Freedom of speech a privilege for American college students

Being able to speak freely on any platform is essential to learning about others’ point of view as well as sharing your own.
Photo from

ARIN FROIDL | Reporter

Some of the largest political protests in American history have taken place on college campuses, and when they occur, all eyes across the nation turn to watch what will happen.

Everyone from Maine to California will form their own opinions on whatever political statement it is this time and post them to Facebook. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with what is being said, as Americans, we have the right to say what we want.

We are able to publicly say whether we agree with what the federal government does or doesn’t do or say. Unfortunately, citizens in many other countries aren’t able to practice this right because their governments condemn it.

This is a right that we as Americans often take for granted.

We end up spewing half-formulated opinions on policies we don’t fully understand and then closing our ears to any countering ideas. We have become a country of systematic resistance to differing opinions, and the only thing this resistance is successfully cultivating is intolerance.

The freedom to voice opinions in the college setting allows for growth on the part of all involved.
Graphic by Kearstin Cantrell

The only way we can change this is to create an environment of understanding and open communication. That’s why being able to speak our minds on college campuses is so important.

As students, we are all completely different people, but we all have one thing in common: We are here pursuing higher education, and not just an academic education. We are here with the hopes of learning more about who we are as people and members of society.

We’re discovering who we are, and this is a critical time for us to be able to speak out and discover our own voices in politics and society.

But since we are in this college environment, we are also still here to learn. To learn how to hear another side of an argument and try to understand it. To learn how to persuade and reason, rather than argue. To learn the difference between tolerance and ignorance.

As students studying in America, we are allowed the opportunity to openly speak our minds and explore our political ideology in a social setting, but we can’t abuse this power. We should never be afraid to voice our opinions, but at the same time, we need to remember to silence ourselves and listen to the other side.

College is an amazing time to discover who you truly are and what you believe in, but you’ll never be able to make these discoveries if you spend all your time running your mouth with your fingers in your ears. Listen up; you might hear the world change.