In light of the recent election, many colleges and universities have had to think deeply about how to ensure their campuses remain places of free speech and open inquiry.
At Georgetown University, as we learn in this article the University’s paper, students and faculty decided to be proactive in discussing this issue by hosting a forum on November 17th. The Forum, hosted by the Georgetown University Student Association Free Speech Policy Team and the university’s Speech and Expression Committee, sought to discuss the role students must have in ensuring that speech remains both free and respectful at the University. In the forum speakers touched on a few subjects, including the importance of allowing groups from all sides of the political spectrum to discuss the election freely and fully, as well as the important role students have in maintaining Georgetown’s intellectually diverse culture.
Speaking on this subject, Ben Costanza, a class of 2018 representative on the Free Speech policy team, reminded the students of the pivotal role they play in ensuring that free speech remains part of the University’s culture: “The culture of the student body can only be affected by the administration so much. You can’t affect top-down change very easily. So it’s up to the students to say, ‘Listen to people.’ The administration and the policy will support free speech, but we have to allow it as students, and we have to encourage it.”
This article is a great reminder of the importance of students in ensuring free speech and open inquiry continue to prosper on campus. It is incredibly encouraging to see the students at Georgetown taking proactive measures to protect speech on their campus. The campus should be a place where ideas can be freely discussed and forums, such as the one Georgetown hosted, are a phenomenal way of ensuring all of those viewpoints are seen and heard.