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Monday, November 30, 2020

Keep freedom of expression safe in the free speech zone

With public schools across the country abandoning their “free speech zones,” Pierce College must take a stand, continuing to allow people their basic First Amendment rights while on campus.
Free speech zones have been available on the Pierce campus since 1989, when the LACCD took a vote, requiring each college president in the district to designate an area on their school’s campus for free discussion and expression.
The idea of the speech zones are noble as it gives people on campus the opportunity to take a stand in a public venue, designed to speak without the fear of being arrested or questioned by authorities.
The area is required to be located where there is a normal flow of student traffic as well as unlimited accessibility. According to the Pierce website, there shall be no restrictions on subject matter or viewpoints expressed within the free speech zones.
As numerous colleges and universities across the state continue to carry free speech zones, schools have come under fire as some deal with the ramifications of having speech zones while the handling of certain situations are questioned.
Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed against the Citrus College District by a student challenging Citrus‘ College free speech zone, according to the LA Times. Student Vincenzo Sinapi- Riddle’s initiative is to eliminate speech codes and policies that restrict expression on the school‘s campus.
It is crucial that students and faculty give respect to whomever is speaking within the free speech zone as everybody is given the same rights on the public campus. While some argue over controversial topics, disagreeing individuals have the right to their own opinion and the power to walk away if they feel it is necessary.
Furthermore, individuals deciding to use the free speech zones shouldn’t feel worried about being harassed by sheriff deputies or school personnel while on campus, as the correct protocol should be followed before school officials determine if rules are being broken or misused.
Pierce College must continue to lead by example, giving individuals the opportunity to express their personal opinions in a peaceful manner regardless if the topic is agreed or disagreed upon students and faculty.

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