Friday, September 28, 2007

Freedom of Speech

This past week, some rather interesting controversy has arisen at CSU. The University paper published a very short, very vulgar editorial condemning the President. The editor of the paper claims that he was simply exercising his Freedom of Speech, and trying to bring greater awareness to the rights that students have. I think that his misconception about rights and freedom is unfortunate, and actually rather common in our society today.

The freedom of speech does not guarantee you the right to say anything you want without fear of consequence. It is the freedom from the government restricting what you say or publish prior to you saying or publishing it, and freedom from fear of legal measures for what you publish or say (with certain exception for libel). The editor of the school paper, and the entire staff is learning that their actions have consequences. While no legal actions have been taken against them, the paper lost a huge portion of their advertising, the staff had to take a pay cut, the editor may be fired in the near future, and the front page has gone from color to black and white. The paper's future is in question, the editor has most likely ruined his own future - what paper will hire a liability like him? What has happened is sad, but not unexpected.

The youth of America have a terrible apathy towards many things that matter, and a misunderstanding of much that they do care about. The freedom of speech does not mean we can be vulgar and offensive whenever we feel like it, it means we can criticizes those in power without fear of being thrown in jail. All of our actions have consequences, the Collegian has learned this the hard way.