Broadcast to address amendment

By Jim Harris

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is one of the most important parts of the historic document. This amendment is certainly one of the most frequently discussed and interpreted.

This is the amendment that guarantees freedom of speech, but the precise meaning of the First Amendment has continually been questioned. The Supreme Court has heard many cases regarding how individuals choose to use this right.

On the college campus, this conflict is particularly intense. On Oct. 21, 1993, these issues will be addressed. “New Conflict on Campus: Can We Live With The First Amendment?” is the title of a live satellite broadcast presented by PBS and the State University of New York (SUNY).

This broadcast is a live, interactive videoconference being broadcast exclusively to satellite hookups at college campuses across the country.

The format of the broadcast will allow participants to call in or fax questions to the panel and have them discussed on the air.

The panel of experts is headed by Charlayne Hunter Gault, correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour.

At NIU, the broadcast will be seen beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Sandburg Auditorium at the Holmes Student Center and ending at 2 p.m. A discussion will be held in Diversions following the videoconference. George Shur, NIU legal counsel, will be the moderator.

Shur said he hopes for an open, freewheeling type of discussion. He said this is a timely issue because of ongoing discussion and debates on campuses throughout the country about the nature of free speech.

He said the teleconference might not be able to answer all the questions related to freedom of speech.

However, he said, “Merely by asking questions we help ourselves to understand that many of the issues are not quite so cut and dried as we perhaps originally thought.”

Videotaped interviews, providing additional perspectives, will also be presented during the videoconference. Anthony Lewis, columnist for the New York Times, will present a brief history of the First Amendment.

Campus Presidents Lois B. DeFleur of the State University of New York at Binghamtom and James O. Freedman of Dartmouth College will place the issues in the context of the college.