The Instigator
Impact94
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DATXDUDE
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Offensive speech/ideas must be protected in colleges/universities

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 12/11/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 520 times Debate No: 83830
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

Impact94

Pro

Total 10,000 characters per round

Must have ELO of 1000 to vote (probably not a problem for most active DDO-ers)

This debate is open to anyone who has had at least 5 debates so far.

The resolution is that colleges and universities need to protect offensive speech on campus.

Opponents cannot refute each others arguments until round 3

1st Round is for acceptance
2nd Round is for giving arguments in favor of your position
3nd Round is for refutations
4th Round is for concluding arguments
DATXDUDE

Con

I accept. This should be a fun devil's advocate debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Impact94

Pro

A quick definition from the webster dictionary;
Offensive: causing someone to feel hurt, angry, or upset

First, a little background on where I'm coming from - here is a video by ReasonTV depicting the state of the way speech is seen on Occidental College: https://www.youtube.com...
(notice that one girl in the video says "it is not about creating an intellectual space; it is not.")


1. College/Universities need to foster opposing viewpoints in order to preserve an academic environment.

This unto itself should be known to be true between me and my opponent, at least I should hope so. A college/university is an institution wherein we as students should expect to go in order to have our beliefs challenged in order for us to grow more intellectually.


2. Opposing viewpoints are going to be challenging/uncomfortable to consider.

Was the atomic bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki justified? Is abortion justified? The death penalty?

Is welfare compassionate or is it corrupting? What should be done about food stamps?

Are Christians wrong and delusional? Are Atheists wrong and hate God?

What is more fair - a flat tax or a progressive tax?

I challenge my audience to simply browse the various topics listed on DDO's Big Issues page. It doesn't matter which position you take here - any position at all could be taken to be offensive. It is impossible not to be offensive to somebody somewhere. The only way to avoid being offended is to never have beliefs be challenged. In fact, even feeling offended by an idea, I would wager, implies that the individual may actually be feeling a twinge of fear that they might be wrong. This is a good thing, because it opens the doorway to debate and discussion of some controversial or heavy topics which are necessary to be talked about by an intellectually advanced society.

3. Colleges/Universities that are becoming intolerant of offensive speech/ideas are disrespecting adult college students by treating them like children.

If you are going to college in the united states, then odds are you're at least 18 years old. At this point in your life you are considered a legal adult and you have a right to be treated like an adult. Any college or university which continues to treat you like a child who cannot comprehend the heavy controversial topics of the world is insulting your intelligence as a fully grown adult.
As for other college students who are not opposed to colleges and universities censoring offensive ideas and speech, what do you think will become of them? What kind of people are they becoming? How will they be capable of facing the real world when they leave college? If they decide to be parents, how will their behavior now effect the way they might raise their own children?

4. Censorship/intolerance is fostering disempowered students

Rather than empowering students to face speech/ideas they don't like, many colleges and universities are creating 'free speechh zones', or outright banning offensive speech/ideas altogether, while creating 'safe place' locations where students can be that presumably protects them from speech/ideas they don't like. By doing this, colleges and universities are disempowering their students and nurturing a sense of victim mentality amongst their students.
This is a far cry from real compassion, which would view these students as powerful adults who can move mountains; instead, this is some strange perversion of compassion, which views these students as powerless victims that require psychological/emotional attention in order to move on in life.

5. Censorship/intolerance flies in the face of free speech

Regardless of whether it is a controversial idea in debate, or some person with issues who wants to be a vocal jerk, all people nevertheless have a natural born right to speak freely. Real compassion does not mean to censor other people - real compassion means giving people the right to express themselves honestly, no matter how messy that might be. Free speech shows a reflection of our humanity, with our virtues and our faults. It is what historians will be able to look at one day to see how far society has come in the future. Colleges/universities that take this away through censorship and intolerance are chilling the ability of students to express themselves honestly. Free speech is a natural born right, and as such it is a crime against humanity to take that right away from someone. People have a right to express their anger, pain, or apathy, even if it comes across through nasty slurs or by just generally being the jerks on the campus.

6. Censorship necessitates dogma

The only way for people to avoid being offended would be for the college/university to become dogmatic, to have a statement of beliefs, and to censor and become intolerant of any viewpoints that oppose that accepted dogma, so that students will never be exposed to viewpoints that are not theirs. This is the antithesis of what a college/university experience should be like and at the very most is a twisted perversion of a university which wouuld lead to some dystopian collegiate future.
Imagine going to a college where all the debates have been shut down, and all opposing thought has been effectively banned, because it may be viewed as a microaggression to someone else. Imagine a college that has declared that all debates have been decided, and you do not have the right to question the outcomes of those debates.
Imagine what debate.org would look like under that paradigm.



DATXDUDE

Con

I'm busy, but if you're reading this, it means that I found time to create an argument. You're welcome, Con. I know, I'm amazing.

Now first of all, I would like to say that "safe spaces" are ridiculous (almost as ridiculous as this font). However, this is not the subject of the debate. This is:

"Offensive speech/ideas must be protected in colleges/universities".

With that out of the way, here are my contentions.

Contention 1 - Neutrality

Just because one isn't protecting offensive ideas doesn't mean that they are actively opposing them. In fact, it lets the students decide what viewpoints are acceptable among themselves, and by doing this they can create their own social groups (Sort of like safe spaces, but not violent, and spaces where nobody will be obstructed from going to and from anywhere.) Another positive of neutrality is that it saves the college resources they could spend on other things. To conclude this contention, it is best for the college administration to stay out of this issue.


Contention 2 - General happiness

By making certain spaces free of racist/offensive language, college students will be happier and more productive lives. This is partially because people with similar ideas create and maintain friendships more easily. Obviously, friendships are extremely valuable in helping students perform, as this study shows.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...


Contention 3 - Private Colleges are not required to permit free speech.

My opponent almost certainly knows this, and so does most of the audience. To be honest, this is my weakest contention. However, it is important to keep in mind that the 1st Amendment does not apply here. Just in case you don't believe me, I have proof.

http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org...

Note: Sorry for any font issues.

Back to Pro.

Debate Round No. 2
Impact94

Pro

Thank you con. And now we may move on into our refutations:

-Neutality: My opponent contends that colleges/universities need to preserve neutrality in order to foster an intellectual environment, and that in order to keep a college/university neutral it therefore needn't/mustn't protect offensive ideas/speech.

On the one hand, I agree that colleges/universities, as a rule, should do their best to stay neutral. However, I do not believe that protecting offensive ideas/speech on college/university campuses automatically makes the college/university non-neutral; in fact, I might say that failing to protect offensive ideas/speech is a lack of neutrality unto itself because it opens up the doorway for students to begin censoring ideas and opinions that they don't like, such as pro/anti capitalism, pro/anti abortion, pro/anti war, pro/anti death penalty, pro/anti welfare, etc.

-General Happiness: My opponent contends that making spaces "free of racist/offensive language, college students will be happier and [live] more productive lives". Clearly this would be the case, since three-legged races tend to work better when both runners are running in the same direction.
But colleges/universities are not three legged races. Colleges/universities are meant to be spaces of of ideological diversity where not everyone agrees.

I would also like to point out that the link con referenced here was to a study showing that more friends improves grades. I can't see what this has to do with creating spaces with already agreed upon debates, as such a university without disagreement on controversial topics would require. A student can have plenty of friends in an ideological diverse environment and this study has no bearing on the real topic of the debate.

-Private colleges not required to permit free speech: Unfortunately this is a given; private colleges have the freedom to manage their colleges however they see fit, and to only allow the speech/ideas they want to be said to be shared. However, whether or not a college is legally bound to permit free speech or not, just because a college can restrict free speech doesn't mean it should. I would be highly critical of any college which would disallow the free debate and expression of thought.


Now back to con.
DATXDUDE

Con

Thanks Pro.

Rebuttals


1. College/Universities need to foster opposing viewpoints in order to preserve an academic environment.

While this is true, it doesn't make my opponents argument more effective in any way. This is because for something to be offensive, it has to cause people to be offended(obviously). Most people won't be offended by someone having a different opinion on issues like taxes, gun control, or even abortion. However, they most likely WILL be offended if they present their viewpoints in an offensive way.

Here's an example:
Not offensive-"I disagree with the death penalty because I think all humans should have the right to their life."
Offensive- "Anyone who agrees with the death penalty is an inbred cur."

As you can see, while it is important for colleges to foster opposing viewpoints, they should also make sure that discussions remain civil.

Note: I see that Pro's resolution says "speech/ideas. These are completely different things, so I'm assuming that the slash means "and" in this debate.

2. Opposing viewpoints are going to be challenging/uncomfortable to consider.

This is true. However, again, there is a difference between an intellectual debate and a cat fight. Also, Pro makes a claim here that I feel I need to address.

"It is impossible not to be offensive to somebody somewhere."

Again, this is true. However, it is completely irrelevant to this debate. If what Pro is saying is that everything that can possibly offend anyone anywhere is offensive, then what I have to argue is that no speech should be protected in colleges/universities, because everything is offensive. For something to be offensive, it generally has to severely upset a large amount of people.


3. Colleges/Universities that are becoming intolerant of offensive speech/ideas are disrespecting adult college students by treating them like children.


Everyone has the right to free speech. However, again, this doesn't mean students should have the right to present those viewpoints in an offensive way, regardless of how old you are.

"If they decide to be parents, how will their behavior now effect the way they might raise their own children?"

By teaching them to present their viewpoints in a civil way.


4. Censorship/intolerance is fostering disempowered students


As I stated in the previous round, colleges shouldn't create "safe spaces". However, this doesn't mean they should prevent students from creating private clubs where only certain viewpoints are allowed.


5. Censorship/intolerance flies in the face of free speech


Yes, but if the speech isn't constructive, there isn't really a point to protecting it. Society should protect the speech of those with actual opinions, not those who just pull things out of their *censored by DDO*.

6. Censorship necessitates dogma

Please re read by first refutation everyone. Intellectual debates should be protected by colleges/universities. There is no point in spending the time to protect the speech of those who only seek to offend others.

Back to Pro, Vote Con, goodbye, insert ending here.
Debate Round No. 3
Impact94

Pro

Impact94 forfeited this round.
DATXDUDE

Con

DATXDUDE forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Impact94 1 year ago
Impact94
woops, my mistake o-o
Posted by DATXDUDE 1 year ago
DATXDUDE
y u forfiet
Posted by Impact94 1 year ago
Impact94
The 4th round is where we'll be able to more fairly reply to the arguments from the 3rd round and to add anything else which would be worth saying
Posted by Impact94 1 year ago
Impact94
Oh, just 2nd round arguments
Posted by DATXDUDE 1 year ago
DATXDUDE
Do you want me to refute your round 2 arguments and your round 3 arguments, or just your round 3 arguments?
No votes have been placed for this debate.