Free Speech 101: The Utah Valley Uproar over Michael Moore

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9781886249318: Free Speech 101: The Utah Valley Uproar over Michael Moore

IN THE FALL OF 2004, just weeks before the already hostile national elections, student leaders at Utah Valley State invited one of the most controversial figures in America, film maker Michael Moore, to one of the most conservative campuses in the country.

The invitation resulted in a firestorm of controversy and heated political debate. The story was soon picked up by the national media, including Time, the Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among numerous other publications, and was declared one of Utah's Top Stories of the Year.

Written by the student primarily responsible for the decision, Free Speech 101 is the inside account of what happened--from the explosion when the news broke, to subsequent death threats, bribes, lawsuits, and pulled funds. The book provides fascinating behind-the-scenes accounts of meetings with college administrators, wealthy donors, state legislators, as well as the visits of Michael Moore and Sean Hannity.

In addition to narrating what happened, Vogel also plunges beneath the surface, exploring how the visits of Moore and Hannity to Utah became the catalyst for deeper issues, including the influence of power and money on a university, academic freedom and censorship, the polarized state of political discourse, the role of the media, and the often ambiguous intersection between politics and religion.

Alternately disturbing and inspiring, Free Speech 101 shows that the First Amendment isn't easy to uphold--particularly in more homogeneous communities--and it takes vigilance, courage and sacrifice to keep this freedom alive.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Publisher:

The decision to publish this book, Free Speech 101, was a difficult one. As the draft edition of the work and the relevant e-mails and other reference materials were reviewed, it became obvious that the decision to invite Michael Moore to appear at Utah Valley State College had caused a considerable explosion of emotion on both sides of the issue. As editing progressed and the materials were analyzed in more detail, it became increasingly obvious that these emotions were very personal to all involved, and that publication of the work (including names, quotes, dates, and facts) would, in all probability, ignite some of these emotions and controversies anew.

However, the decision to publish this book was not influenced by the personal feelings of any of the participants: the antagonists, the supporters, or the decision makers (whether they were in the community, the college, the legislature, or the general public). It was made because the underlying issue throughout the controversy -- constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech -- trumps personal preferences, be they conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. Suppression of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, whether by influence peddling, money, political power, coercion, personal preference, community preference, or even majority vote, cannot be tolerated in a free society.

The controversy regarding Michael Moore was founded in political preference, and we believe, along with Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, that "public discussion is a political duty," and "should be a fundamental principle of the American government." (Emphasis added.)

In our opinion, the best protection against what is perceived as offensive or controversial speech is not suppression, but more speech. And the only acceptable limitation on the right to free speech is the right not to listen.

From the Inside Flap:

When the student government of Utah Valley Community College heard about Michael Moore's 2004 Slacker Tour they thought he would be a great speaker -- creating the intelligent debate that is the mainstay of college campuses across the U.S. They knew their choice would stir controversy, but they felt they could handle it. They were surprised by the tremendous, even violent, anti-liberal reaction to their choice in one of the most conservative counties in America.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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