consumers mutually benefit from the choice to share data. Moreover, not every user can afford to purchase subscription services, and no business can offer free services forever without monetizing them. In short, policymakers should not treat data as if it is a limited resource that must be rationed. Doing so can undercut the ability of consumers to gain access to innovative services, unnecessarily restrict how companies offer free or low-cost services, and limit society’s ability to use data for the benefit of all.


Alan McQuinn is a senior policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Congress Got This One Right — Retire Old Regulations

By Bruce Mehlman


American citizens like to complain about Washington, politicians and public policies. Along with baseball, criticizing government is a national pastime and the admission is far less expensive. Yet while many grievances are warranted, sometimes policymakers get it right and deserve praise. One of the best examples of thoughtful, bipartisan policies can be found in a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, by which lawmakers wisely attempted to future-proof the bill.

This smart provision is known as forbearance. Congress realized that because the act itself would encourage rapid changes in technology, it was important to be sure the Federal Communications Commission’s rules and regulations would keep up.

Lawmakers acknowledged that competition would and should replace the need for regulations when they became outdated, particularly when new products based on emerging technologies began competing with each other. Innovators in such circumstances could request the FCC forbear from applying the outdated regulations. Congress even provided that petitions for forbearance would become effective if the FCC did not grant a petition within a time defined in the act.

This week the Internet Innovation Alliance, of which I am founding co-chair, made a filing to the FCC in support of a petition for forbearance filed by USTelecom. The petition relates to the market for Business Data Services. The BDS market — formerly the province of local incumbent carriers using slower, copper-based technologies — has quickly become a robustly competitive market in which companies compete to offer better service with faster speeds.

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of innovation and deployment of new platforms and technologies such as advanced cable services, Ethernet products and a massive expansion of wireless technology. So the regulatory mandates for the old monopoly situation are no longer appropriate, and this is the grounds on which forbearance should be granted.

In the residential market, USTelecom notes that “only 11 percent of U.S. telephone households are projected to have” landline phone service from a traditional phone company by the end of the year — down from 16 percent as recently as 2016.

It’s not surprising that the BDS market would follow these trends, as business users often demand higher rates of performance and speed. And the FCC itself realizes that the BDS market has changed. As far back as 2015, the FCC had found that 491 facilities-based competitors participated in the BDS market, covering 99 percent of potential BDS customers. The competitive lines beyond the lines controlled by incumbent local exchange carriers were already in place for the overwhelming majority of buildings. More buildings were lit with new fiber in 2017 than in any previous year.

In short, virtually all American businesses have access to BDS. There is simply no justification for intrusive regulation in a market that, by the FCC’s own data, is working and competitive. And the regulatory mandates for which the petition seeks forbearance are related to outmoded TDM-based technologies that cannot work with 5G networks transmitting data at gigabit speeds.

Getting to nationwide 5G will take very high levels of private investment. So the continuing diversion of capital from investments in high-speed broadband makes no sense. By definition, a company may invest a dollar only once — either in lower-speed technologies or in next-generation services. Requiring investment in lower-speed services, therefore reduces the amount of investment available for investment in high-speed services that offer greater benefit to users of BDS. This result is bad policy and strengthens the case for forbearance.

In sharp contrast, policies that attract private capital to investment in high-speed broadband make very big economic contributions. The wireless industry accounts for $475 billion in economic effect, and every dollar of wireless investment is estimated to deliver $3.20 in economic effect.

All told, this shows the power of competition and technology to drive markets and innovation — precisely what one would expect in a dynamic, competitive market. Cable’s strong entry into the BDS market has led a shift to facilities-based competition. This transition to new technology, notably Ethernet, reflects what customers actually want. There should be no undue preference for older technologies that customers do not want and that will not meet the needs of businesses that use BDS.

Congress gave the FCC the power to get old regulations out of the way for entrepreneurs and innovators. It’s time for the FCC to use it.


Bruce Mehlman is a founding co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance and previously served as assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Can Trump’s White House legally ban reporters?

August 9, 2018


Frank LoMonte

Director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, University of Florida

Disclosure statement

Frank LoMonte does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


University of Florida

University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

As long as reporters have covered government officials, they’ve sought greater access than the government was willing to allow.

The White House excluded a CNN reporter from an international trade announcement with the president of the European Commission on July 25, in apparent retaliation after she shouted unwelcome questions at President Donald Trump during an Oval Office appearance. Many observers viewed this move as an escalation of the Trump administration’s hostility toward journalists.

The Washington Post called the decision to exclude CNN’s Kaitlan Collins “highly unusual and possibly unprecedented.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called it “an offense against the First Amendment interests of all of us.”

But did the White House actually violate the Constitution?

As a media law professor, I regularly remind students that the First Amendment right of access to government officials, records and events is surprisingly uncertain. The First Amendment guarantees all Americans freedom to speak and publish without government interference. It has been broadly interpreted by the Supreme Court to forbid the government from restraining or punishing a speaker based on the content of the speaker’s message.

While journalists have a clearly established First Amendment right to publish the news they’ve gathered – even in extreme cases, like the leak of stolen Pentagon documents – it’s much less clear that the First Amendment protects the right to gather the news in the first place.

A right to publish, but not a ‘right to gather?’

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders speaks during a press briefing at the White House. Reuters/Mary F. Calvert

CNN has not indicated that it plans to take any legal action over Collins’ exclusion. In addition to being awkward – imagine a journalist taking the witness stand to testify against the White House communications director – a court case over a withdrawn invitation would face legal obstacles.

The courts have refused to recognize an overarching “constitutional right of access” to government information. Instead, they have picked off cases with narrow, specific rulings.

For instance, the Supreme Court recognized in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia that there is a constitutional right to cover a criminal trial. Likewise, federal appeals courts agree the First Amendment guarantees the right to videotape police making arrests in a public place. At the same time, judges have found no constitutional right to obtain government documents, or to enter crime scenes that are off-limits to the public.

Does CNN’s White House correspondent, or any journalist, have a First Amendment “right” to a press pass or a spot at a news conference?

Since the Supreme Court said in its 1972 Branzburg ruling that journalists have no right to insist on greater access than the general public, probably not.

That being said, journalists do have a right not to be retaliated against, regardless of what form the retaliation takes.

Retaliatory exclusions can violate the law

Even if attending a White House event is not a constitutionally guaranteed right, that doesn’t mean the government is free to take it away as a punishment. The government cannot take away even a purely discretionary privilege if the motive is to penalize speech.

Even though there is no entitlement to hold a government job, the Supreme Court decided in 1966 that public employment cannot be denied on the basis of viewpoint.

And even though there is no entitlement to receive a discretionary government grant, the justices ruled in 2013 that a grant cannot be denied because the applicant expresses a view different from the government’s.

In other words, any action by a government agency intended to punish or deter a speaker for unwanted speech can violate the Constitution.

That same legal principle would apply today if a federal official denied a government “privilege” to a journalist on the basis of a disagreeable viewpoint.

In the CNN situation, if Collins lost something of value, like the ability to attend a presidential appearance, because of the content of her speech, she has the essential ingredients of a First Amendment case.

The White House likely would argue that it was Collins’ method of delivery – raising her voice, after being asked not to – and not the content of her message that earned her a disinvitation.

That would make a First Amendment claim blurrier.

Government agencies can regulate the “time, place and manner” of speaking, the Supreme Court has ruled, as long as the restrictions are reasonable and enforced evenhandedly. Were a case to go to court, Collins and CNN might have to demonstrate that other journalists have shouted friendlier questions without consequence.

Journalists’ rights need clarifying

In a similar case in Maryland, a news organization lost a lawsuit against Maryland’s former governor.

The Maryland case shows how difficult it can be to prove a retaliation claim. In that 2006 case, a federal appeals court ruled that Gov. Robert Ehrlich did not violate The Baltimore Sun’s First Amendment rights by directing his administration to stop returning calls or granting interviews to a reporter and columnist whose coverage Ehrlich considered unfair.

The appellate judges found the idea of a “right” to interview the governor’s aides to be a problem. If The Sun could sue over being denied access to the governor’s staff, they said, what would stop a reporter from bringing a First Amendment claim whenever his competitor gets an exclusive interview?

In essence, the judges ruled, the governor did what politicians routinely do: talk only to the journalists they trust.

The distinction in Collins’ case is that she wasn’t just denied a returned phone call. She was denied admittance to an event that she can prove she’d otherwise have been able to attend.

It’s unlikely news organizations will sue over White House snubs. Still, in my view, the Supreme Court needs to find a vehicle to clarify this murky area of constitutional law. It should be recognized that the First Amendment principle forbidding government officials from punishing people for the content of their speech is broad enough to protect journalists against retaliatory “freeze-outs” meant to deter aggressive coverage.

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How free should speech on campus be?

July 23, 2018


Ana Mari Cauce

President, University of Washington

Clayton Rose

President , Bowdoin College

Connie Ledoux Book

President , Elon University

Disclosure statement

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


University of Washington

Elon University

Bowdoin College

University of Washington, Elon University, and Bowdoin College provide funding as members of The Conversation US.

Of all the places to put forth a controversial idea, perhaps none is more attractive than an American college campus. Similarly, perhaps no issue has vexed campus leaders more in recent times than the issue of whether and how to facilitate or regulate free speech on campus and still maintain safety and an inclusive environment.

The challenges associated with this balancing act came to a head August 11, 2017, when a white supremacist rally marched through the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The next day, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove a car into a group of demonstrators who were protesting the rally on a downtown mall.

We asked a panel of presidents – from Elon University, Bowdoin College and the University of Washington – these questions: As the nation commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville tragedy, what is the most important thing you think needs to happen in order to make college campuses places where controversial ideas can be heard? Do you believe free speech should be treated differently on campus than it is in the rest of society? And if so, how?

Not censorship but more speech

Ana Mari Cauce, president of the University of Washington

Universities are essential and suitable forums for discussion and debate of controversial topics. Debate helps students develop the skills that strengthen democracy, skills like critical thinking, reasoned argument and the ability to advance those arguments. We should always err in favor of more – not less – speech on campus.

That principle, however, is put to the test when campuses – especially public institutions – are targeted by speakers who seek to generate more heat than light, who have no intention of participating in a substantive debate. In some cases, they can’t or don’t articulate coherent arguments beyond profanity-laced provocations. Skillful at pushing the limits of free speech right up to the line of incitement, their aim is to attract publicity to their own personas or agendas.

Public universities are legally obligated to allow protected forms of speech, no matter how offensive or insipid. However, as leaders, we also have the right and the duty to publicly denounce repugnant speech and actions, like support for white supremacy.

It can be difficult to accept that even hateful and repugnant speech is protected by the Constitution and that allowing it to occur at public universities, sometimes elevating a speaker’s status, is the price we pay for ensuring everyone’s freedom of speech.

The remedy is not censorship, but more speech.

As institutions of learning, we are our own best solution for presenting and discussing ideas in substantive and respectful ways. Despite breathless headlines, campuses remain places where controversial topics are routinely debated.

Nonetheless, education leaders and lawmakers need a push to increase civic education, similar to the push to increase STEM education. A college degree should ensure that anyone, regardless of major, has grappled with some of the difficult questions facing modern democracies and has some historical understanding of free expression in the United States. Giving students the tools to understand their rights will help protect those rights.

University leaders also require better ways of deciding who should bear the true costs when public university campuses become places where society at large, not just our university community, engages in debate.

In the past, student associations could rarely afford the fees and travel expenses of speakers with national reputations or notoriety. But, between crowd-sourcing and financial backing from outside political groups, not to mention media-savvy speakers who know the value of publicity, even small student groups now host speakers who attract widespread attention and often protests, leading to substantial security costs.

I would argue that these are costs that a democratic society should be willing to pay. The question for individual campuses is: how best to divvy up those costs so that free speech can continue to flourish while not imposing too much of a financial or other burden on the university and its students?

Charlottesville 2017: nothing to do with free speech

Clayton Rose, president of Bowdoin College

Charlottesville 2017 had nothing to do with a free speech “balancing act.” What was on display there was the voice and the face of white nationalist Nazis and their fellow travelers. The ideologies of these people are despicable and have been used to rationalize some of the most heinous regimes the world has seen. White supremacists have the right to express their views, and in doing so the demonstrators starkly revealed their racism and anti-Semitism, which have no place in civilized society. We must continue to be vigilant about calling these people out. As Justice Brandeis observed, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

The events of last summer have nothing to do with the opportunities and challenges of free speech on campus. There are critical issues that divide us as a society and that must be openly discussed on campuses across the country — issues like economic, political and social opportunity, immigration, the environment and privacy. Our students need to develop the skills and sensibility for thoughtful and respectful discourse on these divisive topics — something that has all but disappeared in our cable news society.

The twisted ideologies on view in Charlottesville last year play no part in the essential effort to ensure that this country’s great colleges and universities remain places to learn these skills — where students can test deeply held beliefs, examine ideas that might profoundly unsettle and may even offend, and where they can challenge each other and campus guests in ways that sharpen or change their thinking by engaging facts, data, analysis and reason.

The most important thing we can do as educators is to remain respectfully and persistently skeptical and to underscore that higher education and intellectual experience are more about the questions than the answers.

It is only through this engagement that our students, and ultimately the rest of us in American society, can best understand the issues and challenges embedded in the hardest, fiercest problems we face today. This is how we develop in our students the knowledge, intellectual skills, and emotional fortitude to confront the most challenging questions of our time to make our society and our world better.

How to get beyond shouting at each other

Connie Ledoux Book, president of Elon University

Freedom of expression is fundamental to learning on our campuses and at the heart of a university’s existence. Protecting a student’s right to speak and another student’s right to disagree is an imperative. Every day, thousands of diverse ideas erupt in our classrooms and residence halls.

Surprisingly, however, formal instruction on how to exchange, consider and debate different perspectives is missing at many universities, according to a National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement.

Learning to ride a bicycle is not intuitive. Nor is knowing how to conduct a civil dialogue. While a broadly educated student can become familiar with the ideas and theories driving differences in points of view, the practice of exchanging those ideas with each other is a set of skills that can and should be taught.

Civic skills matter for democracy. As a recent study by Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education showed, five college campuses where students turn out to vote at rates greater than historically predicted also had intentionally integrated civic engagement practices within the curriculum and running parallel to it. In other words, these campuses have infused civic engagement into the college experience as a way to prepare students for effective citizenship.

Four key teaching practices were identified on these campuses as promoting successful civic participation:

Faculty sought training to help them manage “hot” discussions with their students in the classroom.

Faculty built trust among students by building together well-defined standards for behaviors during class discussions, including encouraging dissent and managing conflict, and then enforcing those standards.

Diversity of backgrounds and ideologies among students was used as an asset in teaching

Professors often played “devil’s advocate” by introducing dissenting and diverse views when key perspectives were absent in discussions.

If we are doing it right in higher education, students in their own self-discovery will become passionate, zealous and fierce about sharing ideas in hopes of making a difference in the world. Let’s make sure we have also taught them how to disagree: if Americans are only capable of shouting at each other, those of us in higher education will shoulder a part of the blame.

The Conversation US, Inc.

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