Free speech is one of those rights that falls under the “applies to all people” category. It is considered undeniable, equalizing and ought to be well respected. All of this is true in theory and should be something we strive to uphold.
In this editorial we are not arguing free speech’s theoreticals — we hope that anyone reading this mostly agrees. The question here is to what degree do our personal and societal biases color the way we implement laws and regulations claiming to protect free speech.
Imagine the famous, or infamous, Pit Preacher who haunts locations in or around the Pit. He is almost a fixture on this campus now, and proof that free speech rights are fairly well-protected on campus.
What would happen if he was not Christian? What if he was a Muslim man so actively condemning students walking by?
He would certainly not face the same response from the public. Just the presence of a silent Muslim man can lead to people irrationally feeling unsafe — that effect would be amplified if the man read from the exact same script as the Pit Preacher.