SRU should have a debate club to promote diversity of opinions

Published by adviser, Author: Joshua Reed - Rocket Contributor, Date: September 1, 2017

As of late there have been many debates and events focused on the idea of free speech in our country. What is free speech and what should be seen as hate speech? How do we go about dispelling hate speech? Recent events such as the riots in Berkeley are not what free speech in America is about. Violence should never have a place in somewhere such as Berkeley in the name of dispelling hate speech. Hate will always be met with hate and will never be beneficial to their cause.

College campuses should be beacons of free speech where opinions flow whether they are familiar or not to us. Whether it is Milo Yiannopolous, Ben Shapiro, or Ann Coulter coming to your school, let them speak. Other than direct support of an individual, the only better support one can give them is stopping their speech altogether – especially violently, because individuals like Ms. Coulter prey on events like the Berkeley riots because it only gives her more ammo. If your one true goal is to expose these people for what you claim them to be (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) do so by combatting their speech with your own, or simply do not show up.

As a classic liberal myself it pains me to see groups like Antifa using precisely fascist tactics in an attempt to destroy fascism. Antifa and groups alike have no place on a college campus. Colleges should be a place we attend to have a comfortability torn down. When it comes to opinions and beliefs we hold, they should be challenged at every corner. Personal opinions can only be strong if you have heard the other side. I have always believed that good will trump evil and radicals on one side will only create radicals on the opposing side.

Here at SRU, thankfully, we have not had any violent riots or protests to any invited speaker. At the same time, there have been no speakers to my knowledge who would hold opinions of any weight to even cause controversy. In order to prevent our students from becoming something akin to the students at Berkeley or Evergreen we should have more engaging debates taking place. As a political science major myself I would enjoy having a club or class where the whole purpose was practicing the art of debate. Topics could range from many topics and no topic would be off limits. All opinions would be invited to speak unless deemed extremely hateful by the bulk of the group. Whether this should be a class or not is in itself a debate, but for the moment a club should at least be offered.

Maybe a department will now look into it or maybe someone will be inspired to do so themselves. Maybe I should have shut up and done it myself. Whatever it takes for someone to do so, I hope it is done.


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