Task Force: Freedom of Speech on Campus
You have been hired to join the school board of trustees at your local university. However, a couple of weeks into your position a freedom of speech issue has risen due to students wanting to ban certain speakers from your campus. Your task is to try and address the issue and come up with a solution to accommodate the needs of your students while also considering if your solution is an infringement on freedom of speech.
Why Are We Doing This?
The first amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees citizens the freedom of speech. That means citizens are entitled to express their ideas and opinions without interference or censorship from the government. The issue of enforcing freedom of speech on college campuses has been a topic of discussion in recent years. People argue whether or not freedom of speech should be restricted in some manner to protect the safety of students. Here, we ask you to address a specific circumstance of students protesting to ban certain speakers from campus.
- Before you begin, research information about freedom of speech and its enforcement on college campuses. Try to find some rising controversies and concerns in regards to restricting and/or enforcing this freedom and read about proposed solutions to the issue.
- Then, try to come up with a plan for how you will address the protests for banning certain speakers from the college campus.
- Will it matter what speakers are being protested? Which ones might you consider the banning of and which ones will you not? Why?
- How will you present your ideas to students? Try to draft an email you might write about your decision.
- How will you justify your decision?
- If you decide to ban certain speakers, how will you address the infringement on freedom of speech? If you decide not to ban certain speakers, how will you address the concerns of your students?
- Think through the possible objections about your plan that someone might have.
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan best balances enforcing freedom of speech and takes into account the concerns of your students.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of steps for your plan. Choose a few that you are prepared to defend.
- Try to research freedom of speech issues on college campuses in the past and how it was resolved.