The Instigator
SinsOfTheCity
Con (against)
The Contender
QueenDaisy
Pro (for)

Public colleges and universities have the right to restrict campus speech.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2017 Category: Education
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 385 times Debate No: 101273
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

SinsOfTheCity

Con

I believe that the right for public institutions like colleges and universities do not have the right to restrict the speech used on Campus. College is a place to get introduced to new people and be challenged my new ideas.

Feel free to debate me on this.
QueenDaisy

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for suggesting this motion. I will defend the motion that public colleges and universities have the right to restrict campus speech.

Tradition dictates that the proponent of a motion defines its terms. Hence, I will take:

"restrict" to mean either preventing such speech (for example, by no platforming) or punishing one for making such speech.

"campus speech" presumably just refers to any speech which takes place on the university campus.

I will also refer to "academic institutions" as a less clunky way of saying "colleges and universities".

I'd like to start by making a disclaimer: I do not claim that academic institutions are *always* correct when they restrict speech, but that there are cases in which they are, and hence they have a right to do so.

With that out of the way, my argument will be that colleges and universities should restrict speech when it:

1) Is demonstrably false but is proposed to be true by an official speaker.
2) Incites hatred or violence towards an individual or group, or is otherwise harmful to a specific group of people.
3) Transmits illegal information.

So, to argue these points:

Academic institutions are (and should be) places where truth is spread, and when the truth is unclear, all the various ideas get equal weight, and debate is fostered. However, there are certain matters for which there is no debate- the truth is settled. For example, the Earth is flat. An individual hoping to speak at the university and argue that the Earth is flat should be prevented from doing so, as it would be wasting the resources of the university, and therefore of the government body funding it*, to allow that individual to attempt to perpetuate such an obvious untruth. Allowing this person to speak would also undermine the integrity and credibility of the institution in which such speech would take place.

Hate speech is always wrong, and should always be prevented. For example, if an individual on a college campus were calling for the beheading of homosexuals, this person represents a serious threat to the safety and well-being of the individuals on that campus. Hence, the college must be allowed to intervene and prevent that person from expressing such views, or to punish them for doing so.

Some information is illegal, and should never be allowed to be shared; for instance, the identity of undercover CIA officers, or the names of websites on which an individual would be able to access illegal material, such as child pornography. As such, academic institutions should be allowed to prevent individuals from transmitting such information through speech on their campuses.

I would like to emphasise the wording of the motion: "Public colleges and universities have the right to restrict campus speech.". It does not attempt to argue that academic institutions are always correct to limit speech, but simply that they have a right to do so, and hence if one can think of a single instance where academic institutions should be allowed to restrict speech on their campuses, the motion necessarily carries.

So, to summarise my points.
1) If a single circumstance can be pointed to where it is appropriate for an academic institution to restrict speech on their campus, the motion necessarily carries.
2) Demonstrably false information should be restricted, as it is a waste of resources and undermines the institution in which is is spread.
3) Hate speech should be restricted, as it undermines the safety and well-being of the individuals on the campus.
4) Illegal information should be restricted, because it is illegal.

I will finish my R1 speech now, and wish my opponent all the best for the rest of the debate.

*con specified that the motion regards academic bodies funded by the government.
Debate Round No. 1
SinsOfTheCity

Con

First of all, I must thank my opponent, QueenDaisy, for offering to spend her time to debate me on this issue.

My argument for R2 shall contain:
Federal crimes (like hate speech and transmitting illegal information) shall of course be illegal.
An actual argument shall not be blocked just because you disagree with them and think their argument is immoral or intolerable.

To my Arguments:

Me and my opponent agree on 2 things. We agree that Hate speech and giving away illegal information on campus should be published. I believe these two things should be punished because the are Federal Crimes. The University does have the right to punish students for federal crimes, and get the police involved to prosecute the person. Hate speech like the example you mentioned shall of course be looked into and the sayer of the Hate Speech shall be prosecuted under the law. But, if the person believes that homosexuality is wrong, and expresses his views in a respectful manner to everyone around him, he should be debated, not yelled at.

That directly leads me to my second point, which is, that if anyone has an actual argument that he can back up by evidence and support, that person should not be yelled at and there argument should not be thrown in the trash and ignored. Instead, they should be debated in a respectful and proper manner, as in the manner that me and you are debating now. Most of this argument revolves around not the academic institution refusing to let somebody speak, but students at that institution not letting the speaker speak. There is one instance in particular that I would like to point out. Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-winger who was once a senior editor for Breitbart, was invited to speak at Berkeley College, in California, by the Berkeley College Republicans. Things turned violent when Yiannopoulos showed up and Yiannopoulos had to be evacuated from the campus. This type of protest should not be allowed on a campus and I firmly believe that Milo Yiannopoulos should have been able to speak freely, though I strongly disagree with him on many issues.

In Summation:
I believe that federal crimes, such as hate speech and illegal information, should be tried and punished by the university and the law.
I believe that a person with an argument that can be backed up by evidence, should be able to speak freely without being threatened or abused for doing so.
QueenDaisy

Pro

I'm glad to hear that my opponent and I agree that "federal crimes, such as hate speech and illegal information, should be tried and punished by the university and the law."

I would, however, consider this to be a statement which necessarily implies that the motion is true; if the university should be allowed to restrict which is illegal, then there are cases where an academic institution should be allowed to restrict speech, and hence they have a right to do so.

The motion was not defined- by my opponent when he suggested it or my myself, as pro, in the opening round- to mean that universities should *always* restrict speech. Clearly, my opponent and I would agree that there are certain kinds of speech which should not be restricted, but that does not in any way imply that universities do not have a right to restrict free speech; only that there are times when they shouldn't do so.
It's like how if one is arrested, one has "a right to remain silent"- it means one can choose to do so if it is appropriate, but it in no way implies they would always be right to remain silent (and in many cases, such as if one is wrongfully arrested, one should not).

While I feel Milo Yiannapoulos is a vile individual who should not be allowed to speak on university campuses (see source 1), I feel that this I do not need to justify this position in order for the motion to hold; con and I already agree that there are at least some contexts in which a university should be allowed to restrict speech. Hence, they have a right to do so.
In the interests of brevity, then, I will keep my comments on this matter short, but I should point out that Yiannapoulos' speeches often involve hate speech. For instance, he outed a transgender woman in December of 2016 (see source 2), and this compromised her safety- violence against trans women is terrifyingly common (see source 3) and it is for that reason that a lot of them stay closeted. Yiannapoulos risked her safety by what he said. I would argue that this constitutes hate speech, but at the very least, it's reckless, irresponsible, dangerous, and should not be allowed on the campus of an academic institution.

But once more, I'd like to emphasise- if you can think of a single case where an academic institution should be allowed to prevent someone from speaking on their campus, you necessarily agree with the motion, and should vote in favour of it.

I agree with con "that a person with an argument that can be backed up by evidence, should be able to speak freely without being threatened or abused for doing so." but that is completely irrelevant to the motion- if it is ever appropriate for a university to restrict speech, the motion passes. Con is simply pointing to a single case where the university ought not to restrict speech.

I'd also like to point out that Con has not responded to my point that universities should restrict speech which is demonstrably false, as failing to do so would waste the resources- and damage the reputation- of that university.

So, my points all stand as they did at the end of round 1:

1) If a single circumstance can be pointed to where it is appropriate for an academic institution to restrict speech on their campus, the motion necessarily carries.
2) Demonstrably false information should be restricted, as it is a waste of resources and undermines the institution in which is is spread.
3) Hate speech should be restricted, as it undermines the safety and well-being of the individuals on the campus.
4) Illegal information should be restricted, because it is illegal.

Hence, the motion should be carried. Therefore, please vote in favour of the motion.

Sources:
1: http://www.patheos.com...
2: https://broadly.vice.com...
3: http://www.hrc.org...
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by SkySky16 9 months ago
SkySky16
Any institution funded by the public have to follow federal law... That's literally all con would have to say for them to win the debate.
Posted by QueenDaisy 10 months ago
QueenDaisy
For my R1 speech, I should clarify that the truth is settled regarding the *claim* that the Earth is flat; that claim is false. I'm not proposing that it is undeniably true that the Earth is flat.
Posted by Iacov 10 months ago
Iacov
I completely agree with SirHarrison0
Posted by SirHarrison0 10 months ago
SirHarrison0
if it was private funded i would debate you, but since its government funded the campus must follow federal law
Posted by SinsOfTheCity 10 months ago
SinsOfTheCity
Government funded
Posted by SirHarrison0 10 months ago
SirHarrison0
is the school government funded or private funded?
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