NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), an alliance of 59 national non-profit organizations, today announced that Lee Rowland, the policy director at the New York Civil Liberties Union, will become its new executive director. She replaces Christopher Finan, who is retiring.  Rowland will assume her new duties on September 13, 2023.

“The NCAC board of directors feels very fortunate to have found such an experienced and talented defender of free expression,” NCAC Chair Emily Knox said.  Her decades of work as a civil libertarian make her the right person to lead NCAC as it confronts the book banning crisis and the many other difficult challenges to free expression.”

Rowland served for over a decade as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the New York Civil Liberties Union.  She has extensive experience as a litigator, lobbyist, and public speaker. She has served as lead counsel in federal First Amendment cases involving public employee speech rights, the First Amendment rights of community advocates, government regulation of digital speech, and state secrecy surrounding the lethal injection process. She is also a prolific author of amicus briefs and blogs, where she provides insightful analyses of issues such as speech and privacy intersection, student and public employee speech, obscenity, and the Communications Decency Act. She also has represented several NCAC Partner Organizations.

“As a lifelong free speech advocate, I am thrilled to join the NCAC,  an organization I have long respected for its principled and nonpartisan commitment to free expression,” said Rowland. “Our rights to read, think, create, and explore are always essential to a just, egalitarian, and inclusive democracy. NCAC is uniquely positioned to help us defend those rights against censorship and oppression. It’s an honor to be joining the organization in this fight.”

Rowland has taught at New York University School of Law and the Hunter College Human Rights Program. She is a Communications and Media Law Committee member at the New York Bar Association.  She is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Law School.

NCAC conducted its search with support from Koya Leadership Partners/Diversified Search Group.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
For almost 50 years, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy. It represents 59 national nonprofit organizations, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups. NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level. It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those historically silenced.