Should Colleges Regulate or Ban Speech Term Paper

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¶ … free speech on college campuses. The writer argues that free speech should never be banned or regulated as it is a protected right under the United States constitution. There were four sources used to complete this paper.

Free speech is protected in America by the very first amendment of the United States constitution; however that amendment has been tested thousands if not hundreds of thousands of time since the nation's birth. Free speech is a concept that has been taken to court in the effort to ban speech that others may find offensive, protect others from racially motivated speeches, stop speech that might be perceived as dangerous or inciting and many other reasons. While most people have had things said to and around them that they found unpleasant or hurtful the constitutional right to that free speech must be protected.

Free speech in the school setting has recently become a hotbed of debate in light of the effort to keep schools from allowing racially motivated or otherwise non-compliant types of speeches to occur.

While speech that is hurtful or unpopular may be unpleasant to hear the constitution must protect the right for it to be said. If we as a people start to ban speech in this country we will begin a slippery slope that could end up in a situation reminiscent of what started the Holocaust.

America's base is founded in the ability to be free in thought and speech as long as we do not physically or legally harm anyone. The importance of protecting those rights cannot be underscored enough. Free speech always has been and must remain one of our most basic rights.

Trying to ban or regulate speech on America's college campuses will not only defy the constitutionally protected rights of those students it will also prevent them from growth as they learn to navigate their way through society.

The Subjectivity of it All

One of the most compelling reasons that speech on college campuses should remain unregulated and not banned can be seen in the early 1990's case of Eden Jacobowitz. In this case Jacobowitz was trying to complete an English paper when approximately a dozen college females in the room above him began to stomp and shout. After about 20 minutes of the noise Jacobowitz shouted at them to stop and referred to the group as water buffalo (Hinds, 1993).

The group immediately filed a formal complaint with the school alleging that when he called them water buffalo he was using a racial epitaph which was forbidden in the college by laws. Jacobowitz alleged he did not mean it as a racial slur and eventually the punishment he was assigned was lifted, but he later sued the school for mental and emotional distress in its handling of the situation.

This is a classic case of why college speech should not be banned or regulated.

The first problem with this case was the fact that the college immediately believed the term water buffalo was racially motivated though it has never been used or known to be a racial slur in the past. In fact Jacobowitz maintained that the name was one commonly used in his heritage to gently chide another (Hinds, 1993).

This brings the possibility to the table that it was Jacobowitz who was being punished for his racial or ethnic background by being punished for the use of the term.

The weight of having to decipher each perceived slur by every person who has a complaint filed against them is too time consuming to consider. In addition college students for the most part are adults and as adults they are protected by the entire constitution which includes freedom of speech (Hinds, 1993).

In addition there is a problem when colleges try to regulate free speech as was seen on the same campus later when angry Black students tossed out all of the college newspaper copies on campus because it held a column they did not agree with from a racial standpoint. Where does one draw the line? Is it only okay to punish a perceived insult against Blacks but not okay to punish a perceived insult against Whites by throwing out the newspapers?

In an earlier case another man was criminally charged for speaking his mind when he stood on a street in New Hampshire an declared those not belonging to the same religious faith as he did… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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Should Colleges Regulate or Ban Speech.  (2007, May 9).  Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/colleges-regulate-ban-speech/49271

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