The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Public Colleges and Universities ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,404 times Debate No: 102093
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Round one is just for stating your position and acceptance.

1. No ad hominems
2. No new arguments in final rebuttals
3. standard rules regarding dropped arguments apply.


I am going to play devils advocate here and argue that colleges and universities should be able to censor speech.
Debate Round No. 1
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This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 2


Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress the truth. It is because I believe the words of human rights activist and Nobel peace prize recipient, Liu Xiaobo that I must affirm the resolution which states Resolved: public colleges and Universities ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech. Before we begin I would like to offer the following definitions to clarify the grounds and framework of this debate. Firstly Civil Liberties, according to "Civil liberties" concern basic rights and freedoms that are guaranteed -- either explicitly identified in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, or interpreted through the years by courts and lawmakers. Civil liberties include:
" Freedom of speech
" The right to privacy
" The right to be free from unreasonable searches of your home
" The right to a fair court trial
" The right to marry
" The right to vote
Nextly, freedom of speech is defined by the as The power or right to express one's opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty so let all present recognize that hereinafter, whenever anyone uses the term freedom of speech or any alternative thereof this is the definition they are bound by.
Furthermore, the 1st amendment is as follows directly from the U.S. Constitution Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So let us recognize that freedom of speech as clarified in the previous definition is included in the first amendment of the constitution so any attempt by my opponent to limit the freedom of speech or any alternative thereof is to directly violate the Constitution of the United States of America. Let us also recognize that this is the only time the constitution protects speech so the resolution does in fact reference limiting the first amendment this is brought forth by the NSDA itself in the "topic analysis" section of
Next, abridge is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as to curtail or to deprive or limit.note the use of the word abridge in the Constitution meaning that to so much as limit free speech is unconstitutional
I would also like to offer the observation that according to Dr.Cliff Gilley who graduated from the university of seattle with highest honors in a doctoral law course. For most legal purposes the law sees freedom of speech and freedom of expression as one and the same.
And finally, ought, ought is defined as: indicating duty or moral correctness but can also reference logic. So let the judge recognize that this is a debate of the moral imperative and of logical and fact based reasoning.
In order to preserve an equitable system of free expression and the transfer of ideas, I offer the Value of Civil Liberties. Civil liberties are considered basic human rights and therefore indicates the moral imperative as in order to guarantee that any other value can stand we must first protect our base rights. Especially during the college years when the human mind is processing a developing identity and needs to be able to express themselves freely despite the controversy of their ideas.
In order to support my value, I offer the value criterion of Constitutional rights. This upholds my value in that in order to protect our civil liberties we must be able to defend the values and ideals of the original framers of the constitution who had fought to rid themselves of tyranny. (to point out the flaws of the framers is circumstantial ad hominem fallacy and origo mali {bad seed}fallacy)
To prove these claims true I offer the following three contentions
My Contention one is that for psychological purposes Civil Liberties and particularly freedom of speech, should be encouraged on College campuses not limited. To understand why this is supported on the affirmative side rather than on the negative side one need only look at the basic principles of psychological development. That leads me into my subpoint A To further elaborate on this topic I offer the following evidence from there is a psychological principle known as Robert Kegan's developmental theory of the self which was developed in a psychological study in 1994 which states that during the college years humans begin to make progress towards qualitative shifts about how we view the world around us. This defines and influences identity, self-concept, and interpersonal relationships all of which are necessary to be able to function as a member of society. However, imagine for a moment if you will if you could place yourself in the shoes of a college student with controversial opinions. With an increasing prevalence of limitations on free speech in academia These students need to be able to effectively and confidently express themselves in order to be capable of developing these essential traits that according to the aforementioned psychological study are being stunted by restricting free speech. sub point B. Freedom of speech is imperative for the development of the thinking process of society but only if both sides of the debate have the ability to express their beliefs on equal ground. To quote AP psych teacher Marc Harman "the only way our identity can truly grow and develop is through conversation with others; so certainly, suppressing someone"s ability to express themselves could harm their self-concept and identity development." so as we can see since the only way society and our identity as a whole can grow and develop is through free speech. As such, limiting free speech would hinder the advancement of society when said advancement requires abandoning previous ways of thinking. Contention two freedom of speech is necessary for a functional democracy. Look back on all of the vilest dictatorships in human history. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong"s regime, fascist Italy; now think about what all of these governments have in common. They all restricted freedom of speech to such an extent that only the leaders of those governments had the ability to speak freely. I"m not saying that America is like them, in fact, we're far from it. The point I'm trying to make is what makes America different from all of those truly evil regimes? Well, I would have to ask you, what makes America great? Why do we have people flocking from all over the world to escape tyranny or to escape a low quality of life? Because through our Constitution and our Bill of rights, we have developed a society that is among the most morally equitable in all of human history. subpointA In order to further elaborate on my claims, I offer the following evidence from in an article written in 2010 which states quote, "Freedom of speech is a basic human right and an essential component of any democracy. It is this freedom that enables citizens to exchange views and information, to protest against injustice, to influence the public discourse, and to criticize the actions of the government. As such, freedom of speech represents a necessary condition for the informed and effective political participation of a country"s citizenry. Restrictions on free speech cause harm to democratic life and stands in contradiction to the fundamental principles of democracy especially regarding basic rights." Modern America is built on the idea of egalitarianism or equality for all. But how can we continue to chase this idea if our places of learning are places of homogenized viewpoints because we have deemed the other possible viewpoints as too controversial to be heard on campus? (sub point B) However intellectual debate about pro life vs. pro choice or debates between those that follow a religion and those that don"t, or even the debate that we"re having right now; should not only be allowed in a place centered around academia but it should be encouraged. (Sub point C) our society needs free speech in order to have just laws. As humans, we have proven time and time again that the best way to come up with morally equitable laws is through civil discourse which would be stifled by limiting free speech.

Contention three. restrictions on speech are already out of control. sub point A According to Greg lukianoff president of the foundation for individual rights and education: in 2013 on a college campus in california a student who was also a decorated military veteran was told that he could not hand out copies of the constitution to his fellow students. On constitution day. Captured on video, college police and administrators demanded that Robert Van Tuinen stop passing out Constitution pamphlets and told him that he would only be allowed to pass them out in the college"s tiny free speech zone, and only after scheduling it several days or weeks ahead of time. "Worse, FIRE"s research shows that Modesto Junior College is hardly alone in its fear of free speech. In fact, one in six of America"s 400 largest and most prestigious colleges have "free speech zones" limiting where speech can take place. This video brings to life the deeply depressing reality of the climate for free speech on Campus. it"s gotten to the point that colleges have designated free speech zones and have stated that outside of those zones you have to conform to what the authorities would have you say or shut up. Tell me, does that seem like it upholds American values to you? To answer my previous question America is great because of our values and ideals and I must agree with Liu Xiaobo that to restrict them is to restrict basic human rights and to stifle the morally equitable ideals that have governed our nation for hundreds of years.


All rights are based in property rights, {1} and if you are in a movie theatre, and stand up to give a speech- they will throw you out because everyone there came to watch a movie, and not hear you speak. Likewise, colleges should be able to censor speech because- why do you think people go there? People don't go to colleges to hear dissenting opinions, they go to colleges to get brainwashed- and your dissenting speech is getting in the way of that!

Debate Round No. 3


To begin I would like to point out my opponent's dropped arguments. My opponent has not attacked my contentions except for when I talked about dissenting speech. Since I don't have much to defend, I will immediately move to attack my opponents case then defend my point.

My opponent has stated that since a Movie theater can throw you out if you give a speech during a movie it should then equate to universities being able to silence students. This is, however, completely irrelevant. a Movie Theater is a private institution whereas a public college or university is a part of the state government. While the Movie theater has the right to refuse service, the university does not. They must abide by free speech laws. However, even in public colleges certain speech is not constitutionally protected. take the landmark supreme court case Schenck v. U.S. in which the Supreme Court decided that free speech can be context dependent; such as speech that is intent to promote or incite violence or panic. Next, my opponent states that dissenting speech is getting in the way of a proper brainwashing. However, that clearly isn't what College is for. College is meant to be a place where ideas flow and transfer, where our young people develop into pragmatists rather than ideologues and it is limitations on free speech that block the true purpose of higher education, not free speech itself.


In most debates you don't respond to your opponent until after you made your case. Apparently those were not the terms of the debate. Either way my argument was that colleges are private property and they can make their own rules this may not apply to government colleges- but most colleges are private. Furthermore, see what they teach those kids- and see how those kids turn out and what kinds of kids go in there- colleges today are most certainly brain washing camps and there is no doubt about it.
Debate Round No. 4


First off, in every debate format I've ever seen (Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Policy) the second speaker always addresses their opponent after they first make their arguments, but it all happens in the same round. Next, While private colleges do have a bit more room to bend the constitution, no one has the right to completely nullify it. Going back to your Movie Theater example, the hypothetical person in your example caused a disruption that interfered with the intended activity at the theater. This is not constitutionally protected. (see Bethel V. Fraser.) Also, the resolution specifically mentions Public colleges and universities not private. And finally, while Colleges are increasingly becoming places where people are indoctrinated into a specific ideology, freedom of speech would allow us to challenge this ideology and form our own opinions and choose what we believe for ourselves taking into account all of the possible arguments and all of the possible viewpoints. Stifling specific viewpoints by curtailing free speech would increase the number of people that are successfully indoctrinated.

I thank my opponent for this debate.


You never defined "Public" Universities- so I assumed you meant Universities open to the public. Following this definition, colleges are brainwashing camps and free speech inhibits them from providing the best quality brainwashing to their students.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
>Reported vote: Jonbonbon// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pro lays out a few good points like that free speech should be encouraged to allow people from all walks of life to feel empowered to grow themselves and be part of society instead of being outcasts. He also says the problem is already out of control. Con just makes an argument for private property, but pro clarifies that public university refers to any university that is not privately owned, so con's only argument is irrelevant. Con expresses his confusion and concedes that colleges are attempting to brainwash society and states it as if it's a bad thing. All of pro's arguments were dropped. Arguments point to pro

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter clearly assesses specific points made by both debaters, which is sufficient to award argument points.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
>Reported vote: Jonbonbon// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded the debate in the last round stating that the topic was too unclear. The whole debate was kind of a mess anyway. Even if most people know what public university refers to, just define things. Make everything clear in the first round including structure. Not everyone on this site has done formal debate in real life, so not everyone here's knows typical protocol whether you're right abot it or not.

[*Reason for removal*] While the voter is allowed some discretion with interpreting a concession, there must still be a point in the debate where one of the debaters clearly either concedes an important point or states that voters should vote for the other side. Merely stating that there was confusion on the definitions is a stretch to interpret as a concession. As such, the voter must still assess specific arguments made by both debaters.
Posted by passwordstipulationssuck 3 years ago
looks like it may end in yet another tie. lovely
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro lays out a few good points like that free speech should be encouraged to allow people from all walks of life to feel empowered to grow themselves and be part of society instead of being outcasts. He also says the problem is already out of control. Con just makes an argument for private property, but pro clarifies that public university refers to any university that is not privately owned, so con's only argument is irrelevant. Con expresses his confusion and concedes that colleges are attempting to brainwash society and states it as if it's a bad thing. All of pro's arguments were dropped. Arguments point to pro

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