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The Pacific Index

Freedom of Speech

First Amendment imperative to success as a college student

Maddy Kellas

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At first glance, freedom of speech seems like a no brainer; the right to speak ones mind is a fundamental right.

Freedom of speech is just as important in college as it is at any other time in a person’s life.

One could argue that the first amendment is even more valuable in college because it is an environment that fosters the sharing of new ideas and exploring different ways of thinking.

It would seem that freedom of speech is necessary on a college campus to provide new learning experiences for students.

However, the issue becomes more complicated when one person’s speech is harmful to another person, in the case of hate speech for example.

The response to these cases that many college campuses adopt are speech codes with the goal of making all students feel welcome and comfortable on campus.

I do not condone hate speech of any kind, but I do feel that these well-intended speech codes can in some cases be too restricting; once you start censoring speech, it can be difficult to know when to stop.

In a perfect world, students, and people in general, would be able to discuss opposing views without verbally attacking each other.

Having one’s views challenged is essential for personal growth and opening people’s mind to different ways of thinking.

Even if at the end of the conversation both of the people still disagree on the issue, the experience is valuable in expanding your world views.

While there are no set limitations on speech at Pacific, some students feel restricted in their speech because their views conflict with those of the majority of the people on campus.

If people could find a way to communicate these conflicting ideas in a civilized way, such as not personally attacking a person or group of people, I think that everyone would benefit from the experience.

After all, we are not going to be in college forever and we will eventually be in a situation where someone has a conflicting viewpoint.

Students should use college as a way to practice doing this without the conversation turning into an argument and taking it as an opportunity to learn from one another.

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Speak up, be heard.
Freedom of Speech