CFAS provides programs designed to educate students about their First Amendment heritage, its impact on new technologies, and to encourage faculty members to do original research on freedom of expression.
Perhaps at no time in our history have First Amendment issues so dominated national attention:
- Campuses struggle with rules to guide "politically correct" speech
- The Supreme Court opens political campaigns to spending by corporations and unions
- In the name of national security, the Administration issues regulations based on Congressional legislation that may infringe on First Amendment freedoms
- Freedom assembly allows private groups to exclude members but does not protect political donors from being identified
Unless the public clearly understands how the First Amendment has functioned to protect us in the past, our liberties may be eroded in the future. The Center's goal is to inform the public, the courts, administrative agencies and Congress about the proper application of the First Amendment.
The Center stimulates interdisciplinary study of First Amendment issues. Specifically, the Center seeks to publish research into and understanding of the origins, evolution, and interpretation of the First Amendment. The Center also produces research on such issues as freedom of information, copyright law, academic freedom, and the application of the First Amendment to such new technologies as cable, computer, telephone, television, and satellite transmission.
The Center was established on October 24, 1988 and has initiated two courses in the University's curriculum: Communication Studies 441, Freedom of Expression and Conscience, and Communication Studies 442, Campaign Persuasion. Both courses are interdisciplinary "capstone" classes on the campus.