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Free Speech Week Celebrates Our 1st Amendment Rights

Border Reporter Headlines Florida Tech Free Speech Week

Lauren Villagran of the El Paso Times Will Speak Feb. 22

Lauren Villagran, a reporter who covers the southern border for the El Paso Times and the USA TODAY Network, will speak at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Florida Tech.

Villagran will be the keynote speaker for the 12th annual Free Speech Week hosted by Florida Tech’s student-run newspaper, The Crimson. Her address in the Hartley Room in the Denius Student Union is free and open to the public. She will present, “Reporter’s Notebook: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderland.”

In her 20-year career as a journalist, Villagran has covered the financial markets in New York, the drug war in Mexico, humanitarian crises at the border and the shifting patterns of migration across the western hemisphere.

Before joining the El Paso Times in 2019, Villagran reported for The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Albuquerque Journal, Americas Quarterly and others. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Free Speech Week is an annual reminder to the campus community that The Crimson functions as free press—student leaders make all editorial decisions. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the value of the First Amendment and the importance of the work journalists do.

This year’s free speech event also includes the “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Cookies” wall on Tuesday, Feb. 21 in front of the student union. At this event, students can get a free prepackaged cookie for writing on a free speech wall.

On Friday, Feb. 24, The Crimson will host “Live Free or Eat Free: You can’t do both.” Students will be offered a free meal from a local food truck in exchange for their First Amendment rights.

“Good journalism should provide insight and context on complicated issues. Lauren’s work covering the border does just that,” said Ted Petersen, an associate professor of journalism at Florida Tech and adviser to The Crimson.

For more information, contact Petersen at 321-674-7201 or tpetersen@fit.edu.