Award-Winning Radio Producer Headlines Free Speech Week at Florida Tech Feb. 18-22

University Welcomes ‘This
 American Life’s’ Robyn Semien

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Peabody Award winner and This American Life producer Robyn Semien will offer the keynote address Wednesday, Feb. 20, during Free Speech Week convened by Florida Tech and its student-run newspaper, The Crimson.

Held Feb. 18-22 on the Florida Tech campus, Free Speech Week features lectures, events and activities designed to help foster a better understanding of the First Amendment.

Semien will speak at 5:30 p.m. in the Hartley Room on the second floor of the Denius Student Center. The event, like all Free Speech Week activities, is free and open to the public.

She is a two-time winner of the Peabody Award, among the most prestigious recognitions of excellence in radio, TV and digital media. She won most recently for producing the This American Life episode “Anatomy of Doubt” in 2016, which was co-reported with The Marshall Project and ProPublica and centered on a rape survivor whose story was doubted by almost everyone she told.

“Robyn Semien’s moving and important storytelling is audio journalism at its finest,” said Ted Petersen, associate professor of journalism at Florida Tech and adviser to The Crimson.

Here’s a look at other Free Speech Week events:

Monday, Feb. 18:

  • 12:30 to 3 p.m., Panther Plaza: The Crimson staff will host “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Cookies,” featuring a free-speech wall where students, faculty, staff and visitors may freely express themselves by writing whatever they want on the wall. In return, writers will receive a cookie.

Tuesday, Feb. 19:

  • 5:30 p.m., Link Room, Evans Library: Reel Reads: School of Arts and Communication professor Heidi Hatfield Edwards discusses the 1974 book and 1976 film All the President’s Men.

Wednesday, Feb. 20:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Crawford Building lawn: Students will get to experience life without the First Amendment. They will receive a free meal – a slice of pizza from Old School Pizza or a sub sandwich – in exchange for their First Amendment rights.
  • 5:30 p.m.: Hartley Room: Robyn Semien keynote address.

Thursday, Feb. 21:

  • 5:30 p.m., Link Room, Evans Library: a panel of Florida Today reporters and editors will discuss issues facing local journalism.

Friday, Feb. 22:

  • Noon, outside WFIT studios: Students, faculty and librarians will read from their favorite banned books. 

“The First Amendment and access to information are constantly being challenged,” Petersen said. “This event is designed to bring awareness and support to this critical constitutional protection.”

Free Speech Week is sponsored by Old School Pizza and the Florida Tech School of Arts and Communication. 

For more information, contact Petersen at 321-674-7201 or or Crimson editor-in-chief Eleanor Mathers at


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