The problem of the gap between freedom of speech and potentially offensive effects of exercising the right to the freedom of speech raises a number of problems, especially in culturally sensitive environment, where people representing different social and cultural groups are located. In this regard, the article “Protecting Freedom of Speech on Campus” reveals the extent to which the protection of the freedom of speech and the use of this right can be controversial. On the one hand, the article clearly states that the First Amendment and, therefore, the freedom of speech is one of the crucial rights defining the lifestyle of American people and relationships within the American society, while, on the other hand, the practical exercising of this right leads to the offense of the majority of the community. In such a way, the author reveals the controversy hidden in the essence of the freedom of speech, but, at the same time, the author suggests to focus on educating the tolerant attitude of people in order to use the right to freedom of speech in such a way that it could not offend other people. However, it is obvious that such a solution of the problem of the gap between the right to freedom of speech and its practical application is a bit idealistic since it is impossible to reject restricting measures in regard to the right to freedom of speech in the hope that overall people will not attempt to exercise this right in an offensive way.
In actuality, the article “Protecting Freedom of Speech on Campus” raises a very important problem, the problem of freedom of speech in Universities, such as Harvard. In fact, the author refers to practical examples, when students exercised their constitutional right to the freedom of speech in an extremely offensive way. Namely the author describes the case when two students hung Confederate flags in the public view, while another student in response to the offense hung swastika. This example is definitely used by the author to demonstrate the extent to which the right to freedom of speech can be offensive on campus. This was actually the main point the author headed the audience to while describing the two examples. Therefore, the author uses a very effective tool to draw the public attention to the problem, which is clearly stated by the author after the presentation of two examples. In the beginning of the article, the author gives insight into the essence of the problems as the gap between the right to freedom of speech and the problem of racial tensions caused by this right, but referring to practical examples, the author makes the essence of the problem absolutely clear to the audience.
As the problem is defined and its negative effects are described, the author logically attempts to tackle the problem and find the optimal solution. For this purpose, the author presents two controversial views, which actually nourish the problem and maintain the gap between the right to freedom of speech and negative effects of its exercising, when this right offends the majority of the community and raises racial and other sensitive issues. The article clearly defines two opposite views on this problem and the right to freedom of speech. On the one hand, the freedom of speech is viewed as the fundamental constitutional rights, which is granted to American people by the US Constitution and the rule of the Supreme Court. Therefore, the right to freedom of speech cannot be limited.
On the other hand, there is a totally different position, according to which the right to freedom of speech cannot be offensive to the community and any attempts to offend the community’s moral norms and aesthetic tastes should be prevented, even if this leads to the restriction of the right to freedom of speech. In other words, this position implies that regulations established by the community should regulate the exercising of the right to freedom of speech, which should not be offensive for the community members.
On presenting, the two aforementioned positions, the author of the article presents two different viewpoints and clearly demonstrates that neither viewpoint is perfect. In such a way, the logically leads the audience to support the solution of the problem the author suggests. In fact, the solution of the problem suggested by the author is a sort of compromise, since the author definitely rejects any attempts to restrict or regulate the right to freedom of speech because it violates basic human rights and increases the role of censorship that may be a threat to democracy. On the other hand, the author agrees that the practical exercising of the right to freedom of speech should be somehow regulated and the author suggests educating people to make them tolerant and inoffensive, when they exercise their right to the freedom of speech. The author logically justifies the aforementioned solution and, at first glance, it seems to be quite logical. Obviously, the education of students and people will help to minimize the risk of the offensive use of the right to freedom of speech.
However, the position of the author is still challengeable. For instance, while educating people, it is necessary to demonstrate the positive side of the proper use of the right to freedom of speech, but, if students constantly experience the offensive use of this right or if they offend this right, they will hardly be able to accept what they are learned to. In other words, educate does not necessarily mean to make people respect others and exercise the right to freedom of speech tolerantly and properly, minimizing the risk of offenses, racial tension and other problems, related to offensive use of this right. In addition, the regulation of the freedom of speech is essential as long as the moral of the community is under a threat. In this regard, debates over the regulation of the right to freedom of speech should not interfere into the protection of the public moral norms and social rules that makes the regulation of the right to freedom of speech and certain censorship essential. But the author prefers to ignore this aspect of the problem, rather than discuss in details. Instead, the author views the solution defined in the article as the only plausible solution.
Thus, in conclusion, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the protection of the right to freedom of speech is essential and the article “Protecting Freedom of Speech on Campus” perfectly illustrates the significance of the freedom of speech and its impact on the community. Nevertheless, the article just provides one of possible solutions of this problem, which is imperfect, although logically formulated and supported by the entire article, where the author’s message is clearly presented and supported by facts and practical examples.