Essay The Debate Over Freedom Of Speech

Essay The Debate Over Freedom Of Speech

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As a sophomore attending a public university, the issues of racist speech and freedom of speech have been brought to my attention more than ever before. These issues are more than relevant. The debate over freedom of speech is of utmost importance to the college student and common citizen alike. College students today need, not only to know their rights, but they need to know how and when those rights should be used. They especially need to know how to use them in an academic setting for the purpose of intellectual and social growth. Considering the debate between Charles Lawrence and Gerald Gunther over prohibiting racist speech on college campuses I would argue that universities across the nation should balance the fundamental rights of free speech and equal educational opportunity by allowing free speech in all forms, even racist speech, and by not limiting any first amendment rights.
I will begin by explaining my two main arguments for this position. These explanations will show that we have rights to free speech for a reason, and that those rights should not be taken for granted in any setting what so ever. My first reason is one that Charles Lawrence proposes in his argument as well, and that is that protecting bad speech from government regulation forces the campus to combat it as a community (Lawrence 341). My second reason for not limiting free speech in any way on campus, is that free speech is a right guaranteed by the United States constitution, outlined by the First Amendment, that should not limit college campuses. To end that, I will provide a possible objection to this position, namely, that progress in education cannot be made when it is being limited by hate speech that could be controlled by school officials ...


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...ism, sexism, and oppression is everywhere and it is not limited by anyone. In the world we are not protected from words so now is the time to learn how to respond to them appropriately. I think that can be done with the aid of administration and teachers that we as students have built relationships with, without having to put restrictions in place.
In conclusion, I think that all of these issues must be dealt with, and that can and should start in college. The real world is full of bad things, including bad speech that will affect us all, so we might as well equip ourselves now, in college, with the knowledge to fight against it. We, as college students, have rights to free speech for a reason, and those rights should not be taken for granted. Instead they should be put to the test on our very campuses so that we can combat it as a community and execute our rights.

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