To what extent do we hold the rights of free expression?

Every time I pass the blackboard in the student center, I always spend a few seconds to look at those comments on the board. Some expressing their wishes and some directly speak out their personal views about the ongoing things. As a viewer, I always find this interesting and feel more relaxed with those written ideas on it. It creates a relaxing environment that encourages free expressions from students. As a diversified University, every different kind of idea exists here should not be disregarded, since we all have the freedom of speech and expression in many forms, which corresponds to the Article in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, “The free expression of thought and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: thus every citizen may freely speak, write, and print” (Article 11, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen). Apart from this blackboard, there are also a few boards in front of the student center allowing students to do their paintings on. The paintings on them change frequently and range from different styles. However, there are sometimes that words on the blackboard appear to be offensive that may make others or a particular group of people feel uncomfortable.

This leads to my question that to how large the extent can one have the right to freely express their thoughts and opinions publically?


3 thoughts on “To what extent do we hold the rights of free expression?

  1. I feel like the question you’re asking is very important. Freedom of speech is definitely an important thing to our nation, but the exact extent guaranteed by the Constitution will never truly be known, so it’s up to us today to determine that. We decide what “freedom of speech” entails. That being said, denying all expressions that make someone feel uncomfortable or upset would not only be impossible, it would restrict our progress as a nation. After all, no one would be able to say anything meaningful or debatable without someone getting offended, so our ideals and values would not be able to evolve. In other words, I feel it is and always will be difficult to pinpoint exactly what amount of freedom of speech people should have the right to express publicly; much of it depends on the situation. But I find your question extremely significant and it will continue to be.

  2. Nice post Jiaqi! I feel the same way as you, it’s really interesting to look at what people write down on the “Before I die” wall and what they put on the graffiti art park. It’s amazing how we are able to express our thoughts freely because there are others who are not as privilege to have this right. And, my answer to your question would probably be to the extent that it is not offensive to others. However, I know not everyone has the same opinion on things so what one might find offensive others wouldn’t.

  3. I’m pretty glad that I have found company that will leave some time and read this board! I agree with you it has been a very good place to express who students think and feel currently and its updating itself. I love to see how different opinions were freely expressed on here to the public. Yes, there are sometimes “hate” speeches that appears. But I think though we shouldn’t manage to stop them. I think to control people’s speech is an ineffective solution, since speech is only the tool for them to express their “strange from majority” thoughts. What need to do is to understand how the person thinks, and to judge objectively. For me, instead of taking his words out, I will write beside it the countering speech.

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