Frayda Bluestein

Faculty Lunches with the Dean (No. 35) (Frayda Bluestein)

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Frayda Bluestein participated in the last session of Faculty Lunches with the Dean, and she shared several things that she has been working on.

Campus Speech.  The General Assembly passed a law last summer “to restore and preserve free speech on the campuses of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina.”  This is a big issue across the country.  There have been a number of high-profile incidents where primarily conservative, outside speakers have been shouted down and not allowed to speak on campus.  North Carolina’s new law requires the UNC System to adopt a free speech policy that applies to all of the UNC campuses.  The law goes beyond the issue of outside speakers, and addresses all forms of expression on campus—including students and faculty in their classes.  The policy must state that “[i]t is not the proper role of any constituent institution to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

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The law also requires each campus “to identify the officer, office, or department” responsible for ensuring compliance with the law “and for answering any related questions or concerns.”  For our purposes, and the main reason Frayda was discussing the new law, is because it requires the School of Government to develop and provide training on the new law and policy for those officers.  Frayda and Bob Joyce have been consulting with the attorneys at General Administration about the draft policy and they will be carrying out that requirement for the School.  It is a sensitive and complicated area, and it is a compliment for the legislature to give us this responsibility.

Search for City Attorney.  The city attorney for Raleigh, Tom McCormick, is scheduled to retire after 40 years in the position.  In other words, they haven’t searched for a city attorney in a very long time.  Ruffin Hall, Raleigh’s City Manager, and the Mayor McFarlane asked Carl Stenberg if the School could help them think through the search process.  Carl has helped with different kinds of searches and he’s worked with Raleigh, and he reached out to Frayda for help because of her extensive work with city attorneys over the years.  They are helping with questions about how to choose an interim attorney, what they might be looking for in a new attorney, and how to design a process that meets their interests.  This is a good example of how deep knowledge about the work of public officials—in this case, city attorneys—allows us to be helpful beyond our areas of substantive expertise.  It also is a great example of how faculty with different areas of expertise can collaborate to provide valuable assistance.

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Connecting with the Larger University.  Frayda recently was invited to become an affiliate faculty member with the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.  It is an especially good fit given how her work on public records connects her with a wide range of people—government officials, citizens, legislators, and members of the press.  The Law School is hosting a symposium on Badge Cameras as Data and Deterrent: Law Enforcement, the Public, and the Press in the Age of Digital Video.  On the following day the Center is organizing an invitation-only workshop that brings together a mix of academics, advocates, vendors, and public officials to discuss issues related to body-worn cameras.  They will discuss the issues surrounding the creation, use, storage, and access involving the rapid adoption of body-work cameras.  Jeff Welty and Frayda have helped the Center design the day, have identified participants from the public sector, and will facilitate small group discussion.

The main goal is to share information and promote greater understanding among the varying perspectives.  It might also lead to new approaches or future research that could be helpful.  One goal is to encourage people to speak openly on controversial matters.  Frayda says the workshop discussion will be conducted according to the Chatham House Rule, which tries to encourage openness by providing anonymity to speakers.  “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

Frayda demonstrates the range of opportunities and work that can become available to faculty members at the School.  Her expertise and wisdom is widely known, and so it isn’t surprising that she is sought out to participate in so many interesting and important activities.

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