Freedom of speech on campus: Respect others and know who you’re representing

Muse

S

North Wind Staff

Silencing someone would result in a violation against their First Amendment right and freedom of speech. But it’s important that these people—activists, protestors or whoever they might be—remain respectful to others and their property.

For an example, you may have seen a guy on campus outside of the library, preaching and yelling out verses from the Bible. 

It’s important to remind ourselves that this is acceptable, even if some of us may disagree with what’s being preached, so long as he, and others that may do this in the future, is being respectful. This includes refraining from talking to those or following those around who have expressed they do not want to talk, are in a hurry or perhaps just simply are not interested in conversing.

As a member of a church—in this particular case—the man, or other people that this may include in the future, must be aware they are representing the faith of that particular church, whether that’s their intention or not. When someone sees someone like this, it’s hard to see past that not all of those in that faith are like that. So some of the responsibility falls back on us to make sure we don’t see one person as representing all, but it’s also important that the presenter must rest their case respectfully.

Another example would be a climate activist or group coming to campus to share their thoughts on the matter and spread the word to reach more people who may be unaware of recent news.

Sometimes in Jamrich, there are booths or table displays that face and line up the hallway. This is more than acceptable and, in fact, should be encouraged. This is college, a place for discovery and where we’re supposed to learn new things. But again, it crosses a line and the freedom is abused when there’s disrespect. So it’s important to be aware of these things.

In other words, when boiling things down, this freedom comes with a responsibility; you have to have mutual respect between those of differing views while also being aware that whatever you are trying to talk about also represents a larger group of people.