In the United States, the phrase “Freedom of Speech” comes with many controversial opinions that lead to opposition. This particular human right is one of the most popularly discussed topics in the modern community and has many positive and negative attributes. However, the idea of a young adult relaying a message of their own devising threatens the ideas of other individuals in a growing populace. Such a message can perturb the government, corporations, or even universities that students attend, putting their beliefs in jeopardy. Free-speech should be unrestricted on a college campus because it teaches students the fundamentals of life.
The idea of free-speech has been heavily debated over, causing many disputes over how our freedoms have been revoked in multiple ways. It has been observed that “freedom is a precious and fragile achievement, difficult to attain, easy to lose, and, once lost, hard to regain” (“Free Speech on Campus.”). Free-speech teaches the ultimate lesson of responsibility, showing young adults the proper words to use within different crowds. Those who thrive with their own ideas develop a unique mindset and learn how to properly handle the stress of life. Holding an opinion is an important factor in deciding the course a student may take, no matter how repulsive it is to the public (LAWRENCE).
However, facing the opposing view is the most important factor in this learning experience. The arguing side can respond to a student’s comment with violence or protest, overpowering a person’s right to have their own views. Encountering a situation such as this can have a positive impact on a person’s perspective, such as protecting any bystander or currently active protestor from physical or emotional harm. These instances encourage them to learn that their words need to be monitored and carefully selected within any community.
The right to free-speech comes with extensive responsibilities, and failing to meet the expectations you are predicted to uphold requires a sacrifice most students are not yet aware of. Though these words might alarm young adults, the repercussion of abusing free-speech is a necessary part of the learning process. In 2017, a proposal was announced to expel or to suspend those students who, more than once, tampered with the “free expression of others” (“Measure Seeks to Punish Students Who Disrupt Free Speech.”). This contingency is a crucial element in protecting any human right and reminds other students that their actions are to observed with close inspection. Some colleges and universities have adopted free-speech zones to protect the thoughts and opinions of young college idealists who hope to share their ideas (Yudof and Kenneth). Universities such as these hold speech codes and policies, designed to allow the free speech in safe and well regulated areas, so that students can be fully independent and vocal about their judgments (“A National Recommitment to Free Speech on Campus Is Long Overdue.”). It is a secure place for one to express themselves, without the punishment of exerting their freedoms through violent or abusive means. Yet, not all establishments have such places for scholars to practice their freedoms. Simmons College, after a major dispute, was forced to make a decision: would they punish the offenders that violated the campus policies, or face the wrath of an angry public (Bonilla)? Those who violate the policies that were created by their school can be ridiculed, protested against, and may (at times) receive even more severe punishments, all of which can result in a bad reputation that a student may never recover from. This notion instills a wise value in the youth, convincing them to learn that their words may hurt more than they inspire, and that their actions have consequences that they should always prepare for.
Although the consequences of offending someone can be quite high, and a student risks their career or life in their university, their thoughts are important.
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