Skip to main content

Professors to discuss free speech during 'Thursdays at the U'

| Linda Tollefsrud

Photo caption: Drs. Eric Kasper and Troy Kozma will present “Free Speech, the Supreme Court and J.S. Mill” Sept. 15 as part of the "Thursdays at the U" series at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County. Those who cannot attend in person can watch the livestream.

What does it mean to have a constitutional right to “free speech”? According to Dr. Eric Kasper, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Dr. Troy Kozma, a professor of philosophy and religious studies at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County, much of the reasoning in contemporary Supreme Court cases mirrors John Stuart Mill’s arguments in his famous book, “On Liberty.”

This is not new, as Mill’s position on free speech has been advocated by some members of the court for more than a century. The advocacy of Mill’s position has grown over time, to the point where it is now the dominant view expressed by Supreme Court justices in free speech cases. It is impossible to fully understand the highest court’s current approach to the freedom of speech without taking into account Mill’s philosophical influence.

Kasper and Kozma will provide details about recent Supreme Court cases and J.S. Mill’s philosophy during their presentation, “Free Speech, the Supreme Court and J.S. Mill,” Sept. 15 as part of the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County "Thursdays at the U" series. The presentation will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus. Those who cannot attend in person can watch the livestream.

Kasper directs the Menard Center for Constitutional Studies at UW-Eau Claire. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited six books and 13 academic journal articles, including several on the freedom of expression. He currently serves as the municipal judge for the city of Rice Lake.

Kozma is chair of the faculty at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County and directs the UW Collaborative Online Associate of Arts and Sciences degree program. He also is the official headmaster of the Wizarding Camp at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.

The "Thursdays at the U" weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. Neither seating reservations nor parking permits are needed for campus guests.

For more information about the series, call the campus at 715-788-6244 or email Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, the series organizer, at