Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Free Speech on Campus

What does free speech mean? Bringing up and discussing difficult ideas? Challenging the status quo? Calling out misinformation? Confronting a powerful hierarchy? Calling for violent acts against individuals or groups of individuals? Bullying people into silence? Lying? Gaslighting? Publishing liars, bullies, and gaslighters? 

Here's what the campus free speech movement means to some of us old folks. 

UC Berkeley student, Mario Savio, 1964

But things are different now. Having won their freedom of speech, at a campus victory rally, Savio noted,

"We're asking that there be no, NO, restrictions on the content of speech save those provided by the courts. And, that's an enormous amount of freedom. And, people can say things, within that area of freedom, which are not responsible. We've finally gotten into a position where we have to consider being responsible, because now, we have the freedom within which to be responsible. And I'd like to say, at this time, I'm confident that the students, and the faculty, University of California, will exercise their freedom with the same responsibility they've shown in winning their freedom."niversities started designating "free speech zones," outside of which, speech was restricted, 

The boundaries of responsibility are broken. Dishonest speech seems to have been weaponized to encourage violence and mistrust in basic institutions. Marketing and manipulation, wrapped in free speech, are not meant to further understanding and connection. Then what?

Does free speech mean a Nazi must be allowed to encourage violence or a dominion isn't must be able to push for restrictions on rights for fellow citizens? 

Respectful disagreement, maybe, can't easily occur in a hierarchy. Where one party holds control over or can affect the well-being of the other, can the speech of the powerful party really be non-threatening, and can the speech of the threatened party really be free? Maybe this program will help answer those questions. 

"LeaderEthics is proud to be a partner with the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University in presenting A Conversation About Free Speech on College Campuses. This free event will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, September 19th at the Weber Center for Performing Arts, 428 Front Street S., La Crosse."

One of the panelists, apparently, "a champion for integrity and community collaboration," might be asked if publishing lies and threatening opinion articles and cartoons is responsible speech or not. Get more information here.

No comments: