Most people associate college as a time for young people to make the transition from child to adult and discover their voice and place in the world.
That’s hard to do for students at Indiana University Southeast, which is 10 miles north of Louisville, Ky. That’s because the school requires students expressing opinions to do so only within a “free speech zone,” according to Fox News.
Which means they’re not allowed to have opinions anywhere else.
But wait — it gets worse.
Not only can you not have opinions outside of the zone, the school’s code also dictates students obtain “university approval for acts of expressed opinions’ by submitting an application at least five days in advance.”
The school, however, thinks what they’re doing it just fine, and everyone’s best interest, lest they risk disrupting “others’ pursuit of an education.”
In a statement to Fox News, Indiana University Southeast said:
[The guidelines] were intended to provide some guidance on the issue so that those wishing to gather and express an opinion could do so without endangering people or property. The guidelines also were intended to protect the rights of all students to have unfettered access to educational activities on campus (in other words, the exercise of free speech rights should not result in blocking access to buildings or disrupting classes or campus events).
It seems kind of a shame that students at Indiana University Southeast aren’t allowed to partake in part of the liveliness that comes along with going off to college, which is sometimes getting riled up about issues for maybe the first time ever. Protesting what others believe in and offering your own side in return is a rite of passage for plenty of college students. It helps shape kids into grown-ups when they can stand up for something meaningful for the first time in their lives and try to effect change.
Still, this isn’t the first school to limit free speech. According to Fox News, you’ll get in trouble at Colorado College in Colorado Springs for “any act of ridicule…or embarrassment.” Which, for many college students, can be just about anything.
Apparently the policy at Indiana University Southwest has been in place on campus since 2004 and there has been nary a complaint made.
Perhaps because permission to complain was denied?
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