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Restricting Free Speech on College Campuses | Reagan.com

January 08, 2019
PRIVACY AND FREEDOM

Restricting Free Speech on College Campuses | Reagan.com

College campuses have long been considered beacons of the free exchange of ideas. Universities have served as the backdrops of famous protests and riots, particularly in the 1960s, and have been the sites for the birth of countless movements, ideas, and developments that have shaped our country in the last half-century. However, while colleges are considered safe havens for free thinkers, that rule has often been applied more so to liberal thinking, with increasing efforts at restricting free speech on college campuses that runs counter to more left-leaning ideals.  

In our highly politicized world, college campuses have come front and center in the fight over free speech. In recent months, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s speech at Berkeley led to a sharp uprising from students, as did author Charles Murrary’s address at Middlebury College. Such incidents, and many others, have led to security issues and campus tensions that continued long after the respects events wrapped up. The dustups that have followed so many conservative speakers onto college campuses have doubtlessly caused many other right-leaning speakers to think twice about visiting a college campus.

Restricting free speech on college campuses isn’t an issue that only affects young adults. In just a few short years, these students will be out in the working world, where they will need to be equipped with the skills to find common ground with those with whom they have differing views. Without that ability, future workplaces and other organizations will be laden with conflict. Restricting free speech on college campuses is giving students a false sense of reality, as they will surely encounter—and need to work alongside—those whose political or personal views are in opposition to their own.

As long as messages are free of violence or hate speech, restricting free speech on college campuses provides a disservice to young people, as well as to future students and members of the public—who all deserve to benefit from the rewards of free thinking. In order for college campuses to truly live up to their missions as places where young people can grow and learn from and with one another, that circle needs to include people of all views.

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