The Challenge of Free Speech On University Campuses

I am a University student working on my Associates in communications. I have had a great experience during my time at the University that I attend online. One of the standards that I have always thought was lifted high at Universites is free speech and academic freedom; I have found this not to always be the case. I am currently is two classes which make up one block (as they are called) and I only have one more block of classes before I earn my first degree.

One of my classes is about doing research and writing credible stories on such topics as free speech, the evolution of the American family, and Federal government power vs State government powers. All of these are potentially confrontational topics to say the least. I was hoping that in this class there would be rational strong debate on each of our prospective topics; after some dialog with my instructor on grading questions and a couple of challenging debates between her and I, I have been told that any debate that is confrontational will not be permitted in class? Really?

I first began having challenges with my instructor when I received my first paper back with a correct word being corrected with a word that doesn’t even exist in the English language, it went something like this. Teacher corrected this statement, “I chose this topic (First Amendment) because of how important it is to our liberty as a free society.” Teacher corrected the sentence, “I chosed this topic…” Yes you did read that right. Teacher corrected “chose” to “chosed” by adding the “d” at the end of chose. I brought this up in my feedback private forum for teachers and students. Teacher just ignored it and moved on.

I know that this is just one instance of English spelling correction, after all it could be a fluke, right? Well not so fast. As I looked over my graded paper I started to notice that my APA (American Psychological Association) formating was incorrect. I certainly want to be advised and corrected when I am writing a paper, after all I am in the business of writing. The next challenge I brought up with my teacher was the simple little fact that I was following the APA writing guide to the letter; I even included the section to emphasize my point. That didn’t go over too well. Teacher let me know in no uncertain words that she knew APA standards and I was still in error (this after tell me that I needed to cite the textbook, even though I referenced the course syllabus.)

This story becomes even more interesting as time moves forward in this class. I will be writing more on this subject later, but now I have to go and ger a beer and smoke a nice cigar.




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