Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University president and professor of law, will deliver the Phelps Lecture on Tuesday, October 14, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. One of the nation's most critically acclaimed legal scholars of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, Bollinger entitles his lecture “Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-open: the Press and Freedom of the Press in the 20th and 21st Centuries.“ According to The New York Times, “There is probably no university chief in America more steeped in issues of free speech than Mr. Bollinger.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in room 110 of Tulane Law School's Weinmann Hall located at 6329 Freret Street. A reception will follow in the Berkett Multipurpose Room. Bollinger became the nineteenth president of Columbia University in 2002. Also a member of Columbia Law School's faculty, Bollinger has taught and written on freedom of speech and press for over thirty years. His books include Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern Era; Images of a Free Press; and The Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America. As the named defendant in the twin 2003 Supreme Court cases that clarified and upheld affirmative action in higher education, Bollinger became a national advocate for diversity and integration. In recognition of his leadership on these issues, he received the National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He is the recipient of the Clark Kerr Award, the highest honor conferred by the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, for his service to higher education, especially on matters of freedom of speech and diversity. Bollinger again made the headlines in September 2007 when Columbia University invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at its campus. “In the moment, the arguments for free speech will never seem to match the power of the arguments against, but what we must remember is that this is precisely because free speech asks us to exercise extraordinary self- restraint against the very natural but often counter-productive impulses that lead us to retreat from engagement with ideas we dislike and fear,“ remarked Bollinger at the Sipa-World Leaders Forum with President Ahmadinejad. “In this lies the genius of the American idea of free speech.” Bollinger has received numerous honorary degrees from universities in the United States and around the world. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Prior to the Columbia presidency, he was president of the University of Michigan, where he also served as dean of the law school and professor of law.
The Phelps Lecture Series was established in 1992 to honor Ashton Phelps, Sr. Mr. Phelps was a distinguished Tulane Law School graduate (L’37), who practiced law at Phelps Dunbar, served as Publisher of the Times-Picayune and as Vice Chairman of Tulane’s Board of Administrators. The Lecture operates under the direction of the Ashton Phelps Chair of Constitutional Law, established in 1983, by the S.I. Newhouse Foundation and the Times-Picayune. Professor Keith Werhan is the holder of the Chair. The Phelps Lecture is dedicated to the First Amendment Freedoms of Speech and Press, because of Mr. Phelps’s lifelong activities as a newspaper attorney and newspaper publisher.