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November 2016


Ralph Wilson
Ralph Wilson has spearheaded open records requests in the sunshine state and elsewhere, illuminating the efforts of one of the world’s largest oil and gas conglomerates to dictate who teaches and what is taught at America’s public universities, including Florida State University.

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December 2016


This competition honors and remembers Horance G. “Buddy” Davis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorialist for The Gainesville Sun and Distinguished Service Professor in the College of Journalism at the University of Florida. The competition is held each fall, with a call for essays going out to each of our local high schools. At this meeting, the three finalists will present their essays.

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January 2017

This will be a discussion of journalism today, the First Amendment and what the internet has done to rewrite the game plan. Mike Foley will include in his discussion the example of the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker case.

Mike Foley
Mike Foley is a veteran newspaper editor with 30 years at the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). He served as executive editor, managing editor, metropolitan editor and city editor. He also worked on the business side of the paper as vice president of Community Relations.

Mike Foley has been involved in a variety of industry and community service, including serving as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes, president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, judge for the Hearst Foundation College Writing Awards and as a trustee of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Florida.

In 2013, he received the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2012, he was selected by the Princeton Review as one of The Best 300 Professors. College Magazine rated him one of the top 10 professors at UF in 2016.

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February 2017


David Barkey, Anti-Defamation League’s Southeastern Area Counsel
Although hate speech is generally protected in the U.S., the federal government and 45 states enhance penalties for bias-motivated criminal conduct. This interactive presentation will provide an overview of federal and state hate crimes laws, examine the First Amendment implications of these laws, and discuss frequency and key characteristics of hate crimes.

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March 2017


Ken & Linda McGurn
Ken McGurn recently ran for Congress and they both have a few interesting stories to share from the campaign trail.

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April 2017


Clay Calvert
Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the Univ. of Florida serves the public with information about the First Amendment, freedom of information, and access to government information issues.

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May 2017


How Americans can build and flex their citizenship muscles to make government respond.

Chris Hand
Chris Hand is an attorney with a long record of public service. He previously served as a speechwriter, press secretary, and campaign press secretary for Senator Graham and as campaign manager for Florida’s former statewide elected chief financial officer, Alex Sink. In 2008, Hand served as one of 27 Florida electors in the United States Electoral College.

With former Florida Governor and United States Senator Bob Graham, Hand is the co-author of America, the Owner’s Manual: You Can Fight City Hall – and Win, a guide to helping citizens make their voices heard and influence government.

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September 2017
This event has been canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

Keith Perry, Florida Senator
We’re kicking off the 2017-2018 season with guest speaker, Senator Keith Perry. Perry is a Republican member of the Florida Senate, representing the 8th district, encompassing Alachua, Putnam, and part of Marion County in North Central Florida. He also served in the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 22nd district from 2010 to 2012 and the 21st district from 2012 to 2016.
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October 2017
Monday, October 9, 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida

During Simon’s long tenure with the ACLU, the organization has been involved in cases and controversies dealing with school vouchers, charter schools, religious practices in the public schools, abortion rights, the Terri Schiavo case as well as physician-assisted suicide, and numerous controversies involving freedom of speech.

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November 2017
Monday, November 13, 11:30 AM – 1 PM

Evan D. George
Born in Gainesville, Florida, Evan George is an attorney with over 12 years experience in immigration law. Since 2008, Mr. George has operated his own law office in Gainesville, Florida, dedicated solely to immigration and deportation defense. Mr. George is also the adjunct professor for the Immigration Law course at the University of Florida Law School. Previously, Mr. George spent three years in New York City focusing on asylum and deportation defense. Mr. George graduated from the University of Florida Law School (Cum Laude), where he concurrently completed a Master’s in Latin American Studies. Most importantly, Mr. George is a happy father of three awesome daughters (all 4 years and younger).

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