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Editorial: Blazer voices should be heard — VSU needs to make policy changes

“You’re Fired!”

This may sound like a familiar quote from Republican nominee Donald Trump, but we aren’t talking about “The Apprentice.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education-otherwise known as FIRE–has given Valdosta State a speech code rating of red.

So what does that have to do with you?


National Free Speech week starts next Monday, which makes us wonder, “Are Blazers practicing free speech?”

The Blazer Creed states that we are to uphold the core principles of civility, integrity, and citizenship. Are Blazers upholding these values through communication? Are we respectfully discussing with each other the issues at hand in America? Race? Politics?

We question not only if Blazers are practicing free speech, but is the University infringing upon our free speech in any way?

FIRE states that a “speech code” is a “regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by The First Amendment in society at large.” Being given a speech code rating of red means the institution has at least one policy that clearly restricts freedom of speech. Does VSU prohibit free expression?

Prohibited activities here at VSU include “Any material that may defame, libel, abuse, tarnish, present a bad image of, or portray in a false light, the University…” Other prohibited activities include offensive material, chain letters, unauthorized mass mailings, email hoaxes or malicious codes.

Here at The Spectator, we feel as though students should be able to practice the First Amendment freely without any infringing upon by the University. To say that students should not be able to speak freely about the University, good or bad, is a clear violation of our rights as Americans.

Emory University, University of Georgia, and Georgia Southern have all also be given speech code ratings of red. Is this an ongoing state problem, where universities see fit to infringe upon student’s right to free speech?

We end this with a quote from Tommy Smothers that says, “The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen”.

Letting your voice be heard is what being a Blazer is all about.


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