Stetson University

The Westboro Webinar, March 22

March 22, 2011
2 - 3:30 p.m. EST

When a U.S. service member dies in combat there are several things that one would expect to see at the funeral. Such things include a flag draped coffin, fellow service members dressed in freshly pressed uniforms snapping crisp salutes in unison, and grieving family members attempting to reach the delicate balance between sadness for their loss and reverence for the fallen. However, at several military funerals, including the funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, members of the Westboro Baptist Church gathered outside to create a different sort of sight. They carried signs that read "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" in order to protest acceptance of homosexual conduct.

In response to this exceptionally controversial method of protest, the emotionally devastated father of the Lance Corporal Snyder, who was killed in Iraq, sued the Church and obtained a multimillion dollar judgment. The United States Supreme Court, however, in an 8 to 1 decision, overturned the trial court's decision and upheld the rights of the protestors based on First Amendment grounds.

This webinar, led by experts in constitutional law and higher education law, will examine this important decision and explore what affects the ruling may have on free speech on campus. Specifically,

  • How does this ruling affect the ability of colleges and universities to place limitations on campus protests?
  • What are the potential implications of this case to the issue of bullying?

Speakers

David Armstrong
VP for Enrollment and General Counsel
Notre Dame College


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