LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2013) ― One of the nation’s most respected advocates for student expression rights will deliver the eighth annual State of the First Amendment Address at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29. Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, Arlington, Va., will speak in the auditorium of the William T. Young Library, on the state of First Amendment rights for high school and college students.
“It’s a great privilege to be able to bring Frank LoMonte to our campus,” said Beth Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. “Studies have found that students don’t understand their First Amendment rights and one of the reasons is that high schools don’t always want them to exercise them.”
“Frank LoMonte isn’t just doing a job,” said Mike Farrell, director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, which sponsors the annual First Amendment Celebration at the University of Kentucky. “You likely won’t meet anyone more passionate about the First Amendment or articulate in arguing for student expression rights that Frank.".
LoMonte attended the University of Florida and served in several positions on school newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator, including editor-in-chief. He graduated from Georgia State University in 1994, and then he worked for 12 years for daily newspapers in Florida and Georgia before enrolling in law school. He earned his law degree at the University of Georgia Law School and clerked for several federal judges before practicing law in Atlanta. He became executive director of the Student Press Law Center in 2008.
The annual First Amendment Celebration will also feature the presentation of the James Madison Award for service to the First Amendment by a Kentuckian. Judy Clabes, publisher of KyForward and one of the founders of the center, will present the award.
The Student Press Law Center has been providing legal assistance and education to high school and college journalists since 1974. It is the nation's only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to educating high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment and supporting the student news media in their struggle to cover important issues free from censorship.
The mission of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, housed in the university’s School of Journalism and Telecommunications, is to promote understanding of the First Amendment among citizens of Kentucky, to advocate for First Amendment rights in the Commonwealth and nationally, and to produce internationally recognized scholarship concerning the First Amendment and its related freedoms.