Free Speech or Disruption: Civility in Public Debate

Jan 6 2010 - 9:38am


The Sorensen Institute's Bob Gibson and Coy Barefoot participated in a panel discussion recently in Charlottesville exploring civility in public debate and discourse. The event was sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and titled "Free Speech or Disruption: Balancing the Rights to Speak and Hear."

Panelists included Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute; Elaine Jones, retired Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the first African-American woman to graduate from the UVa School of Law; Robert O'Neil, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center and former President of the University of Virginia; Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor for and a Contributing Editor to Newsweek; and John Whitehead, CEO and Founder of the Rutherford Institute. Coy Barefoot served as the moderator.

This was a fascinating conversation that explored from many angles the role of civility in public discourse today. Click here to watch a complete video of the event.

Featured Alumni

  • Mike Taylor.jpg

    Mike Taylor

    Candidate Training Program

    Class of 2006

    The first person to graduate from three Sorensen programs, Mike was elected Sheriff of Pittsylvania County in November 2007. He is also a graduate of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006 and the Danville-Southside Leaders Program Class of 2005.