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Skidmore Speaks 2020 tackles social media speech and safety

October 21, 2020

Skidmore Speaks, an annual series of events that consider challenges associated with free speech on college campuses, will this year tackle theme of “Social media at Skidmore and beyond: What you need to know before you post.” 

From Monday, Oct. 26, through Friday, Oct. 30, virtual discussions, interactive workshops and film screenings will address free speech, digital safety and the impact of social media in today’s society. 

The series kicks off at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, with a keynote address, “Free Speech on Campus,” from Sigal Ben-Porath, professor of education, philosophy and political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her keynote will be followed by a workshop at 12:30 p.m. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, there will be four opportunities — at 10 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. — to view a screening of the film "The Social Dilemma," which explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations. 

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, an interactive “Digital Safety Self-Defense” workshop will examine concrete steps social media users can take to protect themselves from abusive tactics such as impersonation, hacking and doxing, or the publishing of private information. The program, presented by PEN America and Freedom of the Press Foundation, will teach participants how to audit their social media accounts, tighten privacy settings and track their personal information online. 

Film discussions and workshops will be held throughout the day on Thursday, Oct. 29, and the series will wrap up at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, with an interactive training — “PEN America + Hollaback!” — that will provide tools for safely and effectively intervening in online abuse through the use of bystander intervention tactics. 

The series is presented by the Office of the Dean of Students in collaboration with the Office of Communications and Marketing. To learn more and sign up for events, visit the Skidmore Speaks webpage

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