Free Speech vs. Hate Speech: Where Should the University of California Draw the Line?

Aug 13, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The question of free speech is an issue both in online discussions and in edcuational institutions. And with the fluid state of governance worldwide - from Russia to Egypt to Singapore - the question of what sort of speech ought to be allowed, and what sort prohibvited, occupies all nations. Few supposes that all speech ought to be allowed; even those radical supporters of unrestrained expression (mostly south of the border here) bristle when you challenge their core beliefs. To my mind, the line is a simple one, though in prasctice not always easy to discern: the only speech that should be prohibited is a speech act, and the only act that should be prohibited is one which deliberately causes harm to another.

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