Is Free Expression Controversial?
IU’s beautiful Dunn Meadow is a magnet for protests, rallies, and debatable controversial speakers to frequent. IU embraces diversity and celebrates individuality within its community; however, the college culture pulls in visitors determined to protest and argue the lifestyle of many of IU’s students. So where is the fine line drawn between the protection of IU’s community and the preservation of free speech?
In my personal experience, IU students manage quite well by paying little to no attention to the more hateful speakers that tend to present themselves on Dunn Meadow and near the Student Union. The more offensive speakers tend to project detestable speeches in regard to sexuality, religion, drinking, and drugs. All too often, these same speakers will engage in shaming women who they believe are participating in distasteful or unholy behavior. If we intentionally ignore these speakers by not gathering around and providing them an audience, students can move along without being offended by what may otherwise be interpreted as an offensive topic. Speakers tend to lash out only when given an audience to provoke.
Like all Indiana public universities, IU applies the rights of individuals to engage in protected First -Amendment speech and expressive activity with a responsibility to protect public health, safety, and welfare. IU encourages the free and civil exchange of ideas and academic freedom. As a public university subject to the requirements of the First Amendment, IU cannot limit speakers to the university solely on the basis of their points of view or beliefs. Both are essential to promote free and open expression. The university stands by this notion of free speech.
IU, like most colleges, wants students to “seek knowledge, debate ideas, and form opinions;” which naturally coincide with the freedom to express one’s views. It is the right of the speaker to speak as long as it does not interfere with the enjoyment and rights of others on campus. For the most part, it is the opinion of many students this has been adhered to. IU is a peaceful, yet lively campus. Read more about IU’s free speech policy.
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