An educational forum on academic free speech is scheduled for Thursday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Colleges Nine and Ten Multipurpose Room on the UC Santa Cruz campus. It is free and open to the public.

The forum will address such questions as: Is all criticism of Israel protected speech?  When is such speech anti-Semitic speech?  Who decides? Is hate speech or controversial public protest, however offensive to some, protected on college campuses?

The issues are complex and have become more contentious. "It has become even more important to promote civil discourse around these issues," said Colleges Nine and Ten Provost Helen Shapiro who will moderate the discussion.

UCSC feminist studies professor Bettina Aptheker will provide background on free speech and history professor Peter Kenez will provide background on the history of anti-Semitism.

Appearing with them will be attorneys Rick Barton and Yaman Salahi.

Barton is a partner at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.  In 1992, he began volunteering with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in San Diego. Last year, Barton co-authored a fact-finding report and recommendations on the University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate for UC President Mark Yudof 's Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion.

Yaman Salahi is an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union where his work focuses on the civil rights and liberties of Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities.   He obtained his law degree from Yale, and did his undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where he was a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

The College Ten co-curricular unit is sponsoring the event. Since 2004, the co-curricular programs unit at Colleges Nine and Ten has facilitated debates addressing challenging and controversial topics. The programs have offered a platform where experts with widely differing viewpoints have debated topics including affirmative action, the war in Iraq, and marriage equality.