A voice heard the correct way


I am not a confrontational person by any means. However, I will stand up for what I believe in without a blink of an eye 100 percent of the time.

The world we live in is filled with people who are more passionate than ever before. There are movements across the country striving to make a difference in the world, and without our freedom of speech, this would not be possible.

Universities around the country have helped shape social change because students saw an issue, exercised their freedom of speech, and used their voices to make a change.

Being a passionate generation also means that when our arguments are counteracted, some feel as though they are being targeted in a way, or their feelings get hurt. Blame it on the “snowflake” generation if you will, but we should not be categorized solely upon some people’s way of thinking.

I have found in my short time as a college student that certain uses of freedom of speech are being misused. By misused, I mean that we are not using our voices in a way that facilitates them being heard. When there are religious groups who visit the university and speak around campus, I find that there are students who yell and hold up signs saying vulgar things. From an outside stance, I can see both sides of this situation. I see the Consuming Fire Fellowship group, who have a history of being more extreme, and the Crossgate Baptist Church. Both are well aware of their rights, yet they use their rights in different ways.

However, I also see students spit on people just because they do not agree with them. In no way does this accomplish anything. If you want to make a difference in this world, violence and disrespect are never the answer. You need to use logic and reason as well as communication skills to clearly state why you believe what you believe. You must also be open to hear counterarguments to further educate yourself on the topic at hand to make your side stronger.

College should be the best place for our right of freedom of speech to be put into effect. There are people from around the world with different points of view in the same classroom as us, and we should be able to have open, intelligent discussions without emotions being a hinderance. Whether it be students or faculty, everyone has, at one time or another, shared their point of view in some way. College is where you should listen to various points of view and create your own stance in this world. You are your own individual person, and you have the opportunity to create your own name for yourself. Options are not limited to vile behavior and rioting over disagreements. We can discuss, listen or just walk away.

Freedom of speech should not be ignored due to fear of controversy or stepping out of your comfort zones. We have the opportunity to live in a country where freedom of speech is available and encouraged. The only improvement we need to make is how we express our opinions. There is a way to intelligently communicate how you feel without saying, “Oh well, you’re just stupid.” Listen to what the other person has to say and reply with, “Yes, I understand what you’re saying, but have you ever thought about this?”

Instead of being the “snowflake generation” that is seen as young people who get offended by everything, I challenge you to make a name for this generation as young people who can make their opinions known in a clear, intelligent manner. While we all have the freedom of speech, we also have the freedom to remain unoffended by an opposing view. What I believe we should do is be educated and informed before we scream loudly.

Why is free speech important?

“Free speech is important because we all need to speak up and give our opinions or else we make decisions based solely on one opinion or one group of opinions, and there’s a lot of different world views in the world.”

Heather Poole
Junior, Business Management

“I feel like free speech is important because if we were not allowed free speech, then we would be part of more a dictatorship in the country, and I feel like everyone has the right to feel the way they want to feel about anything.”

Hannah Gonzales
Junior, Criminal Justice

“I believe it is important because communication is an important aspect of our lives, and the level of freedom to communicate has a significant impact on our society and on the strengths of our democraticy.”

Brice Larson
Junior, Special Education

“One of the basic things is it allows the truth to the surface, and since it brings the voice of many people, it directly or indirectly cuts off violence, corruptions and many other issues.”

Swastika Paudel
Sophomore, Nursing

“It’s an American tradition. Without free speech, we wouldn’t be America. It’s one of the foundational values that defines who we are. Without it, we wouldn’t be Americans.”

Christian Scherer
Junior, Biological Sciences