U of M’s law school and bar association to sponsor local forum as part of series

U of M’s law school and bar association to sponsor local forum as part of series

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:00 pm

The Messenger 09.12.12

The Tennessee Bar Association and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law will host a public forum Tuesday dealing with the issue of free speech and civility in public policy debates.
The forum will run from 7-8:30 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 Commit-tee; 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 Dem-ocracy — 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 Cen-ter 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.
Information about the Tennessee Bar Association or the Memphis forum is available from Stacey Shrader at (615) 383-7421 or by email at 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 by email at rjones1@memphis.edu.

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