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Reframing the Conversation: Practicing Academic Freedom & Free Speech

Moderated by Communication professor Kent Ono

September 14 @ 12:00 pm  1:00 pm MDT

Reframing the Conversation

Academic Freedom has long been an expectation of college and university classrooms. Higher education institutions are expected to be a place where people can exercise and submit their thoughts and ideas. Professors challenge student assumptions to push them to grow, which promotes diverse opinions and critical thinking. Across the country, people have contrasting views on how individuals can express themselves in public based on the rules of free expression.

Most recently at the forefront of public disagreement has been what students should be taught about the country’s history and how it relates to current issues such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. This month’s Reframing the Conversation panel will offer space to discuss how society considers two staples of American life, free speech and academic freedom. Further, how should society reconcile the ideas of each concept while supporting each issue fairly and honestly, and how should educators and administrators respond?

Reframing the Conversation is a monthly hybrid series. Attendees can join in person at the Hinckley Caucus Room (GC 2018) or virtually on the Reframing the Conversation webpage.

Learn more about academic freedom with Academic Freedom Committee.

portrait of Kent A. Ono

Dr. Kent A. Ono
Professor of Communication, The University of Utah


Kent A. Ono is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. His research focuses on rhetoric and discourse, media and film, and race, ethnic, and cultural studies. He has written, co-written, edited, or co-edited Contemporary Media Culture and the Remnants of a Colonial Past (Peter Lang, 2009); Asian Americans and the Media with Vincent Pham (Polity, 2009); Shifting Borders: Rhetoric, Immigration, and California’s Proposition 187 with John Sloop (Temple University Press, 2002); Asian American Studies after Critical Mass (ed., Blackwell, 2005); A Companion to Asian American Studies (ed., Blackwell, 2005); Critical Rhetorics of Race with Michael Lacy (ed., New York University Press, 2011); and Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek with Taylor Harrison, Sarah Projansky, and Elyce Helford (ed., Westview Press, 1996). He was book series co-editor of the series, “Critical Cultural Communication,” with Sarah Banet-Weiser, which was published by New York University Press.

portrait of Romeo Garcia

Romeo García, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies
The University of Utah


Romeo García is Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah. His research and teaching focuses on multi-sited inquiries into where hauntings (e.g., settler colonialism, coloniality, modernity/coloniality) are at, how they have unfolded at varying scales, and what their consequences are in the everyday. His research appears in College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Across the Disciplines, and Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture. García is co-editor (with Damián Baca) of Rhetorics Elsewhere and Otherwise, winner of the 2020 Conference on College Composition & Communication Outstanding Book Award (Edited Collection), as well as the forthcoming collection (with Gesa Kirsch, Caitlin Burns, and Walker Smith), Unsettling Archival Research (Southern Illinois University Press).

portrait of Aya Hibben

Aya Hibben
Student Staff, Hinckley Institute
The University of Utah


Aya Hibben is a senior studying Political Science and History and is currently a student staffer with the Hinckley Institute. She worked as an opinion writer at the Utah Daily Chronicle for a year and a half, where she wrote various articles concentrating on victims’ advocacy, reproductive rights, and public health policy. She is currently working towards her goal of attending law school.

portrait of Allyson Mower

Allyson Mower, MA, MLIS
Librarian, J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah


Allyson Mower (pronounced like ‘power’) is the Librarian for Scholarly Communication & Copyright at the University of Utah Marriott Library. She’s very curious about curiosity, what drives people to uncover information, and how libraries of all types create demand for knowledge. As a tenured faculty member, she researches the history of academic freedom and the history of authorship and scholarly communication at the institution. She provides the U of U community and the general public with information, tools, and services related to both copyright and publishing. Allyson served as the U of U Academic Senate President in 2014, chaired the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Faculty Rights in 2018, and currently serves as the Academic Senate Policy Liaison.

portrait of Sonia Salari

Sonia Salari, PhD
Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Studies
The University of Utah


Sonia Salari, PhD, FGSA is Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and Academic Senate President at the University of Utah 2022-2023. She recently co-designed and implemented the 2021 EDI Climate Survey in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences CSBS. Her research focuses on the sociology of families, interpersonal violence, immigration and aging in marginalized communities, and public policy. As an advocate for victims, she co-founded the UU Gender Based Violence Consortium, serves as Board Chair of the statewide Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and collaborated UDVC as PI of the OVW Campus Grant to address Domestic/Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking. Dr. Salari recently published the second edition of her book Family Violence Across the Life Course: Research, policy and prevention (2021) and Family Violence and Abuse: An encyclopedia of trends, issues, and solutions, (forthcoming 2023).

Last Updated: 9/13/22