"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
CFAS provides programs designed to educate students about their First Amendment heritage, its impact on new technologies, and to encourage faculty members to do original research on freedom of expression.
Perhaps at no time in our history have First Amendment issues so dominated national attention:
- Campuses struggle with rules to guide "politically correct" speech
- The Supreme Court opens political campaigns to spending by corporations and unions
- In the name of national security, the Administration issues regulations based on Congressional legislation that may infringe on First Amendment freedoms
- Freedom assembly allows private groups to exclude members but does not protect political donors from being identified
Unless the public clearly understands how the First Amendment has functioned to protect us in the past, our liberties may be eroded in the future. The Center's goal is to inform the public, the courts, administrative agencies and Congress about the proper application of the First Amendment.
The Center stimulates interdisciplinary study of First Amendment issues. Specifically, the Center seeks to publish research into and understanding of the origins, evolution, and interpretation of the First Amendment. The Center also produces research on such issues as freedom of information, copyright law, academic freedom, and the application of the First Amendment to such new technologies as cable, computer, telephone, television, and satellite transmission.
The Center was established on October 24, 1988 and has initiated two courses in the University's curriculum: Communication Studies 441, Freedom of Expression and Conscience, and Communication Studies 442, Campaign Persuasion. Both courses are interdisciplinary "capstone" classes on the campus.
Dr. Kevin Johnson
Dr. Kevin Johnson has served the Center as a Research Fellow from 2000-2002 and as the Director of Research since 2008. He is the author of over 20 scholarly articles and book chapters. His most recent work includes book chapters on the First Amendment philosophies of Justices Thomas and Justice Kennedy in A First Amendment Profile of the Supreme Court (John Cabot University Press, 2011). Another study of Justice Kennedy appeared in the Free Speech Yearbook, and was also featured in Communication Currents as an exemplary study in the importance of communication scholarship. Kevin is also the 2nd Vice-Chair of the Freedom of Expression Division of the National Communication Association.
He has delivered invited lectures in the United States and Europe on rhetoric and First Amendment issues, and has been a guest to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States. He has served as a consultant for argument strategy for counsel arguing in federal court, and has been recognized for his civic service by members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the California State Senate and Assembly, Los Angeles County, and the City of Long Beach. He is currently working on a co-authored book project with Craig R. Smith on Fear and the First Amendment: Contemporary First Amendment Controversies of the Roberts Court, expected completion Spring, 2014.
Our Director Emeritus
Dr. Craig Smith
Dr. Craig Smith was named the Outstanding Professor on the campus in 2000 and won the same title from the National Speakers Association in 1997. He has also received campus awards for Distinguished Teaching (1997) and Distinguished Scholarship (1994). He is the author of sixteen books and over 60 scholarly articles and book chapters. His most recent studies on the First Amendment include A First Amendment Profile of the Supreme Court (John Cabot University Press, 2011), Freedom of Expression and Partisan Politics (University of South Carolina Press), Silencing the Opposition: Government Strategies of Suppression (State University of New York Press, 2nd ed. 2011), and The Four Freedoms of the First Amendment (Waveland, 2004). He regularly publishes editorials in such prestigious newspapers as the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.
Dr. Smith has served as a consultant to CBS News for convention, election night, and inaugural coverage. He served as a full-time speechwriter for President Gerald Ford and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca. He has served as a consultant to President George Bush and Governor Pete Wilson among others. In 1983 he founded the Freedom of Expression Foundation and remains its president to this time. Dr. Smith taught at San Diego State University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham before coming to Long Beach State. From 1996 to 1998 Dr. Smith served on the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing. He has served on the Statewide Academic Senate and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the California State University system.
Our Director of Research
Dr. Christopher Duerringer
Dr. Christopher Duerringer. Bio coming soon.
Our Director of Community Outreach and Development
Anthony Cuomo holds a master's degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach and received his bachelor's degree in Communication at California State University, San Marcos.
While attending CSULB, he was awarded a graduate research fellowship with the Center for First Amendment Studies and was the "Outstanding Graduate Scholar." His master's thesis examined how social media was used to support and oppose California's education legislation requiring LGBT history to be incorporated into K-12 curriculum. In addition to his duties with the Center, he teaches oral communication (GEO) at CSUSM and public speaking at CSULB.