Depth and Dialogue sessions to spark important conversations surrounding the First Amendment

Kirsten Anderson
Kirsten Anderson

AMES, Iowa – Former Iowa GOP Senate Communications Director Kirsten Anderson will share her experience taking a stand against her employer — the state of Iowa — as part of Iowa State University’s 2018 First Amendment Days celebration.

“Speaking up About Workplace Harassment” will take place at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in 163 Hamilton Hall on the Iowa State campus. It’s one of five sessions planned for the First Amendment Depth and Dialogue series that will kick off the three-day event.

Anderson was awarded $2.2 million in 2017 by a jury of her peers after filing a lawsuit against the state of Iowa for wrongful termination, harassment and retaliation. She now advocates for harassment-free work environments and supports those who have experienced harassment in the workplace.

As #metoo takes the country by storm, Anderson’s session will provide an opportunity for students and members of the Iowa State community to converse on a topic that is strongly present in the world today.

“In these smaller depth and dialogue sessions, we really are hoping that there is this good exchange of information between the speaker and the audience,” said Julie Roosa, Greenlee adjunct assistant professor and First Amendment specialist. “We really don’t have a lot of opportunities to interact with experts in the field on a day-to-day basis, so it will give us a chance to think about the five freedoms of the First Amendment that we so often take for granted.”

Anderson has a degree in broadcast journalism from Northwest Missouri State University. Her professional experience includes running a non-profit, working as a communication coach and trainer and managing an award-winning professional development program.

She is a 2008 Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute graduate and former Leadership Institute Board of Governors member. She is currently President Elect of the local chapter of the Association of Women in Communications.

Additional Depth and Dialogue sessions will take place throughout the day. These facilitated discussions will explore different topics related to the First Amendment. Sessions include:

Freedom and Respect (9 a.m., 169 Hamilton Hall)

Hear how campus leaders protect free expression while promoting inclusion. The panel includes ISU University Counsel Michael Norton, J.D., Jonathan Sturm, past president of the faculty senate and professor of music, and Daniela Flores, PhD Candidate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and the ISU Chapter President of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). John Whyte, Canadian constitutional law scholar, will moderate.

Thinking Like a Journalist (10 a.m., 172 Hamilton Hall)

Emily Barske, editor in chief of the Iowa State Daily, and Erin Jordan, investigative reporter with the Gazette, will lead a discussion on the difficult news judgements journalists make on the job.

“The Thinking Like a Journalist session will take the audience right into the thick of ethical questions journalists deal with each day,” said Barske, who’s also a member of the committee that plans the annual celebration. “I'll be presenting tough situations — everything from covering crime to the role of the opinion section or how we report on race issues — I've been presented as an editor and asking audience members to decide what they would do in that situation.”

Speaking Up About Workplace Harassment (12:10 p.m., 163 Hamilton Hall)

Anderson will share how she became an unlikely advocate for those facing harassment in the workplace.

#MeToo at ISU (1:10 p.m., 172 Hamilton Hall)

Margo Foreman, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at Iowa State, will lead a discussion about how the #metoo movement is influencing the campus community. She’ll share how Iowa State’s Office of Equal Opportunity is a resource.

Shedding Light on Mental Illness (2:10 p.m., 172 Hamilton Hall)

Des Moines Register political columnist and Greenlee lecturer Kathie Obradovich and Scott Moss, senior in finance and co-director of ISU Out of the Darkness, will share how they use their platforms to raise awareness.

Now in its 16th year, First Amendment Days celebrates the five freedoms protected by the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. It's organized by Greenlee's First Amendment Committee, which is made up of members of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State Daily Media Group and the Leo Mores Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

First Amendment Days will take place April 11-13 with a variety of events open to the Iowa State community and the public. See the complete schedule: https://greenlee.iastate.edu/info-for/fad18/