The series, called Center Stage, will open with a discussion about free speech — a perennial issue on college campuses which was not directly addressed USG’s student mid-year report.
The discussion, scheduled for Monday Feb. 23, will address current concerns fielded by students regarding speech and expression at Fordham.
“The ‘Center Stage’ series is based on the idea that students should have a safe forum to voice their concerns and ideas in regard to any topic,” said Nevin Kulangara, GSB ’15, executive president of USG. “While the Internet has provided a place for student to express their frustrations and worries, these concerns often become lost throughout various social media platforms.”
Along with current concerns, the first event also will touch on The Maroon Square Proposal and The Report on Speech & Expression — two documents released by USG that explored free speech issues on campus.
The Speech and Expression Report, published in 2013, used student experiences to assess the ability of student organizations to host events, advertise and contribute to the “intellectual vibrancy” of student life at Fordham.
The document followed the Fall 2012 decision by the College Republicans to rescind its invitation to Ann Coulter to speak at Rose Hill. Relying on testimonial from students, including those from Campus Activities Board, Fordham Experimental Theatre, Mimes and Mummers, Expressions Dance Alliance, Fordham Flava, PSJ, Ramblers and Pride Alliance, the forty five page report also provided a number of recommendations to administrators.
The Maroon Square Report, released four years earlier and signed by John Tully Gordon, then Executive President of USG and chair of USG’s Commission on Speech and Expression, assessed Fordham’s demonstration policy and suggested a free speech zone — a confined campus location where students would “be free to express themselves and demonstrate” — as a solution.
The report also suggested possible locations as well as potential guidelines for a free speech zone.
The report listed the demonstration policy as cause for concern, calling it “an unnecessary impediment that often intimidates students and denies them the opportunity to stage a demonstration or express themselves in other ways, on short notice, in response to any immediate action or issue.”
It did acknowledge that there had been no record of any “duly registered” protest being denied between 2006-2009. The first Center Stage event is set to take place in Campbell Commons.