Students’ Views on Free Speech at The College

Different people. Different backgrounds. Different views.

In an environment, like that of a college campus, where opinions on issues vary like clothes in a store, it seems it may be hard for students to speak openly and comfortably about what they believe.  

A recent article posted by The New York Times discovered that, to some, free speech on college campuses seems to be under attack as students feel increasingly stifled when it comes to free speech on campus. This doesn’t seem to be the case at The College of Charleston.

“The people who I mostly speak to on a daily basis are all ranging in different thoughts,” said marine biology major Brittany Graham. “But they’re all okay with voicing those thoughts.”

Asia McCormick has concluded somewhat of the same thing.

“I think it’s half and half,” said McCormick. “I think some people on campus aren’t as open when speaking about their beliefs because they’re afraid to be judged.”

Although it may be hard for some students to speak up on their own all the time, when it comes to tackling controversial topics as a community studio arts major, Kathaleena Chhien, feels that some campus involvement provide students the opportunity to bring awareness and discuss these issues.

“There are clubs on campus that I think successfully tackle very controversial issues,” said Chienn, “ Like BSU, Prism and human rights alliance, but I don’t think they’re as promoted as other less controversial clubs on campus.”

But controversial topics don’t just come up outside of the classroom, many actually arise in the classroom.

Although some students find discussing these topics in the classroom to be uncomfortable, many students find them very necessary in an educational environment.

“It challenges people’s ideas and opens them up to new ideas in the World,” said McCormick.

Graham agrees. “I firmly believe being uncomfortable is an important part of your education,” she said.“Where there’s discomfort theres learning and where theres learning there’s progression.”

When it comes to free speech on college campuses, progression is important and in and outside of the classroom it seems CofCs students realize it’s necessity. Instead of feeling stifled, students on campus have taken action, to voice their opinions and bring awareness to issues that matter to them the most.


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