The Case For Freedom of Speech

4 mins read

By Sebastian Godinez

Welcome back to Drew. It’s sure to be another great year in the forest. And to be sure, that means another great year for the Acorn. It’s been one crazy election season. We’ve had a strong challenge to Hillary Clinton on her left in the form of Bernie Sanders. Trump has been criticized again and again for what he says. He tests the limit on what might be called “acceptable speech.” And yet that is the exact subject for this editorial and a few more.

Americans by and large take the right of free speech for granted. We can say, with few exceptions, pretty much whatever comes to mind. This had led to the creation of things like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We freely express our opinion on issues. From what we think about the latest movie to what our true feelings are about the political campaigns. Now, are people always responsible for what they say online? Absolutely not. Just look to innumerable number of trolls and others who attack people over the internet simply because they disagree with them or those people are representative of a cause they disagree with. Just look to the horrible attack on Leslie Jones, led by a right wing troll. But just because we have these trolls online does not mean that we should restrict people’s rights to free speech.

Another issue that comes to this editorialists’ mind is colleges’ attempts to restrict students’ rights. Now, many of you, when you read this will be confused. After all, colleges have long been seen as the bastion of freedom of speech. It is supposed to be where you can relatively freely express your opinion. And yet, many colleges have established what has become called “safe zones,” where trigger words and words perceived to be aggressions or microaggressions are not allowed. Certain colleges, like the University of New Hampshire, take it one step further, in that they are to trying to restrict some words that are not considered offensive. Some of the words they allegedly take issue with are “American” and “Mothering”. (If you do not, believe this to be true, Google it, it is worth it). While I respect that the ultimate goal of these restrictions is an attempt to create a welcoming environment for its students, it creates burdens on other students’ right to say what they want.

Which is why I laud the University of Chicago. The university announced, in a letter to new students, faculty, and staff, that there will be no “safe spaces” and teachers will not restrict or notify students when they use words that might be considered “trigger words”. It confuses this editor to no end as to why such restrictions are allowed or even considered acceptable if colleges and universities are to be considered the bastions of free speech. Anyway, this is part one of probably three editorials about the freedom speech. Look forward to part 2.

Sebastian is a Junior Political Science Major

Graphic By: Anonymous

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