In the era of social media networks, everyone gets to express their take on almost everything under the sun – within reason. Naturally, some opinions and remarks don’t sit well with everyone, resulting in outrage and people feeling offended.
While some believe that expressing their opinions without hesitation is upholding their free speech rights, others state that they are willing to sacrifice their free speech rights to prevent offending people.
And it seems that college students no longer support free speech as much as they used to. In last year’s survey from free speech group FIRE, almost all students asked, 96 percent, believe that their civil rights should be protected. But only 30 percent said that “free speech” was the most important.
57 percent of the students said that colleges should be allowed to restrict expression of political views that some may find “hurtful or offensive.”
At the time, FIRE said that these results were “troubling,” and that “they suggest only a surface-level understanding of free expression and association protections that underlie the First Amendment and an unwillingness to see them applied to the protection of expression most often censored on campus.”
And while only qualitative, a recent video released by Campus Reform featured several American students who were asked about their views on having social media accounts monitored for controversial speech by their school or university.
Most students expressed that they were fine with authority figures keeping their social media profiles on watch. The idea of not offending people seemed to be a bigger priority than exercising one’s free speech.
“I would do that, cause I mean if I’m just giving up a little of what I care about just to make others feel better, I’d do that,” said a student.
“I definitely think they should be monitoring hate speech because that shouldn’t be allowed,” said another individual and also expressed that monitoring their social media accounts is welcome as long as it helps create a sense of “safety and security” while “erasing” “hate speech.”
Interestingly, a student remarked that people should not be held accountable for comments they made way back in the past. He conveyed that people tend to evolve with time and must not be held accountable for any unsavory comments they made long ago.
Contrary to most of the opinions expressed in the video, an individual said that such monitoring is pointless and that people must be given privacy in their lives. “Some people should have their own privacy. There’s no reason to be monitoring people for no reason. It’s not going to change anything”. The individual, however, also added that he wouldn’t mind the school monitoring his social media accounts.
With passing time, both students and teaching faculty are both being subjected to increasing scrutiny over what they post on their social media accounts. In some cases, students are getting expelled over it.
There have also been instances in the recent weeks where faculty members were forced out of their positions for making comments that others have found offensive.