Thursday, October 21, 2021 Latest PDF issue  |  Give to the Voice  |  Search


Both sides in free speech debate have merit

September 19, 2019

Free speech on campus is at times limited by campus policies.

During the first week of the 2019 fall semester, freshman Sofie Salmon, a meat animal science major, took to campus to deliver her message of free speech, while also informing students about a club she hopes to turn into a student organization. Salmon used a beach ball to have students sign, and spoke to them about their first amendment rights.

Salmon was asked to leave by a member of campus administrator, however Salmon expressed disappointment that she couldn’t practice free speech on campus without following a lengthy laid out policy that exists under a state statute, an administrative policy and in the University Centers’ Policy and Procedures Manual.

It seems freedom of speech is permitted within specific guidelines laid out by the university. One could argue that the second a policy is put in place to tell someone where they can practice free speech, they have potentially violated the First Amendment.

However, universities are in place for students to come and receive an education. If students could gather wherever they want at any time and have unorganized events on campus, it may detract from students who want to reserve the space and have an organized event.

The Student Voice understands both sides of the argument. Salmon is correct that she has the right to practice her free speech on public property, and the university is correct that there needs to be some organization in place for those wish- ing to have a presence on campus.