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RWU Launches First Amendment Blog

Inspired by RWU’s namesake, website draws on faculty, staff and students, focusing on five freedoms: of religion, of speech, of the press, to assemble peaceably, to petition government
Roger Williams University's new First Amendment blog features the voices of faculty, staff and students commenting on the five freedoms outlined in the first part of the Constitution.

BRISTOL, R.I., Dec. 6, 2016 ­­– Roger Williams University on Tuesday launched a First Amendment blog, providing a timely new venue for debating, discussing and defending the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The blog – http://rwu.edu/about/blogs/first-amendment-blog  – draws its inspiration from Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, who advocated for separation of church and state – a concept that’s now a cornerstone of American democracy.

The blog will draw on the expertise of the faculty, staff and students at RWU, which contains the state’s only law school, a journalism program and experts on a range of First Amendment issues. It will draw on topics that are as old as the nation, and it will draw on events as current as today’s headlines, such as U.S. Supreme Court rulings on flag burning.

“It is particularly appropriate that Roger Williams University would have a blog relating to the First Amendment, given the stance taken by our namesake on the need to separate civil governance from the practice of religion,” RWU President Donald J. Farish said. “Roger Williams’ ‘lively experiment’ in the 17th century was, of course, the basis of the provision in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that protects religious freedom. But the First Amendment is so much more: Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble peaceably and freedom to petition the government for redress — all are important. And all require ongoing vigilance to ensure they are preserved and protected for generations yet to come.”

Among the topics featured in the blog's launch are an examination of the "fake news" that has proliferated social media feeds and a look at how RWU journalism students become authorities on First Amendment rights through a semester-long Media Law and Ethics course.