Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Elaine M. Chisek

Valerie A. Sulfaro

Lucy B. Malenke

Abstract

The topic of free speech has become increasingly publicized and debated recently. With cases of speech being suppressed coming to light all across the country, it is apparent that there has been a tremendous shift in views on college campuses on the right to free speech. Through trying to balance an inclusive society with the right of all to speak freely, the First Amendment right to free speech and the applicable case law have begun to be inconsistently interpreted, specifically on public college campuses. Whether by imposing security costs on speakers, solely utilizing free speech zones, or allowing the heckler’s veto to be effective, schools have repeatedly permitted or taken part in the restriction of peoples’ constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech. By reviewing scholarly articles and court cases, this honors project will clarify what limitations, if any, are constitutionally allowed on the First Amendment right to speak freely. Through examining examples of religious, political, and hate speech on public college campuses, this project will demonstrate how inconsistent interpretations of the Constitution and case law by college administrators has resulted in the biggest threat to students’ free speech rights.

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