Undergraduate Essay Competition

2019 Topic

Should social media platforms be permitted to censor controversial speech?

This year’s essay topic reflects on the heated and ongoing discussions about the role of social media in American social life, elections, and democratic practice.

First place: $1,000
Second place: $500
Third place: $250

Essays should be approximately 1,000 words in length. Only essays from undergraduate students will be accepted. The winners will be invited to a dinner hosted by the Center faculty.

The deadline to apply has passed.

Essay Application

The deadline has passed. Check back in the spring for our next essay competition!

Previous Competitions

2018 Topic

“Should the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which states that ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside’—be repealed or modified to restrict more precisely the definition of who may claim citizenship?”

Winners: Dana Coggio, Ben Johnson, August Schultz

2017 Topic

“Should the U.S. Electoral College be abolished, reformed, or left to the states to determine?”

Winners: Ean Quick, Garrett McLaughlin, Joshua Gutzmann

2016 Topic

“Are the goals of fostering freedom of speech on campus and of fostering a welcoming environment for all students incompatible?”

Winners:  Joshua GutzmannRebekah CullumZawadi Carroll