There are times that we do not like what people have to say. This is becoming more and more the case in our country. People have political ideas that we would find repugnant. But, do we have a right to have them silenced?
What if the way they were conveying their message was rude or hateful? What then? Should their message be banned or curtailed? Most of us would understand a college or university having a stance against crude or offensive speech. But who makes such determinations?
This has recently become an issue at UCLA.
Messages written on signs held up by three female members of UCLA’s student Republican club brought some of the school’s LGBT students to tears.
Raja Bhattar, director of the UCLA LGBT Resource Center, says the girls’ signs and other social media posts have LBGT students at UCLA “feeling like they’re not safe on campus.”
“It’s been from students crying to students feeling like they’re not safe on campus with people sharing these types of perspectives and negating their existence,” Bhattar said, according to abc13.
So, there have been female students who have expressed their thoughts on the transgender bathroom situation. The messages were such that people were hurt and frightened, or so they claim. But, is this an issue for the university to get involved?
It seems likely that they will.
In a statement responding to the controversy, UCLA’s dean of students, Maria Blandizzi, said, “At UCLA, we respect everyone’s right to free speech and encourage open dialogue on all issues.”
“However, hurtful language that seeks to belittle or trivialize any group is not reflective of UCLA’s values and our ongoing work to be a welcoming and fully inclusive environment for all,” Blandizzi’s statement concluded.
But, freedom of speech means that the way it is received has nothing to do with your liberty to say what you think. As long as it is not used to intentionally insight mass panic; the school has no legal ground to curtail the ladies’ words.
Freedom of Speech has no reasonable exceptions, but it sounds as if the administration of UCLA is planning to start listing some for their conservative students. Where then will they stop?