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Florida Tech's The Crimson to Host Free Speech Day Feb. 27; Open to Public

02/11/2013

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The Crimson, Florida Institute of Technology’s student-run newspaper, will host the second annual First Amendment celebration on campus. Called “Live Free or Eat Free,” the event is Feb. 27.

“Live Free or Eat Free” will include two parts. The first, 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Hartley Room, is a panel discussion with Matt Reed, Florida Today public interest editor; Melbourne attorney Jack Kirschenbaum, who represents a newspaper and a news division of a TV station; and Dan Sweeney, the advisor to Florida Atlantic University’s student newspaper. Michael Kahn, who teaches a constitutional law course in the pre-law program at Florida Tech, will moderate the panel.

The second part takes place 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on the Crawford Building green, next to University Boulevard. Students will get to experience life without the First Amendment. They will receive a free meal in exchange for their First Amendment rights. Students won't be able to ask for which type of food they get. They won't be able to sit with their friends, talk about their favorite topics, or practice their religion. If the “government” passes an unjust law, students have no right to petition.

After their experience of free speech suppression, students will be able to express themselves on a free speech wall set up nearby by The Crimson staff.

What should become clear is that without the First Amendment, none of the other freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. constitution would stand.

“This event is a chance for our students to be reminded of the most basic freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment—freedoms that are easy to take for granted,” said Ted Petersen, a communication professor and adviser to The Crimson. “And this is a great opportunity for the journalists at The Crimson to remind their fellow students that are truly involved with a free press, with no editorial oversight from faculty, staff, administration or trustees.”

The event is sponsored by Florida Today, Old School Pizza, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Florida Tech Department of Humanities and Communication.

For more information, contact Ted Petersen at (321) 674-7201 or tpetersen@fit.edu or Drew Lacy, editor in chief of The Crimson at crimson@fit.edu. The First Amendment celebration is free and open to the public.

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