Should Colleges Be Limited to Speech?
In “The Freedom to Offend,” Ian Buruma explains how we have the right to speak freely and how we can have the freedom to offend our own being. America is the land of the free and we can say what we want because of the First Amendment. Limiting speech could become an issue on college campuses because some students inevitably choose to follow the hate speech codes and some would choose to disobey the hate speech codes. I am focusing on how campuses are allowing policies to be put into place that limits students on what they can say as well as how hate speech affects students. Limiting speech and hate speech on campuses goes against the First Amendment, it goes against student rights, the use of censorship violates the First Amendment, and limiting speech affects our diverse college campuses more frequently.
The First Amendment provides guidelines on how America should work. The First Amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…” (Greenup 606). One of the main reasons that the United States of America was founded was for the right to speak freely. America is unique because of this freedom. It seems that this is no longer the case because the courts have been forced to create a tightrope on how people express themselves through freedom of speech. Greenup states that on college campuses we get the image of “a place where ideas and theories are analyzed, debated and honored—and where no opinion is shunned” (Greenup 608). Universities should not create any type of policy that renders us from speaking what we want. Universities have begun to limit what students can say and who can give a speech at the university. Universities bring in outside speakers to speak to the student body; however, in some cases speakers can create controversy. For example, Lisa Williamson came to speak at a university located in the Midwest about issues related to diversity. After Ms. Williamson spoke an organization known as the “Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” came into the universities offices of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and asked to speak, but the university denied their request. The university believed that the Ku Klux Klan preached “faulty information” but still the Ku Klux Klan demanded that they be “afforded the same opportunity to address the university community as was provided for Ms. Williamson” (Greenup 606). The university still would not give them the right to speak because it did not reflect the tone of Ms. Williamson’s presentations (Greenup 605-606). Now even though most people do not agree with the ways of the Ku Klux Klan I honestly think they have the right to speak to their followers and anyone who wants to listen. I do not agree with their ways, but this is America and many people do not understand the concept that we all have the right to speak freely. If someone says that we cannot speak then that is going against the first amendment. Bradley W. Wendel of the Harvard Journal of Legislation says, “To put the point bluntly, colleges and universities are in the business of controlling the speech of members of their communities, and trying to affect the beliefs of students” (Wendel 408). What Wendel is stating here is that colleges nowadays are controlling what anyone can say and what we believe. The Ku Klux Klan has the right to speak what they believe and colleges should not tell them that they cannot speak. Colleges cannot control what we say, it is just wrong. To not let anyone speak because of his or her beliefs is just completely wrong. The Ku Klux Klan has a right to speak freely. The university has put in hate a speech code that entitles only a few certain people to be able to speak. Ku Klux Klan goes with these hate speech codes that make them unable to express their opinion. Hate speech codes become useless because laws that have already been placed instead of...
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