Campus Speech Codes - Jack Brinck Danison Robinson WRIT 140...

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Jack Brinck 10/31/06 Danison Robinson WRIT 140 Brinck 1 Campus Speech Codes Jim Gilchrist, the head of the Minutemen Project, an armed organization that patrols the Arizona-Mexico border in order to prevent illegal immigration, was invited by a Columbia University Republican group to come and speak. However, once he took the stage, members of the Chicano Caucus and other groups stormed the stage, effectively preventing Gilchrist from speaking (Arenson 1). In related cases, a counselor at Purdue found “Death Nigger” written on her door and a black student at Smith College found a message slipped under her door that read “African Nigger do you want some bananas? Go back to the Jungle” (Lawrence III 461). Many may feel that the message Gilchrist attempted to enunciate (prevent immigration) was as incendiary and indecent as the racist epithets. But Gilchrist’s right of speech ought to have been respected whereas the racist comments should never be tolerated by a college. Gilchrist’s message was part of a larger, legitimate political debate given without the intention to demean its targets, whereas the racist speech was intended to do the opposite. Indeed, restricting legitimate forms of expression, such as Gilchrist’s speech, violates individuals’ right to self-expression, and as a college should never seek to violate its students’ rights, then colleges have a duty to allow the market place of ideas to run its course when speech, however incendiary, is given through a civil protest or demonstration. However, when speech crosses over into fighting words and is solely intended to cause harm to an individual, then colleges have a duty to censor this speech as it does not stimulate free and open discussion but instead damages the individuals’ liberty and freedom of speech, and thus detracts from the goals of higher education.
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Brinck 2 When speech is held in a civil context, no matter the atrociousness of the message, campuses have a duty not to censor it because doing so would harm societal welfare by denying the world more intellectual graduates and unnecessarily restrict individual liberties. Speech should be protected when a party organizes a rally, protest, or some other form of demonstration.
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