Dominican receives First Amendment Grant

Dominican University of California is one of six colleges nationwide awarded a grant by the 1 for All program to support efforts to raise awareness of the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms it protects.

1 for All and its campus effort, The Liberty Tree Initiative, were founded in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, the Knight Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, the First Amendment Center, and the Newseum.

Other universities awarded a grant include North Georgia College & State University, the University of Memphis, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri, and Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

Dominican’s $5,000 grant will support the “Stand up. Sit down. Speak out” campaign, to be held during First Amendment Week, March 12-16.  The campaign will feature events designed to highlight free expression in public life, including journalism, politics, religion, art, music, film, and comedy. The campaign is co-sponsored by Dominican’s Department of Communication and Media Studies and the Department of Political Science.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to continue Dominican’s tradition of engaged learning, as well as an opportunity for the local community to participate and witness that commitment,” said Brad Van Alstyne, chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies.

Events include a performance celebrating free speech through satire and humor at Mill Valley’s Throckmorton Theatre; a panel discussion with legal experts and journalists on the state of the First Amendment; a student team trivia contest; an exhibit of artwork by Dominican students and local fourth graders; and a month-long trivia contest on Facebook (

 “The First Amendment is one of our most important rights in America, and yet, relatively few people actually know the freedoms protected and what they mean,” said Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann, a journalism professor at Dominican in charge of the event.

 Lattimore-Volkmann says education programs like this are important to remind students and citizens why the First Amendment is such a cornerstone to our democracy and something worth preserving.

 “We often support the First Amendment until it protects a viewpoint we don’t agree with, so this effort is to remind all of us that our Democracy promotes – and even requires – differing viewpoints for a more enriching life experience and a better government," Lattimore-Volkmann said.