UCLA Luskin public policy professor John Villasenor, left, with UC President Janet Napolitano and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.

Villasenor Moderates Dialogue on Free Speech on Campus

John Villasenor of UCLA Luskin Public Policy moderated a conversation with University of California President Janet Napolitano and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband at a conference on the future of free expression on campus held March 21, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Napolitano said that, from a policy perspective, free speech is widely respected and upheld on U.S. college campuses, but implementing First Amendment protections raises challenges. These include safeguarding individuals or groups targeted by harassing speech, paying for security to maintain order when controversial speakers are invited to campus, and educating the next generation about the value of civil discourse by “not just speaking but listening to all voices,” she said. Citing a survey of college students conducted by Villasenor, Dreiband said many believe that shouting down speakers, or even using violence, is appropriate to counter offensive speech. Free speech is also threatened by the groupthink that takes hold on some campuses, leading to self-censorship by students who agree with controversial speakers but fear retaliation by peers or professors, Dreiband said. The trio’s dialogue came at the close of the “Speech Matters” conference organized by the UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.

View a video of the conference here.


Hector Palencia Elected to Key NASW Committee The Social Welfare field faculty member will help identify leaders for the California chapter of the social workers organization

Social Welfare field faculty member Hector Palencia MSW ’08 has been elected to a key committee of the National Association of Social Workers’ California chapter. Palencia will serve on the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification for Regions G, H and I, an area including Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In this role, Palencia will help identify leaders in the field of social welfare and select candidates for the chapter’s top positions. Palencia, a licensed clinical social worker who also holds an MA in systematic theology, specializes in working with gang members and other marginalized youth.