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Freedom of Speech on Campus

Is the freedom of speech debate hindering our education?

The entire basis of education is learning. But can we learn properly if we’re more focused on censorship than the diversity of education?

Many opinions can be a good thing. Like the advice of “shopping around” when it comes to purchases, or even taking polls online. There’s proof that different viewpoints can broaden our understanding of a topic, and further educate us on it. How we learn, even from a young age, is by being exposed to many different things.

So it poses the threat that the more we censor ourselves, especially in regards to education, the more we are limiting the learning experience of all students.

“According to a 2016 Knight Foundation survey, 78 percent of college students reported they favor an open learning environment that includes offensive views.” [X]

Now, obviously, there is a difference between free speech and threatening speech. You still can’t go up as a guest speaker at a college and spout threatening or ill-intended words to the crowd. But, free speech (even speech that may be seen as homophobic, bigoted, etc.) can be a gateway to an open conversation broaching many serious issues.

Things outside of our normal thinking process stimulate the brain. It creates debate, questioning, challenges– and isn’t that really the goal of higher education?

Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protections as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When we grant the government the power to suppress controversial ideas, we are all subject to censorship by the state. [X]

Change does not happen when you only see the same things.

Even things such as banned books throughout the years pose a threat to education.