IowaWatch Connection Podcast: With Speech on College Campuses, How Far Is Too Far?

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College traditionally is considered a place where open speech and expression are learning tools, taking students deeper into issues. But does a line exist where speech on campus goes too far?

“I don’t see letting someone use hate speech in a classroom as a good learning experience,” said Hansen Bretling, the University of Northern Iowa student government diversity director.

This podcast is part of an IowaWatch college media journalism project in which 14 college student journalists spoke to students, faculty and administrators on six Iowa campuses to discuss whether or not limits exist, or should exist, for speech and expression on campus. The project found a general aversion to limiting speech and expression but some willingness to regulate threatening or hateful speech.

James Hampton, chair and professor of biology at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, said college campuses should be places for the free exchange of ideas, but suggested that hateful or threatening speech was generally counterproductive when engaging in debate or discussions on campus.

“I do think it makes sense that if you are trying to convince somebody that your idea is the correct one, that you use language that lets them hear you. If you’re using hateful language, they are not going to hear your ideas they are going to hear your hatred.” Hampton said.

Listen to the podcast above to learn more.

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