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UCO to host First Amendment Conference April 25

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EDMOND — The University of Central Oklahoma will host a First Amendment Conference from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 25 in the Mass Communication building on UCO’s campus.

The conference will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from national and state speakers surrounding the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment: Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and to petition the government with grievances.

UCO President Don Betz has named April 25 as First Amendment Day on campus. The event also coincides with the start of the 50th year of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Part of the day will include inducting the 49th class into the Hall of Fame.

UCO students Erin Barnett and Trevor Stone, along with Mass Communication Department Chairperson Mary Carver and E.K. Gaylord Endowed Chair of Journalism Ethics Joe Hight, planned the conference. They received a $6,000 grant for the event from nonpartisan program 1 for All.

“This conference will define what the First Amendment means to students on college campuses,” Barnett said.

Conference highlights will include a First Amendment display dedication, as well as panel discussions on "Teachers’ First Amendment Rights," "Freedom of the Press: Without it, is the First Amendment Doomed?" and "Freedom of Expression on the College Campus."

The conference will conclude with keynote speaker Rob Rogers, Pulitzer finalist and UCO alumnus. Rogers received nationwide attention when he was fired from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for his satirical columns on President Donald Trump.

All sessions are free and open to the public.

For more information regarding the one-day conference, contact Hight at jhight@uco.edu or 405-974-5924.

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