Should Public Colleges and Universities Have Policies Prohibiting hate

ShouldPublic Colleges and Universities Have Policies Prohibiting hatespeech when hate speech is protected by the first amendment?

TheFirst Amendment is one of the vital aspects of the constitution as itguarantees freedom of speech. Many Americans view the freedom ofspeech as an essential characteristic of nationalism. Universitiesand colleges in the United States are a hub of sharing free ideas andknowledge. However, in the recent past, there has been increase inphysical, verbal, and political attacks on minority groups(Silversten 1). Universities have attempted to curb hate speech byenacting speech regulations, which in most cases are based onpersonal views in regard social matters. Opponents of free speechcodes argue that limiting people’s speech does not solve the socialproblems. However, hate speech should not be allowed in campuses asan instrument of inciting violence. Although some universities haveimplemented hate speech codes, Universities should advocate forfreedom of speech as it enhances sharing of knowledge, truth seeking,and may result in censorship.

Hatespeech cause physical and emotional harm to its victims as they feelhated and humiliated (Delgado 91). As a result, Universities have theright to create a climate of civility and an educational environmentwhere students can learn and express their opinion. However, Campuseshave an objective of instilling values of decency, respect, andtolerance toward other people’s beliefs and practices. Speech codesare a manifestation of Universities’ support for equality anddignity of other people. Universities create and implement hatespeech codes to protect individuals from detrimental speech andfacilitate freedom of expression (Freire 70). Management of higherlearning institutions can create codes that balance freedom of speechand public safety. Hate speech does not relate to public interestand pursuit of knowledge and truth, hence should not be allowed ininstitutions (Tsesis 672). Racist hate speech creates an unreceptivelearning environment for minority students who remain silent in fearof expression opinion. This devalues the role of institutions ascenters of knowledge acquisition as minority students are unable toseek clarification, ask questions or debate on controversial issues.Hate speech codes prevents insults and verbal insults to minoritystudents, hence creating an ample learning environment for studentsfrom diverse backgrounds.

Universitiesand Campuses should not have policies prohibiting hate speech becausethey violate the students’ constitutional freedom of speech. Thegoal of higher education is to engage students in dialogue andknowledge acquisition. Students should be granted the freedom topropose new ideas, challenge each other, and have dialogue on socialissues affecting the nation. Most universities have grouped personalopinions against set values as hate speech this undermines students’right to critically access and ask questions on issues they do notunderstand. Institutions of higher learning are repositories of truthand knowledge, hence should value open dialogue and discussions.Freedom of speech enhances tolerance and diversity in idea generation(Ma 700). Institutions of higher learning are social institutionsthat should be open to both unpopular and standard opinions. Debatingon unpopular or controversial issues opens up students’ minds tounderstand beliefs from diverse background, creating cohesion andunderstanding among students.

Hatespeech enhance truth seeking and sharing of knowledge though freeexchange of information and idea, Differences in opinion and beliefsshould be addressed by seeking common grounds. Institutions of higherlearning are the last place where speech is regulates as they aremeant for free and uncompromised exchange of ideas (Helmers 35).Regulatory speech codes decrease generation of new ideas as studentsare compelled to adhere to majoritarian viewpoints. Challenging thestatus quo, reevaluation and rethinking of widely acceptedinformation is deemed as rebellion (Bellacosa 10). When students areallowed to express their views on people and issues, they learn theeffects of negative talk on others, and seek explanation andunderstanding. Hate speech policies prevent students from embracingand diversity and mold a society full of egalitarian citizens. Speechcodes cannot control people’s perceptions on issues, hence studentsshould be allowed to seek clarification on ideologies they findoffensive. Policies should be enacted to prevent violence andincitement but allow students to seek clarification on what they findinappropriate. This will create a secure studying environment whileopening forums for dialogue, opinion and truth seeking.

Speechcode policies in universities result in censorship and finallytotalitarism. Students are not allowed to freely express theiropinion and views on certain issues but are forced to conform to theset regulations (Kaniklidis 2). This creates a rebellious societythat seeks to resolve its issues through violence instead ofdialogue. Censorship on student publications, speech and writinginhibits freedom of expression and creates an intimidatingenvironment. As a result, students fail to ask questions especiallyon political, racial, social and religious issues for fear ofvictimizations. Expression of opinion is limited as institutionsjudge some sentiments as immoral, seditious or unpatriotic. Universities expel or suspend students for expressing their views oncontroversial issues because they do not conform to set social norms.This hinders the development of critical and creative skills becauseof intimidation. Students prohibited from expressing opinions, areunable to respond to those thoughts later in life. Students shouldnot be denied the right to express their views when they seem tocontradict with the University beliefs (Sarabyn172). To find truth inmatter, students should be allowed to ask questions, and givesuggestions even on issues that are deemed unspeakable. However,attempts to express opinions, philosophies and seek truth arehindered by censorship on speech on what is perceived ascontroversial.

Inconclusion, policies prohibiting hate speech in universities andcolleges should be abolished because they deny students the freedomof expression and knowledge acquisition. Students should be allowedto freely share and discuss their thoughts on social issues.Restricting communication does not solve problems and may result inphysical and emotional on the affected minority groups. To create asociety where all people are safe and equal, institutions shouldallow free expression of theories and believes on controversialissues. Prohibiting students to express their opinions on issues doesnot erase the feelings which might later be expressed in other ways.Hate on minority groups is not stopped through speech codes butthough dialogue. Students in institutions with stringent hate speechcodes never learn how to solve issues through critical thinking andcommunications. As a result, universities will breed a future societythat does not practice tolerance. Hate on minority groups can only besolved through robust counter active speech and not hate speechcodes. Therefore, Institutions should create an ample ground forlearning, inquisition and truth seeking to create a friendly societyfor the future.


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HelmersStephanie. “Free Speech and Campus Hate Speech Codes.” Journalof the Indiana University Student Personal Association,(1997): pp. 35-46

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Silversten,Mathew. “What’s next for Wayne Dick? The Next Phase of the Debateover College Hate Speech Codes.” OhioState Law Journal.61 (2000): pp. 1-31

Tsesi,Alexander. “Burning Crosses on Campus: University Hate SpeechCodes.” ConnecticutLaw Review,43.2 (2010): pp. 617-672.