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U of M Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Tennessee Bar Association Will Sponsor Local Forum Sept. 18th as Part of Statewide Civility Forum Series
For release: September 5, 2012
For press information, contact:
Stacey Shrader
Media Relations Coordinator
Tennessee Bar Association
615-383-7421 
800-899-6993
Ryan Jones
Director, Communications & Special Events
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
The University of Memphis
901-678-4910

The Tennessee Bar Association and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will host a public forum on Tuesday, Sept. 18, dealing with the issue of free speech and civility in public policy debates.  The forum will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Wade Auditorium of the law school in downtown Memphis.

The Memphis event is the first in a series of three discussions across the state designed to encourage a public conversation about the tensions between civility and free speech.  It will focus on how these issues play out in public policy debates – especially those with cross-cultural implications. Specific issues will include the challenges of working with communities that have a high degree of distrust along cultural lines, the process of identifying similarities in interests among culturally diverse groups, and the way to use these similarities to mitigate challenges.

The topic is also intended to examine how historical issues can affect a contemporary debate and how old barriers to dialogue can be overcome. The program will use the current school consolidation effort in Memphis and Shelby County as a case study of how to bring civility into a divisive debate.  In the case of the Memphis school consolidation, for example, tensions and distrust that grew out of the busing experience of the 1970s continue to have an impact on the tone and substance of the current discussion.

Three members of the Transition Planning Commission (TPC) – the body responsible for overseeing the Memphis-Shelby County schools consolidation – will serve as the program panelists. They are Kenya Bradshaw, executive director of Stand for Children and co-chair of TPC’s Engagement & Communications Committee; Daniel Kiel, U of M associate professor of law and TPC commissioner; and Christine Richards, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of FedEx Corporation and chair of the TPC’s Human Resources & Personnel Committee.  Bill Haltom, a lawyer with the Memphis firm of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, will moderate the discussion.

The program is part of Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy – A National Dialogue, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and conducted in partnership with the American Bar Association Division for Public Education. Local program partners include the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University in Nashville, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

More information about the Balancing Civility and Free Expression initiative, its events in other Tennessee cities, and its local partners is available online at www.tba.org/programs/balancing-civility-and-free-expression.

More information about the Tennessee Bar Association or the Memphis forum is available from Stacey Shrader at 615-383-7421 or sshrader@tnbar.org.  Information about the U of M law school’s involvement in the program is available from Ryan Jones at 901-687-4910 or rjones1@memphis.edu.

Biographical information about the Memphis panelists is available online at http://www.tba.org/node/52404.

 

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