It is sad to say that many students and teachers abuse their right to free speech using it to offend, discriminate or hurt others. In addition, they may spread false things about other individuals or groups. However, such use of one’s right to freedom of speech contradicts basic notions which support this fragile harmony among people in our diversified reality. Therefore, the academic setting should have limits of free speech allowed in it; otherwise, there will be numerous problems. Often, the participants of the educational process come from the most varied cultures and backgrounds. This may lead to the most serious problems in their relationships which, in turn, may destruct them from the educational process and thus, affect the very purpose of the person’s participation in it. Therefore, the importance is great in establishing reasonable limits of free speech on campus which are based on due respect to every participant of the education process, reasonableness, and rationality.
Free speech in an academic setting
Speaking about the proper limits of free speech in an academic setting, it should be stated that there must be some free speech rules developed and accepted in every educational establishment. First, every person is to understand that offensive speech is by no means allowed on campus. It causes conflicts and deprives the participants of the educational process of their joy and courage in accomplishing their academic tasks (Weinstein 1999). For that reason, the set of rules concerning the free speech limits should feature such important categories as the necessity to respect cultural, national, political, and religious peculiarities of every student and teacher, the need to respect the peculiarities of each person’s perception of the world and the importance to respect all individual’s personal beliefs and principles (Bunker 2001). In addition, this set should include the restriction on any speech that stimulates hatred or violence among any people participating in the educational process. Overall, hate speech is something that free speech on campus must never be about.
Hate speech which should have nothing in common with free speech is any hurtful or abusive speech that causes violence and hatred among people on the reason of their ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, religious beliefs, political preferences, and any other personal world perception peculiarities (Weinstein 1999). Such speech only leads to damage and pain; it has no connection with the basic human values of respect, tolerance, and liberality. Regarding hurt speech, there is not even use to talk about the basic human right of freedom of speech and its violation by banning this sort of abusive speech. Moreover, educational establishments are the places where students are trained to become a part of the world’s society. In case the notion of free speech on campus will be misinterpreted and evil ones will use their free speech policy to hurt others, what sad consequences this will lead to? Initially, this will be the hurt feelings, oppression, and violence among the students, but further on, who knows what may happen. How did it happen that the saddest conflicts in the history of humanity started? What hate speech has in common with such evil as fascism, terrorism, and many more? The answers are evident.
In conclusion, free speech on campus should, by all means, reflect due respect among all the participants of the educational process. Speech is what makes a human being different from animals, what elevates a human being to the high position of the apex of all creation. Using speech to offend the living being equal to you has nothing in common with the elevated notion of the basic human right of freedom of speech.
Bunker, M. D. (2001). Critiquing Free Speech: First Amendment Theory and the Challenge of Interdisciplinarity. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Web.
Weinstein, J. (1999). Hate Speech, Pornography, and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Web.