Freedom of Speech Vs Hate Speech

55091e437764d.imageThere has been a number of controversial events stemming from hate speeches on college campuses from nooses to racial fliers on bulletin boards. All of these issues listed would be damaging to a college’s culture. It is hard for professionals to try to find the balance between fighting racism and freedom of speech. “U.S. law clearly states free speech is not absolute. Governing bodies have the right to recognize certain categories of free speech as excluded from the freedom”(Lyles). Words or phrases that ignite violence after being used are not protected by Freedom of Speech. There are a list of “fighting words” that are said to be associated with hate speech, however these fighting words are based on interpretation. It is important that people understand that some words hold a lot of power. Certain language has negative connotations and it is important that we as a society recognize that and are aware that these words can be threatening. Director of Residents Life and Residential and Commuter Life Josh Blakely thinks that regardless, it’s the responsibility of people who don’t like or agree with what’s being said to respond to it, he added, “I always heard growing up ‘free speech isn’t free,’ it comes with responsibility”(Lyles.)

Lyles, T. (2015, April 1). Freedom of speech vs. hate speech. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from


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