U.S. college students are highly confident that First Amendment rights are secure, yet a slight majority say the climate on campus prevents some people from saying what they believe because others might find it offensive, a Gallup survey has found.
The survey, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Newseum Institute, revealed differences in the attitudes of students and the U.S. population as a whole toward First Amendment rights, as well as differences among male, female, white and minority students about whether it was ever appropriate to restrict free speech.
The Free Speech Bus example: When Free Speech is hard to witness, and hard to sustain
“Free speech is a constitutional right, but language has consequences that must be considered,” Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International said in a press release sent to the Huffington Post. “Trans youth already have an extremely high risk for violence, discrimination, and suicide. Broadcasting a message that erases and denies the reality that transgender and intersex children and youth exist is irresponsible, factually misleading, disrespectful and dangerous. This vehicle is part of the reason trans youth are driven to suicide.”
“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut
"Freedom of speech, the press, association, assembly, and petition: This set of guarantees, protected by the First Amendment, comprises what we refer to as freedom of expression. It is the foundation of a vibrant democracy, and without it, other fundamental rights, like the right to vote, would wither away."
Does it matter if a student uses the Internet as a tool for speech at school?
Do schools have the power to control speech in the classroom?
Which types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment?
Can public schools impose dress codes and uniforms?
Can administrators remove controversial books from school library shelves?
What is freedom of expression?
"On a campus that is free and open, no idea can be banned or forbidden. No viewpoint or message may be deemed so hateful or disturbing that it may not be expressed."
"Universities and colleges are also communities, [...] Civility is always fragile and can easily be destroyed."
“If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”—George Orwell, author, c. 1945