Levin College Forum

Deliberative Democracy & Campus Free Speech

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. 

Roberta Steinbacher Atrium
Levin College of Urban Affairs
Cleveland State University
1717 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115

Event Video

About this Event

Freedom of speech is a fundamental American freedom granted to citizens by the First Amendment to the US Constitution — and it is a human right.  There is moreover no place that this right should be more valued and protected than on America’s college and university campuses.

The core purposes of a university campus include creating, preserving, transmitting and finding new applications for knowledge across the spectrum of disciplines and professions.  These purposes cannot be fulfilled without a culture of intense inquiry and informed argument.  A campus cannot sustain its intellectual vitality if its students or faculty members fear retribution for expressing views that might be unpopular with the public at large or disfavored by university administrators.  Nor can a college or university fulfill its purpose and sustain its vitality if it represses vigorous dissent of such views.  To participate in campus life is thus to accept the responsibility to freely express, listen to, and when need be to challenge any part of the fullest possible range of ideas and thinkable thoughts.  Thus, a strong and vibrant college or university campus embodies and epitomizes the very essence of the ideal of deliberative democracy -- an ideal which cannot be realized without a full measure of free speech. 

Yet over the past several years multiple events on university campuses, and especially political speakers and demonstrators have put freedom of speech under continuous threat.  On some of them, the right of free speech has been side-lined in favor of ideological correctness and comfort, a desire to avoid controversy, or simply political expediency.  Speech codes have been promulgated, dictating what may or may not be said, along with “free speech zones” that relegate free speech to tiny, delimited areas of campus.  Administrative efforts to repress free speech through punishment have become all too common today on American college and university campuses.  This turn away from free speech has raised widespread concern about the spirit and promise of academic freedom and the potential for colleges and universities to contribute to society beyond their role as centers for the vocational preparation of young adults.  

This forum will openly consider freedom of speech on campus as well as the threats that its suppression brings to constitutional and human rights, the future of deliberative democracy in the United States, and realization of the core purpose of universities.


Dr. Susan BeckerSusan J. Becker
Professor of Law Emerita, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and General Counsel, ACLU of Ohio

Professor Susan J. Becker’s legal career has spanned more than three decades thus far. It includes a two-year clerkship with Judge Robert B. Krupansky of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Sixth Circuit, five years as a litigation associate with Jones Day, and 24 years as a law professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, the position from which she retired in June 2014. Throughout her academic career Professor Becker maintained a modest pro bono practice, providing legal counsel to individuals and not-for-profit organizations. Her pro bono practice and her academic scholarship centered primarily on attorney ethics and professionalism, and on the many forms of discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) individuals commonly experience. She served as an expert witness in the Obergefell marriage equality case, extensively documenting the historic and continued discrimination against LGBTQ Ohioans.

Professor Becker currently serves in a volunteer capacity as a Board member and as General Counsel for the ACLU of Ohio, an organization with which she has been associated in a variety of roles for over 20 years, including two terms as Board President (2009-2013). Her current ACLU work embraces an integrated advocacy approach (litigation, policy development, lobbying, and public education) to protect and advance a wide range of civil rights and liberties including freedom of speech and religion, voting rights, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality, women’s health and reproductive rights, and government transparency and accountability. She also currently serves as a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Certified Grievance Committee, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Board of Visitors, and as Public Interest Leader in Residence at Cleveland-Marshall.

Ronald BerkmanRonald M. Berkman, Ph.D.   
President Emeritus and Trustees' Professor, Cleveland State University
In 2009, Dr. Ronald M. Berkman was unanimously selected as the sixth President of Cleveland State University by the CSU Board of Trustees, a role he served from 2009—2018. His vision for transforming CSU into a best-in-class urban research university has been marked by forward thinking and forward momentum in pursuit of Engaged Learning, the philosophy that embodies CSU’s dedication to accessible, contemporary and hands-on higher education.

Prior to his arrival at CSU, Dr. Berkman held various leadership positions at Florida International University (FIU), including Provost, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. At FIU, he also served as Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs as well as Executive Dean of an interdisciplinary College with accredited Colleges of Nursing, Health Sciences, Public Health, Social Work and Policy and Management.

Dr. Berkman came to FIU from the City University of New York (CUNY), where he developed partnerships among city, state and federal government agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations as Dean of Urban Affairs. He also served as Dean of Academic Affairs and Founding Dean of CUNY’s first School of Public Affairs, located at Baruch College.

Dr. Berkman received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has taught at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, the University of California at Berkeley, Brooklyn College, the CUNY Graduate Center, New York University and the University of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Berkman is chair of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, a consortium of the state’s 14 public universities. He also serves on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

Michael SchwartzMichael Schwartz, Ph.D.    
President Emeritus and Trustees' Professor, Cleveland State University
Michael Schwartz served as President of Cleveland State University from 2002—2009. Prior to that, Dr. Schwartz served as Interim President of Cleveland State University. He came to Cleveland State University from Kent State University, where he is President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus. He began his academic career at Wayne State University, later moved to Indiana University at Bloomington, and then moved to Florida Atlantic University as Chair of the Department of Sociology. He then served as Dean of the College of Social Science at Florida Atlantic before moving to Kent State in 1976 as Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research. Dr. Schwartz served as Acting President of the university briefly in 1977, and then as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. He was given the title "Provost" in 1980, became President of Kent State University in 1982, and served in that capacity until 1991. He stepped down from the presidency to return to the classroom, teaching graduate courses in higher education administration and statistical methods at Kent State.

He serves as a Trustee of Ohio Aerospace Institute. Dr. Schwartz has published in the area of the social psychology of adolescent deviant behavior and, with Sheldon Stryker, was the author of the first monograph published by the American Sociological Association in the Arnold and Carolyn Rose Monograph Series. In 2005, he co-authored "The Chief Purpose of Universities". He has served as a Trustee of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Central State University. He is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools consultant-evaluator corps and its Accreditation Review Council. Dr. Schwartz also has served on the Association of Governing Boards' Commission on Strengthening the Academic Presidency, and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Youngstown State University awarded him the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities has given him its Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Schwartz is a native Chicagoan who received three degrees from the University of Illinois: the B.S. in psychology (1958), the M.A. in labor and industrial relations (1959) and the Ph.D. in sociology (1962). Dr. Schwartz is married to Dr. Joanne Rand Schwartz, former Dean of the College and Graduate School of Education at Kent State University. They reside in Shaker Heights.

Panel Moderators

Roland AnglinRoland V. Anglin, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Roland V. Anglin is Dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Dean Anglin is recognized for his scholarly and applied work in the area of economic and community development. Dean Anglin is a passionate advocate for public polices and community-based strategies that create social and economic opportunities for marginalized communities and people.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, Dr. Anglin was Senior Advisor to the Chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark and Director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, an applied research institute at the university. Dr. Anglin began his career at Rutgers University in 1987. He was recruited to the Ford Foundation in 1991, where he spent eight years. Dr. Anglin served first as the program officer responsible for community development and was promoted to Deputy Director for Community and Resource Development. After leaving the Ford Foundation in 1999, Dr. Anglin went to the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation (Seedco), a community development financial intermediary. He is the author and co-author of four books and several peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Anglin sits on several public sector, nonprofit, and private sector boards. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, an MA from Northwestern University, and a BA from Brooklyn College (City University of New York). Dr. Anglin is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bill BowenWilliam M. Bowen, Ph.D.
Professor, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
William M. Bowen was born in Cleveland and raised in Florida.  After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill he was commissioned as a Supply Officer in the United States Navy.  While on shore duty he entered into a Master of Public Administration program and found that he loved doing research and teaching.  He currently serves as Professor of Urban Studies and Public Policy in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.  His research and teaching interests are in research-based decision-making and problem solving in regional analysis and planning, especially in relation to economic development, energy policy, and environmental issues.  His recent research The Journal of Urban Management, Economic Development Quarterly, Biodemography and Social Biology, The Journal of Urbanism, The Journal of Urban Affairs, and the Annals of Regional Science. When he is not engaged in scholarship, he spends his time in various leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America.  He is also the lead guitar player for a local classic rock and blues band.