Chalk Talks: The Importance of Free Speech on Public Campuses and the Restriction of Free Speech on University Campuses Due to Safety Concerns

By Combs, LaQuasha | Journal of Law and Education, Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Chalk Talks: The Importance of Free Speech on Public Campuses and the Restriction of Free Speech on University Campuses Due to Safety Concerns


Combs, LaQuasha, Journal of Law and Education


I. INTRODUCTION

The exchange of ideas is a core value of America's colleges and universities, making freedom of speech on college campuses essential to achieving that goal. In fact, courts and legislatures have stressed the importance of protecting free speech on university campuses.1

Courts have demonstrated their commitment to campus free speech by routinely allowing challenges to speech codes enacted by colleges and universities as a violation of students' First Amendment rights. "Speech Codes" refer to "any university regulation or policy that prohibits speech that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large."2 However, today's hostile political climate and increasing polarization have threatened students' free speech rights and have forced legislatures and courts to reexamine the issue of speech on public college and university campuses.3

Due to violent outbursts during the speeches of controversial conservative speakers and protest on college and university campuses across the United States, many school administrators have opted to either postpone or cancel controversial speakers for alleged safety concerns. In particular, the University of California, Berkley, which has had a longstanding history of free speech protest, has recently canceled several controversial speakers due to threats of violence and actual violence.4 This restriction by school administrators has left universities subject to law suit.5 Students have alleged that the cancellation of controversial speakers is a constitutional violation of First Amendment rights.6

With the growing hostile political climate, there is an increased need for tolerance of varying viewpoints, especially in the educational setting. This article will analyze the issue of free speech on American campuses. Section II will examine what restrictions are ju_72.tified under the First Amendment and whether the acts of university administrators fall within those boundaries. Then Section III will discuss the effects of recent restriction on campus speech by administers. Lastly, Section IV will provide some possible alternatives for school administrators, to the cancellation of controversial speeches.

II. ARE THE CANCELLATIONS OF CONTROVERSIAL GUEST SPEAKERS DUE TO SAFETY CONCERNS JUSTIFIED UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT?

As expected, there are varying viewpoints on whether the cancellations of controversial speakers are ju_72.tified and permitted under the First Amendment. Those who hope to host controversial guests argue that school officials are making content-based restrictions, which aren't permitted by the First Amendment, and _72.tifling speech. On the other hand, school officials argue that they must protect student safety and that these are time, place, and manner restrictions, which are permitted under the First Amendment.7

The mere fact a speech is offensive does not warrant its restriction.8 If a particular speech could be restricted for the mere fact that it was seen as offensive, the government (or in this instance, public universities) would be acting as a censor, which is strictly limited by the First Amendment. The Constitution does not allow the government to decide which types of generally protected speech are offensive enough to require protection.9

A restriction on speech based on the content of the speech is presumed invalid by the courts.10 Content-based restrictions refer to restrictions based on the "topic discussed or the idea or message expressed."11 "The rationale of the general prohibition against contentbased regulations of speech is that content discrimination raises the specter that the government may effectively drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace."12 Similarly, speech may not be restricted based on viewpoint.13

However, the right to free speech is not absolute. "The First Amendment does not guarantee the right to communicate one's view at all times and places or in any manner that may be desired. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Chalk Talks: The Importance of Free Speech on Public Campuses and the Restriction of Free Speech on University Campuses Due to Safety Concerns
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.