2017 Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution Symposium


Although the free exchange of ideas is fundamental to every university’s mission, events on many of our nation’s campuses in recent years vividly demonstrate that operationalizing this principle in a university community presents enormous challenges.

The purpose of this symposium is to explore the complex intersection between free expression and conflict at universities. By bringing together free speech scholars, dispute resolution experts, and university leaders with experience with free expression conflict, we hope to advance our understanding of how university leaders can remain true to both the mission of the university and the values of the First Amendment. We will consider these questions:

  • What are the appropriate limits on free expression on campuses? Are they different from – i.e., broader or narrower – free speech principles generally?
  • To what extent should we view “free speech conflicts” as something to be managed?
  • Through what processes and procedures can university leaders anticipate and prevent free expression disputes? How do we write those rules, and what challenges exist in doing so?
  • When such disputes arise, what processes and procedures can university leaders deploy to resolve them? What challenges exist in designing and implementing campus dispute resolution procedures?

The speakers include dispute resolution scholars, community dispute resolution experts, First Amendment scholars, and university leaders with significant experience working free expression conflict on campuses.

This symposium will be live-streamed on the internet and videos will be posted on YouTube. A reading list will be available on this website for those who wish to take a closer look at the issues discussed in the symposium. Symposium activities include a student essay competition and a work-in-progress scholars workshop. Also, the speakers will contribute articles and essays to a future symposium issue of the Journal of Dispute Resolution.

This symposium is sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Law, the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution, and the Journal of Dispute Resolution, which is the flagship journal of CSDR. Co-directors of the symposium are MU Law professors Robert Jerry and Chris Wells. Significant planning assistance is also being provided by CSDR by CSDR Director and Professor Rafael Gely, Laura Coleman and Karen Neylon.

Cost and Registration

The symposium is free and open to the public. A conference luncheon will be held in the Reynolds Alumni Center, which is directly across Carnahan Quadrangle. For those interested in attending the luncheon, registration and a payment (TBD) is required. Numerous other dining establishments are accessible within walking distance of Hulston Hall.

Register Online »


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