First Amendment Days

First Amendment Days

Celebrate your First Amendment freedoms — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — during First Amendment Days, which will take place April 6-10, 2020, on the Iowa State University campus. The 2020 theme is “Some Assembly Required.”

Bonnie Siegler, author of “Signs of Resistance: A Visual History of Protest in America” will present a keynote lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 7. Nadine Strossen, law professor, former ACLU president, and author of “HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship” will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 8.

Now in its 18th year, First Amendment Days is the longest-running continual student-led First Amendment celebration at any university in the U.S. The celebration is organized by the First Amendment Committee, which is made up of members of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, the Iowa State Daily Media Group and the Leo Mores Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.



two men on guitarsLast Year’s Celebration

In 2019, the Iowa State community explored the five freedoms through various forms of artistic expression during First Amendment Days. First Amendment Days 2019: Express Yourself brought Simon Tam, founder and bassist of The Slants, and his bandmate Joe Jiang to campus for a lecture about their band’s Supreme Court battle over its name. During the Feast on the First, Timmy Ham, a visual artist, illustrator and founder of the lifestyle brand SLOTH, did a live art demonstration on Central Campus.

2019 Highlights




students marching with flag of Iowa
Students march during the 2004 First Amendment Day celebration.

FAD Through the Years

The inaugural Iowa State University First Amendment Day celebration took place in 2003 and was organized by Mark Witherspoon, Iowa State Daily editorial adviser and former Greenlee faculty member. The Greenlee School has organized a celebration every year since. See how First Amendment Days has evolved through the years.

Past Celebrations








Event Contacts

  • Julie Roosa, adjunct assistant professor and First Amendment specialist, Greenlee School
  • Mark Witherspoon, editorial adviser, Iowa State Daily Media Group