By Alexandra Cochran
Blog Content Contributor
Fall semester is here and if you’re returning this semester, you might be aware that Texas State is not shy about protesting. It’s no fallacy that having conflicting political opinions while attending a large university will create tension, but we need to make sure we know how to continue to be peaceful and civil during our demonstrations.
This summer alone created many opposing opinions against President Trump including a possible military ban on the transgender community and flattering white supremacists by stating there were “two sides” to the Charlottesville “Unite The Right” protest. Many condemned Trump’s response to the unequivocal support he stated while he publicly disregarded the civil demonstrators who were injured and murdered by racists. With these current events in mind, it is safe to say we will experience demonstrations and opposing responses.
Free speech is for everyone regardless of your age, culture, gender, and religious or non-religious backgrounds. If you are a U.S. citizen, your first amendment rights protect your right to speak freely but not from blackmail, slander, obscenity, fighting words, or solicitations to commit crimes– essentially, the first amendment protects the right for peaceful protest. Although our university is a public school, they have stated there are designated “Free Speech Zones” located at the statue of the Fighting Stallions, next to Derrick Hall. According to the University Star, “Students, staff, and faculty are permitted to assemble and demonstrate in these areas as they are not being violent or disrupting the flow of traffic.” Being involved with peaceful protests and demonstrations on campus gives you the opportunity to practice open discussions without feeling personally victimized if you disagree.
Whether it regards politics or principles, it is important that we acknowledge those who choose to speak up and when needed, counter protest. Be a part of a movement that brings equality and let us not normalize discrimination and hate.
Featured image by Jillian Arreazola.