Free Speech on College Campuses

Student Author(s)

Zachary Francisco

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard

Document Type


Event Date



First Amendment rights and how they should extend on college campuses is a debated issue amongst college students and administrators alike. By the Supreme Court definition, the First Amendment protects all speech except: advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. Public universities must abide to the first amendment, while private schools such as Hope College do not. Using empirical research, I attempted to come up with a reason as to why this issue has been so controversial. My results appeared to be straight forward; however my recommendation draws from normative results and the impact that school administration can have on handling an incident or preventing one altogether. While studying Hope College and meeting with school administration, I have come to the conclusion that the school’s ability to put ethics ahead of strict policy interpretation, and principles ahead of pride, can serve as an effective solution for large public universities as well.

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