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63 U. Cin. L. Rev. 1103 (1994-1995)
Public Institutions of Culture and the First Amendment: The New Frontier

handle is hein.journals/ucinlr63 and id is 1113 raw text is: ARTICLES

Lee C. Bollinger*
The general subject of my lecture today is the relationship between
the First Amendment and public institutions of culture, which I take to
be those sponsored and supported by the state with the clear purpose
of preserving and promoting high culture in the United States. These
include universities, museums, theaters, libraries, public broadcasting
networks, programs for art in public places, and the national endow-
ments for the arts and the humanities. All of these institutions or pro-
grams are vested with the responsibility of insuring the preservation of
high human achievement in the areas to which they are devoted
(knowledge, art, music, and so on), of transmitting those achievements
to new generations, and of fostering or nurturing new achievements to
add to these results of human labor over the centuries. Because all of
this involves ideas and values, it is perfectly natural, indeed it is inevi-
table, that there are conflicts over who controls these institutions and
what standards they employ. And because speech is involved, this in
turn ignites conflicts with the First Amendment, which extols the vir-
tues of an open marketplace of ideas and harbors a seemingly fathom-
less distrust of government involvement in that marketplace. That, at
least, is the new frontier of the First Amendment that I hope to ex-
plore with you this morning.
One major point of conflict we have witnessed over the past decade
has been between legislative bodies and those who more directly con-
trol these cultural institutions. All of you, I am sure, are aware of the
controversy between Congress and the National Endowment for the
Arts (NEA) arising out of the NEA's support of two exhibits, one
* Provost, Dartmouth College. Former Dean, University of Michigan Law School. This
lecture was presented on September 14, 1994, as the Taft Lecture at the University of Cincin-
nati College of Law in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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