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In the article Fighting Words 101, Jeff Chu questions wither legislators are the right people to step into action legislating against academic freedom of speech within college campuses. Chu explains the idea of bills created by professor Bob Hagedorn and David Horowitz which are to protect both student and teachers right to express personal views by freedom of speech. Chu then adds how legislators to step into action by using people such as Ward Churchill, after a controversial speech, as an example of showing how universities are going too far and losing touch with the community. Further more Chu explains how controversial speeches coming from professors and students is an exercise of freedom of speech, therefore concludes that it should be up to the universities, rather than the legislators to step in place to decide wither controversial speeches and discussions are appropriate for their college campus.
I disagree with the idea that legislators should step into action deciding whatstudents and teachers can say within their college campus. I think its their given right to exercise their freedom of speech to an extent that is appropriate for others to hear. I think it is the colleges responsibility to decide what is appropriate and what is not, because college is a school for adults who are capable of choosing what to hear and not to hear as an individual. I strongly believe that student and teacher’s academic freedom should be protected because removing opposing opinions and criticism teaches nothing to the students. The idea of having the fear to speak out an individuals opinion causes the college community become a more biased society towards one side. If legislative took position to control what is appropriate on college campus, then it takes the tradition of what college life is all about, which is a student’s ability to choose their paths and learn while perusing them. Two years ago I had a temporary long term substitute who was fired from hisprevious job as a teacher at another school for criticizing president George Bush to his students during a debated topic. During class we would have political debates relating to the war in Iraq and the president. The class would be split up in two teams taking turns on each side of the debate disregarding our personal positions. Every student hated being on sides they are personally against but ironically forgot about it during the intense debate. We would struggle for questions and answers no matter what side we are debating on, but the point is that I noticed everyone including myself participated. At first I hated the fact I was on the side for the war, but it eventually got me thinking as if I were standing in the President’s shoes. The idea caused me to learn more points on why is the war still going on today and learn each opposing sides views on the war. Just imagining discussing one view on the war thats going on today, I would completely learn nothing from the opposing side.
The right most people widely recognize in America is the right to freedom of speech. In this case, the bill of academic rights follow through from what people has stand for many years. The idea of having to legislate free speech on college campusesdegrades the students capabilities of learning more from others. No matter how insulting the comment may be to others, it will always teach us what kind of person the commenter is. In this case, when it comes to statements and speeches relating to political stand point,it should be the responsibility of the student or teacher to choose wither to listen to it or not. I think legislators should leave it up to the universities to decide what’s appropriate and what’s not because as a college society, everyone is viewed as an adult who learns something new everyday.
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