UK Happenings

State of the First Amendment Address to focus on free speech in online gaming, social media

Genelle Belmas
Genelle Belmas, media law professor at University of Kansas, will deliver the address Thursday, Nov. 17, via Zoom.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 31, 2022) — Genelle Belmas, media law professor and First Amendment expert at the University of Kansas, will deliver the State of the First Amendment Address at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. The title of the address is “Wizards, Sentinels, and Mods: What Gamers Can Teach Social Media About Free Speech.”

The address is free to the public and the University of Kentucky community live via Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted on the day of the event at

Belmas, an associate professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, teaches media law, media ethics, qualitative research methods and gamification. Her research primarily focuses on media law and ethics. Several appellate and Supreme Court briefs have cited her work, which appears in Yale Journal of Online Law and Technology, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal, Federal Communications Law Journal, Journal of Mass Media Ethics and Communications Law and Policy. She is the lead co-author of “Major Principles of Media Law.” She earned her bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin, master's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin and doctoral degree in mass communication from the University of Minnesota. She’s also an avid gamer.

This year’s address coincides with the offering of a new minor in video game design and development offered by the College of Communication and Information’s School of Journalism and Media. UK's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, housed in the school, is the sponsor of the address, delivered annually in celebration of First Amendment rights.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.