First Amendment Day 2018

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 (All day)

UNC campus

About the event

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will celebrate its 10th annual First Amendment Day on Tuesday, Sept. 25. This campus-wide, daylong event is designed to both celebrate the First Amendment and explore its role in the lives of Carolina students. Students and other members of the university community will read from banned books, sing controversial music and discuss the public university’s special role as a marketplace of ideas and the need to be tolerant when others exercise their rights. As always, First Amendment Day is observed during National Banned Books Week.

For more information, please visit the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy website.


Public Art, Public Memorials, and the First Amendment
305 Carroll Hall (UNC School of Media and Journalism) from 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

The First Amendment and Social Media: What (If Any) Rules Apply?
4085 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall (UNC School of Law) from noon - 12:50 p.m.

First Amendment Day on WUNC's "The State of Things"
WUNC from noon - 1 p.m.

Banned Book Reading
Manning Hall (UNC School of Information and Library Science) from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Speaking Freely and Being Heard: Imagining a New Counterspeech Environment at UNC
305 Carroll Hall (UNC School of Media and Journalism) from 2-3:15 p.m.

Carolina Ukulele Ensemble
111 Carroll Hall (UNC School of Media and Journalism) from 6-7:30 p.m.

KEYNOTE: Siva Vaidhyanathan: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
111 Carroll Hall (UNC School of Media and Journalism) from 7-8:30 p.m.

First Amendment Trivia Contest
Linda’s Bar and Grill from 8-10:30 p.m.

Keynote speaker

Siva Vaidhyanathan: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy | 111 Carroll Hall, 7-8:30 p.m.

Siva VaidhyanathanThe 2018 First Amendment Day Keynote speaker will be Siva Vaidhyanathan, the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia.

He is the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018). He also wrote Intellectual Property: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2017), and The Googlization of Everything — and Why We Should Worry (University of California Press, 2011). He has written two previous books: Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001) and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System (Basic Books, 2004). He also co-edited (with Carolyn Thomas) the collection, Rewiring the Nation: The Place of Technology in American Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

Vaidhyanathan directs the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, which produces a television show, a radio program, several podcasts, and the Virginia Quarterly Review magazine. He has appeared in an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to discuss early social network services. Vaidhyanathan has appeared in several documentary films, including Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013), Inside the Mind of Google (2009), and Freedom of Expression (2007). In 2016 Vaidhyanathan played a prominent role in the higher-education documentary, Starving the Beast. Vaidhyanathan was portrayed as a character on stage at the Public Theater in New York City in a play called Privacy (2016). Vaidhyanathan served on the board of the Digital Public Library of America. from 2012 through 2018.

Vaidhyanathan has written for many periodicals, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Bloomberg View, IEEE Spectrum, American Scholar, Dissent, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times Magazine,, BookForum, Columbia Journalism Review, Washington Post, The Guardian,, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Book Review, and The Nation. He is a frequent contributor to public radio programs. And he has appeared on news programs on BBC, CNN, NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, and ABC.

After five years as a professional journalist, he earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Vaidhyanathan has also taught at Wesleyan University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Columbia University, New York University, McMaster University, and the University of Amsterdam. He is a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities and a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About the Center for Media Law & Policy

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy is an interdisciplinary research center run jointly out of the UNC School of Law and UNC School of Media and Journalism. The center serves as a forum for study and debate about the broad array of media law and policy issues facing North Carolina, the nation, and the world. The center’s work ranges from the legal and policy issues affecting traditional media organizations to the challenges posed by new communication technologies, including social media, the Internet, and mobile technology, and the impact they are having on governments, on the economy, and on cultural and social values throughout the world.

The center capitalizes on the extraordinary strengths of UNC-Chapel Hill’s highly regarded law and journalism schools. Center events and projects bring together a diverse group of legal and communication scholars, media professionals, and practicing attorneys. Faculty and graduate students affiliated with the center conduct media law and policy research, host public events, including UNC’s annual First Amendment Day, and work to educate North Carolina’s business community about the opportunities for supporting and expanding entrepreneurship in the field of information technology.

For more information

For more information, please visit the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy website.