Free Speech Zones Essay

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” Indeed, free speech is a large block upon which this nation was first constructed, and remains a hard staple of America today; and in few places is that freedom more often utilized than on a college campus. However, there are limitations to our constitutional liberties on campus and they, most frequently, manifest themselves in the form of free speech zones, hate speech and poor university policy. Most school codes are designed to protect students, protect educators and to promote a stable, non-disruptive and non-threatening learning environment. However, students’ verbal freedom…show more content…
“Over the years, courts have ruled that college officials may set up reasonable rules to regulate the ‘time, place and manner” that the free speech can occur, as long as the rules are “content neutral,’ meaning they apply equally to all sides of issues” (Fisher, 2008). Speech codes and free speech zones on campus do exist for many reasons: many of the causes or topics that students or others looking to interact with students take up are controversial and can frequently take on less of an academic or social justice overtone and more of a hateful one. Hate speech is the greatest threat to freedom of speech on college campuses, and the limitations colleges and universities put on student’s verbal freedoms are largely in place as efforts to avoid it. Religion, in particular, is a hot topic on campuses and it has an unfortunate tendency to become more aggressive and argumentative than universities would like. However, under the First Amendment, individuals do have a right to speech that the listener disagrees with and to speech that is offensive and hateful. It’s always easier to defend someone’s right to say something with which you agree. But in a free society, you also have a duty to defend speech to which you may strongly object. According to a report, published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), revealed that 62 percent of the 409 colleges reviewed have written policies in
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