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FREE SPEECH 101

WINNER OF THE 2007 BRONZE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK AWARD

“I have never seen a group of young people more dedicated to the First Amendment.” —Michael Moore, Director of Fahrenheit 9/11

IN THE FALL OF 2004, just weeks before the already hostile national elections, student leaders at Utah Valley State invited one of the most controversial figures in America, film maker Michael Moore, to one of the most conservative campuses in the country. The invitation resulted in a firestorm of controversy and heated political debate. The story was soon picked up by the national media, including Time, the Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among numerous other publications, and was declared one of Utah’s Top Stories of the Year.

Written by the student primarily responsible for the decision, Free Speech 101 is the inside account of what happened—from the explosion when the news broke, to subsequent death threats, bribes, lawsuits, and pulled funds. The book provides fascinating behind-the-scenes accounts of meetings with college administrators, wealthy donors, state legislators, and the visits of Michael Moore and Sean Hannity.

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amazon“Quite a remarkable story, and should be made public, particularly these days, with freedom of speech and academic freedom under serious attack .” —Noam Chomsky

“Vogel presents a riveting and telling first hand account of the trauma and politics that surrounded Michael Moore’s visit to conservative Utah Valley State College in 2004. Ultimatel y, the college upheld its committment to open discourse, but the remarkable efforts of Mr. Vogel and his allies were pivotal to this result. Vogel’s case study is a window into the politics, psychology, and principles that are at stake in emotional free speech conflicts. The book also provides a model of how to defend free speech principles in the face of intense opposition. Lesson 101: free speech will not prevail when it matters unless such individuals as Vogel and his allies stand up and defend it under pressure.” —Donald Downs, Author of Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus

“Joe Vogel’s first-person memoir of one of the fabulously interesting free speech battles of our time, performs two services: First, in contrast to civil liberties books written by reporters and other third parties looking in and trying to make sense of someone else’s scene, this book adds to the scarce library of first-person accounts of the battles that define what it means to be an American. Second, Vogel’s story gets to the heart of the definition of moral courage, a lesson that it is essential we teach our children and, of course, continually re-teach ourselves. Bravo!” —Harvey Silverglate, Co-Founder and Chair of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

“To me, Vogel is a hero. This story is not about Michael Moore or Sean Hannity. It’s not even about politics. It’s about free speech and the soul of America. Jefferson himself said, ‘Information is the currency of democracy,’ and information can only come through freedom of speech and expression. Joe Vogel recognized that, and … decided to host a controversial speaker in Family City, U.S.A. He recognized that the most important speeches to hear are those with which we most disagree.” —Dan Strong, The Cavalier Daily

“Vogel’s book should be read by everyone who cares about the state of free speech in America. In gripping detail Free Speech 101 tells the story of the intolerant campaign waged by conservatives — from wealthy bu siness leaders to right-wing students — to prevent anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore from speaking at Utah Valley State College. As the student government official who invite d Moore, Vogel came under heavy pressure — personal threats, a recall drive, even bribe offers — to cancel Moore’s speech. Vogel resisted these pressures and won a major victory for free speech by bringing Moore to his campus in one of Utah’s most conservative counties. Free Speech 101 eloquently attests to the fragility of civil liberty in post 9-11 America, even on college campuses which are supposed to be centers of the free exchange of ideas. Vogel tells the story of this free speech fight, and his own role in it, with passion and real insight. This important case study makes plain the fact that conservatives have a free speech problem. And perhaps the first thing they ought to do to address it is face up to the intolerance in their movement by reading this superb book.” —Robert Cohen, Author of The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s

“To me, Vogel is a hero. This story is not about Michael Moore or Sean Hannity. It’s not even about politics. It’s about free speech and the soul of America. Jefferson himself said, ‘Information is the currency of democracy,’ and information can only come through freedom of speech and expression. Joe Vogel recognized that, and … decided to host a controversial speaker in Family City, U.S.A. He recognized that the most important speeches to hear are those with which we most disagree.” —Dan Strong, The Cavalier Daily

“In detailing the maelstrom caused by [inviting Michael Moore to campus], Vogel makes it clear that democracy is not something that just happens; it has to be worked for. It is easier to silence opposing viewpoints than sincerely listen. The valuable contribution of this book is to remind us that citizenship is an art, an art we are in jeopardy of losing.” —Dr. David Keller,  Director, Center for the Study of Ethics, UVSC

“What [Vogel] learns, and shares with us in this book. . . mirrors on a small scale what is curren tly takin g place in our nation as a whole. The struggle he faces in the student senate could just as well be, and in fact is, taking place in Washington D.C. . .One can only hope that this book is placed into a time capsule, so that one day our children’s children can read it and know we tried. . .Mr. Vogel does his country a service by writing this story.” —Jordan Romney, The Free Speech Zone

“I couldn’t put it down. . .[Free Speech 101] is about the personal trials Joe went through to protect the very soul of free speech. The book illustrated how fragile a thing it is and hinted at the idea that we should be out there doing what we can to protect it, whether we agree with what people have to say or not. It was a refreshing thing to read. . .To say that it caused a stir in me is an understatment. . .The book made me want to get up and do something about politics again. . .Any apathy that I may have developed in the last few months has been erased completely by reading Free Speech 101.” —Bryan Young, co-producer of This Divided State