Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | June 1, 2015

Picoblog Question – 2015 – Post #33

Picoblog Question – 2015 – Post #33

Many universities and colleges are implementing free speech zones on their campuses. Their purpose is to limit to small designated areas where opinions may be expressed. Is this practice constitutional?

My two cents, but please share yours:

No. Universities and colleges are not allowed to interfere with “the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”. (Bill of Rights, Amendment I) The entire U.S. is a free speech zone.



  1. Liberals are all for free speech – as long as your speech supports their ideas. And most college and university professors are liberals.

    • Hi David, This goes to the definitional differences between liberals and progressives. Liberals support the U.S. Constitution and advocate strongly for free speech. Progressives, who are included with liberals in the one-dimensional model, prefer to have government control of the property and citizens. Progressives do not favor the Constitution, claiming it does not give the government sufficient control over the population. This control includes limiting freedom of speech. This is why I favor the two-dimensional model that categorizes progressives as totalitarians (low-freedom centrists) rather than as far left liberals. Cheers, Ashley

  2. This seems rather bizarre to me. Free speech is an important element of our democracy. The curbing on free speech and erosion of transparency should concern all citizens.

    That said, Americans have a strange take on free speech, as if somehow the right to say whatever you want means one is excused for being hateful and vile. Oooh, you hit a hot button with this one!

    • Free speech is definitely a hot-button issue, D. Wallace. 🙂 I’ve observed a significant number of Americans, on both ends of the political spectrum, define hate-speech as any point of view that differs from their own, and then they advocate for silencing that opposing point of view. This silencing troubles me greatly. My own approach is to openly and respectfully condemn any hateful comments but to also state strongly my support for the speaker’s right to say anything, even if it is hateful. Cheers, Ashley

      • I was trying to say what you just said. It’s a touchy subject, I know. I have the privilege of being part of the majority most of the time, so I’ve rarely been the target of hate speech. I try to put myself in the shoes of others though. How would I feel if someone was yelling slurs at my five year old at the park, or terrifying my elderly parents? Where is the line where free speech crosses into abuse or threat? Is there a line? Just rambling here, Ashley. It sure is fodder for debate.

      • Hi D. Wallace, The line is crossed when the speaker issuing a threat takes physical action toward carrying out that threat. The Constitution and the laws passed by Congress cover these violations quite thoroughly. When an individual is subjected to verbal abuse, their best course of action is to exercise, respectfully, their own right to free speech through verbal or written debate. Bad speech is overcome by lots and lots of good speech. Cheers, Ashley

  3. Shouldn’t universities be places where free speech is encouraged, challenging accepted notions and working constructively to solve problems? This seems like a very odd thing.

    • You are so right, Linda! Universities and colleges should be a place to explore and try on all sorts of opposing ideas, to gracefully see if any of them fit, or not. And being insulated from opposing points of view makes students ill-prepared to handle life in the real world. Cheers, Ashley

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