CSUN Smith Lecture to Explore the Delicate Balance of Protecting Free Speech in the Fight Against Terrorism

Brian Levin

Brian Levin

The battle between Apple and the U.S. Department of Justice over access to information on the iPhone used by the perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks is only the latest example of the struggle Americans are having as they try to protect First Amendment ideals of free speech in the fight against terrorism.

Brian Levin, an expert on terrorism and hate crimes, will explore those tensions and more during the next Richard W. Smith Lecture in Cultural Studies on Monday, March 28, at California State University, Northridge. The lecture, hosted by CSUN’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in the Whitsett Room, Sierra Hall 451, on the west side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

“This important lecture will help the audience better understand the tradeoffs between liberty and security in relation to political violence, and how terrorism in the United States is testing important democratic values,” said Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Levin is a professor of criminal justice at CSU San Bernardino and director of its Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. A criminologist attorney, Levin has spent his career analyzing terrorism, hate crimes and legal issues.

He is the author, co-author and editor of numerous books, scholarly articles, training manuals and studies on extremism and hate crimes. He has written various U.S. Supreme Court friend-of-the-court briefs, including those in the landmark case of Wisconsin v. Mitchell, where he presented criminological data establishing the severity and characteristics of hate crime. His analysis has won various awards, and his work has been referenced in prominent social science journals and major law reviews.

Before entering academia in 1996, Levin served as associate director of legal affairs for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Klanwatch/Militia Task Force in Montgomery, Ala., and as a corporate litigator for the law firm of Irell & Manella. He also was a New York City Police Officer in Harlem and Washington Heights during the 1980s.

Levin has appeared in international news media on six continents and has lectured around the world. He is a court-certified expert on extremism in the United States and the United Kingdom, and he has testified before both houses of Congress. He also has consulted for numerous state and federal agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

His lecture on March 28 is free and open to the public. However, seating is limited. For more information about the event or to reserve a seat, call (818) 677-7169.