Can Free Speech Be Confined To A Certain Place

July 16, 2012

Indiana University Southeast has a "free speech" policy that they say helps to regulate speakers who want to come to campus and express views.  According to Fox News, "US’s code also requires university approval for acts of ‘expressed opinions’ by submitting an application at least five days in advance."  The policy has been in place since 2004.

One of the code’s requirement is that students can only "express opinions" within a free speech zone according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an advocacy organization which defends the free speech and due process rights of college students. They say the policy is unconstitutional and that it is just poorly constructed.

The school defended the speech code saying that "expressing concern the exercise of First Amendment rights outside designated zones could disrupt others’ pursuit of an education."  I get the whole point that the college doesn’t want "radical" groups to be coming to the campus at all times and days to express opinions or beliefs that might upset those who attend the school, but that is what our constitution allows us to do, and it makes me a little mad and a little sad to think that expression is being "herded" into one area.  I am sure I would disagree greatly with some of the "radical" people who come to express their views, but it really worries me that free speech gets "pushed" into a certain place and time.  It really goes against what I believe America is.

As long as people are not advocating violence, I say this is America, and we should just let them speak.  It’s scary to think that views would have to be approved before you can go to the designated area to express them.  It’s a slippery slope, and who decides what is "okay" to talk about?  That’s what really worries me.  When will free speech then be shut down?