Category Archives: Freedom of Speech

Public Locations or Unequal, Unshared Locations?

1916 was the beginning on the controversy of whether or not public places should be able to not allow certain speakers and meetings to occur because of the possible danger to people, or even the beliefs of those in charge to rent out a place. By the time it was 1929, controversy over the banned play in Boston, Strange Interlude, took place at the Old South Meeting House on whether or not it should have been banned as a protest about it occurred. The First Amendment was taken into consideration as the idea of freedom of speech was being contended with. The public building took the community’s voice into the doors, and continued to in the future. Today, the public building serves to hold speakers no matter their popularity or even how controversial the speech may be. But, is this the right thing to do?

 

Today, there is still contradictions over whether or not public places should be able to control who speaks since public places are paid for through people in an area. An example of a dispute today right in Madison is mainly about Scott Walker wanting a law to protect offensive speech from occurring on campus. Will this repress speech, or protect violence? Previously on the UW-Madison campus, disruptive protests have happened and even a white nationalist group tried to form. This was all from speakers that were allowed to speak at the campus. Clearly, this is dangerous to all people surrounded in this city. Still, on the other side, a speaker by the name of Robin Vos said the campus allows too many liberal guest speakers, and the all of the contrasting ideas should be discussed and exposed to these college students. Another event that occurred was at the University of California-Berkeley. Ann Coulter is a conservative commentator who was supposed to speak at this university. Known violence was supposed to occur when she came, so Berkeley cancelled her event–twice. The Chancellor of Berkeley, Nicholas Disks said, ”This is a university, not a battlefield.” The campus also supposedly said the place was not secure by local police, making it unsafe for everyone, Coulter knew this was a lie. She was not happy with the university’s decision. Should she have been allowed to speak?

 

In conclusion, all over the United States there is so much discussion over whether or not public places can allow people who may cause a lot of negative actions to occur. There should be more control over who speaks so more events like the ones stated in the previous paragraph that happened on the UW- Madison campus do not occur and put our population into major danger. More security is needed for our people.

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/26/525745159/after-back-and-forth-ann-coulter-speech-is-off-at-uc-berkeley

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/education/university/scott-walker-wants-law-requiring-uw-officials-to-protect-offensive/article_fae53172-118b-5ae1-96dd-dd26e3de5bd3.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/26/ann-coulter-speech-canceled-at-uc-berkeley-amid-fears-for-safety/?utm_term=.614386d1855e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freedom of Speech at Home/Work.

When it comes to freedom of speech they say we can talk about anything and anybody except for at work or a company. I completely understand that. You don´t want to represent your work in a bad way or bring any type of bad attention to it. But if you are not at work your freedom of speech should be protected. In Jemeles case her freedom of speech was sort of protected. She was Not at the work place when she made her comments on twitter yet they still tried to get her fired and ESPN was contemplating it.  Yet she made her comments at home. Why was this such a big problem then if she was at home? Because Trump wanted it to. He called her out and said she should be fired which then drew a whole lot more of attention to the it. Jemeles freedom of speech was protected but almost wasn’t because Trump thought he could take her rights.

 

Sources:

http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=e139f102-f006-412b-82ee-9a55da53a677%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=APddb87ba8d1b445b79b7613d53e1e3ec3&db=n5h

http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=e139f102-f006-412b-82ee-9a55da53a677%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=APe274536623e74057a448c83e61a234d9&db=n5h

Freedom of Speech and Right to Petition

Can the Government limit freedom of free speech and right to petition against them?

There has always been people who will not agree or like what one has to say. When the government gets involved it definitely is a whole different thing. The sad part it is not that is happening just in the United States, but as well in other countries.  Other countries may still even be fighting for freedom of speech but those who have it, seem to still struggle through it. For example, according to the author Sussman, Leonard R. The year were governments seem to be interested press ethics more than journalist safety, due to the bloodiest records in 1994. The count of one hundred and thirteen journalist murdered in 27 countries. Evermore, in the council of Europe thirty five journalist in sixteen different countries were reported kidnapped or “disappeared”. Specifically, thirty seven murdered in Rwanda, Seventeen killed in Algeria, Eleven died in Bosnia, and around 1,460 not only physical, physiological, but also economic attacks in one hundred and eight countries. These are just a few facts that prove that governments do try to control in  their way free speech of journalist and petition against them.
Furthermore, according to Christian Century, who wrote an article based on a report of a petition for a reconsideration of the Unites States Supreme Court. Mainly which was based on a group of religious-liberties that wanted the government to reconsider that abortion protesters can be sued under the federal anti-racketeering law  (against making and organized crime) known as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) . The article mentioned as well the NOW (National Organization of Women)  v.s. Scheidler case , and how the attorneys representing Rutherford Institute to rehear the case to be able to address the violation or breaking the law of free-speech rights from RICO. When I researched more about the case I found out that the Supreme Court ruled that the protesters were ordered to pay over $85,000 to two abortion clinics in Chicago. The abortion providers did not obtain to prove that the protesters were part of and “extortion”, but the trial court allowed them to link the protesters actions to few violent acts committed through other anti-abortion protester events. The overall case proves how the Government will not help those who protest their freedom of speech. Even where there is no evidence to do so, they will allow others against them to find a way to win.

One can see with these two articles and with further research that even tho the First Amendment is created, even though the U.S.  Government may not get as violent, powerful, or unfair, it definitely still limits one’s freedom of speech and protest in their best way possible.

1.http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=12&sid=2bb940d6-9da3-45a5-8302-0e64577cea89%40sessionmgr120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=9502143250&db=ulh

2. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=eb7659f1-ea2d-4547-bfaa-5792cc3be310%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=9404064174&db=ulh

3.https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/pr399

 

 

 

 

How does the first amendment protect what teachers say in the classroom?

Each day millions of parents send their children to schools where teachers are ignorant, or disobedient, to the restrictions of what and how they can teach in the classroom. Topics such as religion, politics, and other controversial issues are being portrayed unequally, infringing upon student’s right to a fair view on the world around them.

Students have a wide range of religious freedom protected by the First Amendment in the classroom, such as forming religious based groups, praying in the classroom if not distracting, and incorporating their beliefs into school assignments. But, teachers have many more restrictions than students. In public school, teachers and school districts are required by the First Amendment to neither promote nor inhibit religion. Fairness is demonstrated when the curriculum includes academic study about religion when the content is tied to academic objectives to ensure a rounded education. Although court systems are not black and white, and many cases fall in a gray area, teachers should be educated on their overall limitations.

Because classrooms are not considered public forums, teachers must work within school limitations in their approach to sensitive topics, careful not to take sides on political controversies. Unfortunately this has not been the case especially during the recent election. The Washington Post published an article from October 14th, 2016 glorifying “Teachers of the Year” who are publicly going against their obligation to remain neutral involving political topics in the classroom. Instead of being punished for their violation of what teachers can and cannot do inside the classroom, their “moral imperative” to spread their opinions to their students was praised. Classrooms in my own school have shown evident bias towards political candidates, and teachers have encouraged students with the same views to act disrespectfully towards opinions of opposite views. If a small school in Wisconsin has such a large divide and lack of respectful discussion for students with a range of diverse beliefs, what other inequities are taking place nationwide, and what will we do about it?

Public Locations or Unequal, Unshared Locations?

1916 was the beginning on the controversy of whether or not public places should be able to not allow certain speakers and meetings to occur because of the possible danger to people, or even the beliefs of those in charge to rent out a place. By the time it was 1929, controversy over the banned play in Boston, Strange Interlude, took place at the Old South Meeting House on whether or not it should have been banned as a protest about it occurred. The First Amendment was taken into consideration as the idea of freedom of speech was being contended with. The public building took the community’s voice into the doors, and continued to in the future. Today, the public building serves to hold speakers no matter their popularity or even how controversial the speech may be. But, is this the right thing to do?

 

Today, there is still contradictions over whether or not public places should be able to control who speaks since public places are paid for through people in an area. An example of a dispute today right in Madison is mainly about Scott Walker wanting a law to protect offensive speech from occurring on campus. Will this repress speech, or protect violence? Previously on the UW-Madison campus, disruptive protests have happened and even a white nationalist group tried to form. This was all from speakers that were allowed to speak at the campus. Clearly, this is dangerous to all people surrounded in this city. Still, on the other side, a speaker by the name of Robin Vos said the campus allows too many liberal guest speakers, and the all of the contrasting ideas should be discussed and exposed to these college students. Another event that occurred was at the University of California-Berkeley. Ann Coulter is a conservative commentator who was supposed to speak at this university. Known violence was supposed to occur when she came, so Berkeley cancelled her event–twice. The Chancellor of Berkeley, Nicholas Disks said, ”This is a university, not a battlefield.” The campus also supposedly said the place was not secure by local police, making it unsafe for everyone, Coulter knew this was a lie. She was not happy with the university’s decision. Should she have been allowed to speak?

 

In conclusion, all over the United States there is so much discussion over whether or not public places can allow people who may cause a lot of negative actions to occur. There should be more control over who speaks so more events like the ones stated in the previous paragraph that happened on the UW- Madison campus do not occur and put our population into major danger. More security is needed for our people.

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/26/525745159/after-back-and-forth-ann-coulter-speech-is-off-at-uc-berkeley

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/education/university/scott-walker-wants-law-requiring-uw-officials-to-protect-offensive/article_fae53172-118b-5ae1-96dd-dd26e3de5bd3.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/26/ann-coulter-speech-canceled-at-uc-berkeley-amid-fears-for-safety/?utm_term=.614386d1855e

 

Speech Codes: Are They a Scourge or a Savior to Free Speech?

Many people know the First Amendment: the right to expression, the right to peacefully assemble, freedom of the press, the right to petition the government, etcetera. However, not many people know where the boundaries of these rights lie. People push these boundaries all the time and right now college campuses are but one example. Administrators at colleges are attempting to enforce speech codes. Yet, does enforcing speech codes violate the right to free expression described in the First Amendment? How far can speech codes go before the contradict the rights to free expression and peaceful protesting described in the First Amendment?

There are many ways speech codes could be enforced. But depending on how they are applied, they could break the First Amendment. A few forms of expression, specifically in regards to free speech, that are not protected by the First Amendment are slander or libel, fighting words, and obscenity. This means that someone can not go in front of a crowd and defame, insult, threaten, or say anything that may be considered hate speech to someone without consequences. One example of hate speech can be seen in a video of Milo Yiannopoulous at UW Milwaukee. In this video, he verbally attacked and degraded a transgender student. They still were spoken with no point other than to make fun of a subject and way of life that Yiannopoulous did not agree with. Another example of hate speech and fighting words is threats. As stated by Ben Shapiro, some people “greeted the birth of [his] second child by calling for [him, his] wife, and two children to be thrown into a gas chamber”. There was no purpose to this statement other than to express a disagreement with his religion. Under the First Amendment, hate speech is not something you can say without consequences. Speech Codes cannot be used to prevent speakers with controversial opinions from speaking. They cannot prevent people from peacefully disagreeing and debating about topics. However, speech codes can apply consequences if that speech becomes hateful or slanderous since that speech would no longer be protected under the First Amendment.

Some Speech Codes are also attempting to limit the student’s right to peacefully protest a speaker. The First Amendment specifically says “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”. To restrict the right to peacefully assemble is a direct violation of the First Amendment. Yet, as seen on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education website, also known as FIRE, some college campuses are restricting the student’s rights to peacefully assemble and protest on the grounds that they are disrupting the speaker’s right to freedom of speech. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Campus Free Speech Act states that “protests and demonstrations that interfere with the expressive rights of others are subject to sanction”. There must be a line drawn as to what qualifies as disruptive and interfering demonstrations. The line is whether or not there is any form of violence or hate speech. If a protester simply said the speaker was wrong, held signs, and argued about right versus wrong, nothing can be done about it because they are protesting peacefully, as the First Amendment says they can. However, if a protestor started doing damage or cursing out the speaker, then they would have to face consequences. Recently at UC Berkeley, protesters became very violent at a speech by Yiannopoulous and had to be escorted off the premises. UC Berkeley encompasses what a protest that is not protected by the First Amendment is, and what Speech Codes can restrict.

In the end, Speech codes can be useful to make speeches more peaceful and clearly define punishments for breaking that peace, however, they must still subject to the First Amendment.

Sources:

EBSCO: The New Battle Over Campus Free Speech

Milo Yiannopoulos verbally attacks a transgender student (1:30-3:05)

The Atlantic: The Glaring Evidence That Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus

Wisconsin Campus Free Speech Act

A few examples of Hate Speech against Ben Shapiro

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

UC Berkeley

Censorship In Schools: The Confederate Flag

 

Since the beginning, education has been about exchanging ideas and understanding different views on events, even ones we don’t necessarily enjoy. Schools across the country are becoming more “politically correct”, as some would say, but is that really the right thing to do? Not only does this censorship inhibit the learning of students, but it may be infringing upon their 1st Amendment rights to free speech.

A prime example of this censorship is the banning of the Confederate Flag from schools, and any apparel that sports this symbol. While some people may see it as a sign of racial prejudice or hatred, its supporters have a different view of it entirely. Supporters of the Confederate Flag view it as a symbol of their heritage, and paying homage to those who fought in the Civil War. A timeless expression of family pride and an embrace of history. The main reason it has been banned is because districts argue that it distracts from the learning environment, but banning it might infringe upon the students 1st Amendment rights. People who don’t support the flag argue that the it is a symbol of “hate speech”, it is seen as a banner of white supremacy and racial discrimination, and understandably so. Banning it could protect these students from uncomfortable situations, or racism. However unless the Confederate Flag is used specifically to harm others is it that bad? What we should do is turn the flag into a topic of conversation, and learning. We should investigate what it means to each person, and bring forth our own views on it, such is the purpose of education. Controversy breeds thought, and we should share such thoughts with each other to spark a civil exchange of ideas, schools could benefit from students engaging in educated debates about controversial topics

 

Sources:

 

Rosen, Ben. &quot;Is the Confederate Flag Constitutionally Protected?&quot;<i> Christian Science Monitor</i>, 30 Oct 2016,<i> SIRS Issues Researcher</i>, <a href=”http://sks.sirs.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>http://sks.sirs.com</a>.

 

Rampell, Catherine. &quot;Silencing Free Speech Isn’t the Way to Debate it.&quot;<i> Washington Post</i>, 16 Dec 2016, pp. A.19.<i> SIRS Issues Researcher</i>, <a href=”http://sks.sirs.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>http://sks.sirs.com</a&gt;.