Freedom, as defined, is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants (Oxford, 2012)
As followed, free speech is defined to be the right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government (The Free Dictionary, 2012). Basing on how it is defined, free speech is not only significant in the society as a whole but also, it plays a more vital role in smaller organizations like universities and colleges. To many small organizations, freedom of speech is the key element to growth and development; new knowledge and prospected innovations are usually generated from a wide range of imagination that is then converted to words, whether in print or in vocal recordings. Thus, the non-practice of freedom of speech makes the society less liberated when it comes to criticism and changes. The narrow-mindedness that encompasses rules and regulations in these societies inhibits growth and development. When this is applied to our academic institutions, especially in higher education organizations, this would create even more unproductive minds in our working society.
Many academic institutions have misjudged the significance of free speech in our universities and colleges
Many have thought that coming up with censorship rules would make communication in campuses more versatile and the students safer. However, these ideas have turned out wrong. The continuous censorship on almost everything, when it comes to speech, led to stunted growth and delineated spirit of being proactive among students. Supposedly, it is in college and universities where students are promoted to become more liberal in their thinking because this is one of the stages where rationality and critical thinking are necessary. As a stepping stone in preparation to the real world, what is invoked and inculcated in the universities become crucial factors as indicators of how we will be working out as part of the society.
In instances that would allow free speech to be limited, if not removed, in colleges, we will just submit to the idea that we will be used to having our grievances and thoughts imprisoned in ourselves; we can never be able to express our angst, if we are suppressed and appreciation, if we are satisfied. The rationale that college will be fun because we will have the freedom to choose our class schedules and activities and we will have so many no-go in speech and in whatever we love doing (i.e. reading) is an irony. In the video presented in FIRE’s official site, a commentator even said that free speech is the key to campus life. We are in college to be free, in what we choose, in what we wear, in what we read and most especially in what we have to say about things we do and things around us. Zipping our mouth and chaining our hands is like blinding us from all the things around us. It is much understandable that speech needs cautions so that it shall be delivered harmlessly but there are also instances that what is cautious to us might not be very cautious to very conservative people.
Eradicating free speech to any organization is eradicating liberty
As part of being free, liberty should be observed. If this value shall be gone, what has been fought before for freedom will be forsaken. Aside from that, free speech is very important to colleges and universities because it is one of the few venues for intellectual freedom. We go to school, primarily, to learn and discover. We share ideas in school through our words and writings.
We go to academic institutions to develop progressive thinking
We all know that progressive thinking is what leads us to greater development. If free speech will be barred, how can progressive thinking continue? Are we ready to face the future with too many restraints because we always have to look after what we read, write and say? Declaring free speech is not acceptable to any college or university would only build up thoughts on how our academic institutions cannot accept criticisms among those who do not share the administration’s ideologies. It is so funny that even the postings and likings in cyberspace becomes a reason for suspension or even detainment. How would the academic world flourish if even our educators are close to the possibilities of being told to have been wrong or biased on their thoughts? If criticisms will always be catered as something destructive, constructive criticism will never arise. Censorship to speech would only allow control of a one-sided administration to those who would want to be free in expressing their thoughts and ideas. Censorship of speech in universities, later on, will only develop a community of fear among students. Fear, when heightened, will only destroy the valuable thoughts of our college students that will, in the future, be rulers of the nation.
Free speech is a necessary ingredient in the society. Non-censorship of our speeches is what makes us different from North Korea.
Our educators must always keep in mind that free speech is every American’s basic right.