Mug Hannah Ball, Staff Reporter

Tri-County Times | Hannah Ball

While I attended Western Michigan University, a guy would stand at the flagpoles and shout that everyone besides Bible-thumping Christians were going to hell. Many believed this was an attempt to get people to hit him so he could sue the university.

The first amendment protects hate speech, which means he, or anyone else, has the right to yell that kind of stuff. But should they?

College students have been protesting conservative speakers like Betsy DeVos, Ann Coulter and Vice President Mike Pence.

It’s not news that many college students don’t like President Donald Trump, nor is it new that students like to protest. With free speech, you have the right to say what you want, but you do not have the right to any platform you want, nor does it protect you from criticism.  

Don’t feel bad for these policy makers. Coulter gained more popularity and she’s doing just fine. Same with DeVos and Pence, because at the end of the day, for as long as Trump is in office, they have the power to make policies that directly help or harm students, and U.S. students and other citizens have power in only two forms: their voice and their vote, one of which they only have the opportunity to exercise maybe once a year.

However, students at Evergreen State College have been campaigning to get a professor fired for his refusal to support a proposed Day of Absence, where white students would be banned from attending the school for a day. Google it.

The entire situation is as ridiculous as it sounds, especially when you watch the videos showing mobs of students confront and scream at multiple professors, claiming they have the right to do this because of free speech. That is not free speech — that is harassment, and it’s deplorable.

The “campus free speech act” was introduced to the Michigan Senate in May, which would penalize students who infringe on another person’s free speech rights. The bill is too vague and lacks proper definition, but it’s surprising that congressmen are so worried about students protesting that they want to make it illegal. Keep in mind that the same amendment that guarantees free speech also guarantees assembly.  

“Free speech” is not the equivalent to effective communication or constructive debates. It’s a nuanced idea with no single correct answer for every scenario. People cry free speech for any and everything— the right to say you don’t agree with a gay lifestyle, the right to call that person a bigot, and it goes on.

Ultimately, it’s a naive excuse. You have the right to say something, yes, but that doesn’t always mean you should say it.

As a fully functioning adult, you should have the mental capacity and emotional maturity to realize the difference. having the right to say something doesn’t always mean you should.

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