BLOGThe Forgotten Victims of Campus Speech Restrictions

By Maureen Collins Posted on: | May 29, 2019

Is there anything as mind-numbingly boring as listening to the same thing over…and over…and over again?

It’s probably the same reason why it’s not typically interesting to talk about an issue with someone you’re in total agreement with. There’s no fun in listening to things you already know and understand. After all, you’ve heard it all before. You know exactly what to expect.

That’s why learning is such an exciting and joyful experience. You’re seeing things for the first time, or you’re just seeing things differently. It’s all fresh.

That’s what college is supposed to be. But, unfortunately, many college students graduating this month have never encountered viewpoints on campus that conflict with their own. Maybe you’re one of them.

Many colleges and universities are using unconstitutional restrictions like speech zones and speech codes to silence those who want to express viewpoints outside of one particular progressive worldview.

The result? Students at these universities hear the same things over and over again. And they miss out on opportunities to learn about different perspectives.


By restricting speech, campus administrators are restricting learning

Across the United States, many college and university campuses are restricting the free-speech rights of their students, professors, and visitors. They use speech zones and speech codes to silence those who want to express viewpoints outside of one favored viewpoint.

Perhaps you’ve already heard of some of the victims.


  • Professors. Dr. Allan Josephson had an exemplary record of impeccable leadership as the Division Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Louisville. Then, he spoke on a panel at the Heritage Foundation about childhood gender dysphoria. Because some of his colleagues disagreed with his views, he was demoted and then effectively fired.

  • Students. Chike Uzuegbunam was handing out pamphlets in a plaza on campus and talking about the Gospel with interested students as they passed. Then, officials at Georgia Gwinnett College told him he could only speak in two “speech zones” that made up less than 0.0015 percent of campus. Even after Chike complied with this, officials ordered him to stop, claiming his peaceful speech was classified as “disorderly conduct,” a term they defined to include anything that “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s).”

  • Visitors. Michelle, Nathan, and Isaac were volunteering for the libertarian student group Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). They were handing out pocket Constitutions on a public walkway at Kellogg Community College, a public university in Michigan. Campus officials said the volunteers were in violation of their speech restrictions and actually had them arrested and thrown in jail.

These stories are outrageous and disturbing. Each of these individuals had their First Amendment rights blatantly violated by campus officials trying to control the debate by silencing their viewpoints.

But we often forget the other people harmed by these campus speech policies—students who agree with the worldview protected by campus administrators. Silencing viewpoints, like the ones the ones I mentioned above, prevents many students from ever hearing those ideas at all. It takes away their chance to learn new ideas and perspectives. And it certainly lessens their ability to sharpen their own beliefs through debate and discussion with those who see things differently.

In short, it deprives students of receiving a real education.

recent survey showed that nearly 40 percent of college seniors feel unprepared to enter their careers. How much more prepared and confident would they feel if they had an opportunity to be challenged by opposing viewpoints?

It’s sad that many students graduating this month will enter the “real world” without ever having been exposed to certain viewpoints.

That’s why it’s important for us to keep fighting back against these totalitarian campus speech restrictions. It’s bad enough that people like Chike, Dr. Josephson, Michelle, Nathan, and Isaac had their rights violated. But it goes much deeper than that. These speech policies destroy the heart of what the true college experience is supposed to be about—learning.  

Maureen Collins

Web Writer

Maureen has a passion for writing and her work has appeared on The Federalist.

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