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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Freedom of expression is zone-less

Free speakers on issues like religion and abortion during the spring semester have left some students riled.
Texas A&M has three designated free speech zones, but the freedom of expression is campus-wide.
The free speech zones are Rudder Plaza, Academic Plaza and West Campus Mall. Reservation is not required for any of these locations unless one of the following three conditions applies: the event was promoted, the event is sponsored by a student organization or is expected to attract a crowd of more than 25 people. If reservation is necessary for the event, it can be obtained from the scheduling office on the second floor of Rudder Tower.
Shane Minks, a junior university studies major, said free speech should be allowed but not misused to force one’s ideas on another.
“I believe that people should be allowed to express their views, but should do so without all the harsh words and graphic images,” Minks said. “I also think that it should be limited to certain areas.”
Everyone has the right to free speech anywhere on campus, but there are some rules. For example, certain buildings, including residence halls, the Bush Library, nuclear reactors and utility buildings, have distance requirements.
Other regulations include impeding the flow of traffic, vehicular and pedestrian, infringing on the rights of others and obeying all other University rules.
Freshman kinesiology major Stephanie Badum said free speech zones are important to the ideals A&M holds dear.
“I think free speech zones are key to having a more open campus. Students can see different sides of issues and can make a more educated decision on how they feel about an issue or topic,” Badum said. “I don’t think [people who wish to present their opinion] should be limited at all, because it’s their right to have free speech and to express their ideas. Even though I might not agree with the issue I think they still have the right to express it.”
Sophomore applied sciences major Lindsey Jackson said free speech was vital to A&M and to the development of Aggies during their collegiate careers.
“I think they should be allowed anywhere on campus. A&M should strive to be an open, active campus. From my experiences, the most active campuses have been the most accepting of free speech, which of course leads to greater student participation and interaction,” Jackson said. “A&M will never be able to successfully diversify if it keeps putting limitations on opportunities for broadening horizons. Students have to be exposed to different viewpoints, beliefs, and ideologies in order to achieve optimal personal growth and fully develop as well-rounded young adults.”

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