Free Speech Article Analysis "Speech Codes Threaten Free Speech On College Campuses"

756 words - 3 pages

As our blueprint for individual freedom and the assurance of an opensociety, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, press,religion, assembly and petition. Generally speaking, most peoplebelieve in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should coverflag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising,hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various formsof symbolic speech. Many would agree to limit some forms of freeexpression.I chose to analyze an article (by Alan Charles Kors) on free speech,discussing the first amendment, for speech codes on college campuses. Irecently worked for a college for three years as a Financial AidAssistant, aiding families in the federal loan and institutionalapplication process. The following article analysis not only relates towhat I got to experience in the collegiate environment, it alsoreinforces actual rights, andthe struggle for liberty andequality.When the U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, it did notcontain the indispensable freedoms now delineated in the Bill of Rights,because many of the Framers viewed their addition as unnecessary.However, after spirited debate, the Bill of Rights was adopted. Thefirst freedoms guaranteed in this historic document were articulated inthe 45 words written by James Madison that we have come to know as theFirst Amendment.The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting anestablishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; orabridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of thepeople peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for aredress of grievances". The First Amendment was established because atAmerica's inauguration, citizens demanded a promise of their basicfreedoms.Almost all colleges and universities, for example,? have "harassment"policies that prohibit selective "verbal behavior" or "verbal conduct",but almost none has the honesty to call these "speech codes" (Kors, 1).From college to college and university to university, the variations ofthese "policies" within these set codes are astonishing. For example,Colby prohibits speech that causes loss of "self-esteem", the Universityof Connecticut prohibits "inconsiderate jokes", "stereotyping", and even"inappropriately directed laughter". The University of Maryland provesthat expression is extended far beyond the verbal; they prohibit"gestures...that are expressive of an idea, opinion, or emotion,"including "sexual looks such as leering and ogling with suggestiveovertones; licking lips or teeth; holding or eating...

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