Dr Sandra Grey

How much Freedom of Speech do we have in our universities?

When I went off to study at Waikato University many moons ago I was very excited. I saw universities as bastions of free speech and looked forward to debating topics and expressing my points of view, backed up by evidence of course.I particularly enjoyed my Social and Moral Philosophy classes. It was in that class that I realised free speech can hurt, as I remember a debate on abortion being stopped when a female class mate became distressed.

Despite the fact that debating issues can upset or offend people, Universities have a duty to uphold the principles of free speech. Both sides of every issue should be explored and guest speakers from both sides of issues should always be made welcome. No one is forced to attend these speeches and I do not understand why university students and university professors, feel that they have the right to disrupt the speakers or even prevent them from coming to the university at all. If you thought this kind of thing was only happening overseas you would be wrong. It is happening right here in New Zealand.

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