Earlier this week, members of Simpson Student Media hosted the annual free speech wall in Kent Campus Center in honor of Constitution Day. Staff, faculty and students were welcomed and invited to write anything that came to mind on the wall in order to express their right of freedom of speech as laid out in the First Amendment.
People expressed their opinions about issues on-and-off-campus alike. Some statements were bold, while others were less severe, however, every comment had the same impact-celebrating free speech for all.
It appears, though, that some students and faculty on campus did not support expressing speech in this manner. There were many comments made that allude to the fact that we should have censored what was written, or crossed off comments made on the wall. But doing this would defeat the purpose of free speech in its entirety.
Were some of the comments on the board offensive to some people? Sure, but the First Amendment does not censor or define offensive comments, it protects peoples right to speak their mind.
Some students disagreed with the free speech wall and chose to express their opinions through different outlets. We appreciate the criticisms and support because that is what the purpose of the free speech wall is. We want to hear your stories and opinions.
Colleges across the nation encourage free speech and in light of political events, we believe it’s necessary to spark a conversation on our campus to keep our students engaged. The point of the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum is to maintain a democracy on our campus and we believe the free speech wall is substantial and serves its purpose.
If you agree or disagree with our decision to display a free speech wall annually, we invite you to write a letter to the editor to express your opinions.