Throughout First Amendment Day, UNC reminded of free speech protections

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, UNC hosted its ninth-annual First Amendment Day, organized by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. The day included panels, interviews and discussions about how free speech has become a main characteristic of our country.


  1. The day's events kicked off with Dr. Cathy Packer – one of the main organizers of the event – on the steps of Carroll Hall, sharing some of her favorite parts of the First Amendment. "Reporting is more fun than anything else you can do without breaking the law," she said.
  2. The first event of the day took place in the Reese News Lab. Should comedians be allowed to say anything they want to get a laugh? Students discussed comedy under the First Amendment.
  3. Gary Marchionini, Dean of the School of Information and Library Science, started the afternoon's banned book reading, where students and faculty gathered outside Manning Hall to read children's and adult books that have been banned from schools and public libraries.
  4. Later in the afternoon, student journalists from The Daily Tar Heel, Carolina Week and other student publications talked to a packed room about the challenges of today's media.
  5. The Carolina Ukulele Ensemble opened the evening's keynote address from Bill Adair, founder of PolitiFact and a professor at Duke University.
  6. In his speech, Adair addressed the disparity between traditionally conservative and liberal news outlets, and how it enables audiences to only read what they agree with.
  7. The celebration came to a close with a First Amendment trivia contest at Linda's Bar and Grill, where teams tested their Constitutional knowledge. Team names included references to Angela Merkel, Anthony Weiner and North Korea.