College in America – A place of unrivaled independent thought and haven for those who wish to better themselves through higher learning – or is it? Unfortunately, our impression of college, especially those of naive high school students, is far from its actual reality. When entering college, we expect to embark on the journey of self-enlightenment and expression known as education, on which our forefathers established the opportunity for us to pursue, yet all too often are we met with restrictions on what we thought were the most basic of our rights. Due process, religious liberty, legal equality, and the freedom of speech are continuously being threatened in various attempts to shape students' minds in a way that will benefit interests of others, instead of benefiting the students themselves.
This danger to higher thinking can be seen in colleges all across the nation. Take in account the situation at the University of Delaware and its invasive orientation program. In a blatant attempt to transform students' views into their own accepted way of thinking, the University of Delaware ran a mandatory orientation program which required students to share intimate opinions with others, taking away a constitutional right of privacy and humiliating those who did not comply with the views of the university. Separation took place with no middle ground or opportunity for intellectual conversation on their beliefs, painting the university with the colors of a totalitarian institute with a goal to indoctrinate young minds, rather than a college in America, highly praised as a symbol of freedom and liberty.
Not only does this endanger academia, but also imperils America as a whole. Free speech, among our other liberties, provides a means in which the exchange of ideas and knowledge can take place, and is the cornerstone on which America stands. If colleges, the catalysts in which young teens become grown and responsible citizens, stifle this exchange through codes and censorship, how can these citizens contribute to the liberal foundation of America?
Hayden Barnes from Valdosta State University exercised his right to speak his mind against Valdosta's plans to build a $40 million dollar garage by attempting to raise awareness about its necessity and possible alternatives. In this case, Hayden Barnes' civil liberties were violated simply because the University's president disagreed with Hayden's viewpoints, seeing him as a threat to his parking garage project. Instead of allowing Hayden to open up discussion about Valdosta's garage, immediate expulsion took place. Without assistance from FIRE, Hayden's case would have shown Valdosta's students that to dissent from the University's viewpoint is to face expulsion, suppressing the desire to share opinions in fear that they would not be judged on their merit, but on how closely they resemble the opinions of the University.
In both cases of Valdosta and Delaware, the Constitution was clearly ignored in favor of...