The First Amendment was written so people can exercise their rights, but in today’s society, it is becoming difficult. The First Amendment can only protect a person so much, especially when it comes to freedom of speech in the media.
William Brownlee, a professor at the University of Indiana, discusses freedom of speech with his media students.
“The law of having freedom of speech is a constant conversation with my students because in society, they need to understand the importance of being able to speak freely,” Brownlee said.
United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order March 21 that ensures colleges uphold free speech. Trump issued the order in response to conservative people who believe college campuses have become “too liberal.”
In the executive order, Trump said, “My administration seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our nation’s democracy.”
Brownlee said he likes the initiative Trump is taking but questions his reasoning.
“I personally feel that what President Trump is trying to do is honestly get more people to like him,” Brownlee said. “I personally do not have a problem with him at all, but I feel as though he’s just trying to create a generation of dictators and get the students come against old laws.”
Brownlee said he hopes the free speech executive order has a positive influence on college students.
“I think that more students should be motivated to want to get into higher education ,especially if these colleges are allowing them to freely express themselves,” Brownlee said.
Despite his skepticism, Brownlee said he thinks it will have a positive impact on college students.
“I honestly believe that he’s just trying to encourage all young people to be who they want to be and live how they want to live,” Brownlee said. “This is a great move he’s making. All young people, especially college students are going to be intrigued by this opportunity to be able to say what they want. Plenty will agree and others won’t, but that’s life. At the end of the day say whatever you feel. Sit back and see what Trump has in store for us in the near future.”
Jonathan Holmes, a professor at Illinois State University, said she hopes college students use their free speech for good.
“I believe you can’t let some students who don’t actually care about being in trouble speak their mind without monitoring them because they’re going to speak their mind anyways,” Holmes said. “I also feel like there are other opportunities for college students to speak their mind and there are somethings that don’t need to be said.”
Holmes said she does not think Trump considered the importance of monitoring certain things considered “free speech.”
“I don’t think that Trump understands that if we give complete freedom of speech without some type of monitoring I think that students will talk about everything, for instance this whole 420 situation with the marijuana,” Holmes said. “We don’t want kids to be disrespectful and talk about, ‘Oh, let’s smoke all of this and do all of these things,’ because they have the freedom to do so.”
Holmes agrees with Brownlee’s skepticism of Trump’s actions.
“It’s all a big a tactic to get more young people involved with Trump and his way of thinking,” Holmes said. “It’s so ironic that now he’s stating that it’s OK to argue with leaders and it’s OK for us to challenge leaders. This is all a ploy, I believe. I don’t actually think that Trump wants these actual students to come against important things, not for real at least.”