Are colleges still free speech havens?

by Adaolisa Okafor 512 views0

From canceled speeches to violent riots, it’s no secret that free speech on college campuses is an ongoing issue. Many colleges have blocked controversial figures from speaking on their campuses, raising the question of whether or not colleges are still free speech havens.

“Freedom of speech extends as far as people having the right to express their opinion and not enforcing it on other people,” COC student Amelia Schuhler said.

UC Berkeley students protest against the scheduled appearance of alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

“Free speech is the ability to express your own beliefs freely without much censorship,” COC student Jason Herrera said.

“Free speech for me is just an individual voicing their opinion, whether it’s through literature, art, anything,” COC student Christopher Ochoa said. “Personally, I feel like there isn’t a lot of free speech here on campus, mostly because people feel like they’ll be judged a certain way or they won’t be able to voice their opinions a certain way, which sucks.”

Some students, like Schuhler and Herrera, think that censorship is necessary to keep people from offending certain groups.

“Yes, people should be allowed access to the knowledge that other people are giving out, but at a university, I think we should all try to conduct a certain level of decency,” Schuhler said.

People protest Ann Coulter’s canceled speech at UC Berkeley.

“Due to what’s been happening recently in the world, especially among Muslims, the LGBTQ community and other minorities… we should raise awareness about not trying to hurt,” Herrera said.

Other students think that no matter how controversial, people should be allowed to voice their opinions on campus.

“You should be able to voice your opinions without people getting offended by the topic or anything in general,”Ochoa said. “They can see different viewpoints, because only being one-sided and not hearing the other side is kinda biased. Hearing the full aspect and the idea of things is important for all people to understand.”


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