Freedom of speech vs. freedom of consequence: A letter to the editor

Freedom of speech vs. freedom of consequence: A letter to the editor

Christina Melecio, President, WSU Student Senate

We live in a Country that gives us the freedom of speech. We are given the protection by the government to say what crosses our minds and to condemn or praise politicians and policies that we don’t agree with. This is a right we are privileged to have, and can use and exercise when we best see fit.

However, with that being said, we are not free from consequences. You can choose to say what you want without being prosecuted, and that is your right. I want to acknowledge that hate speech is still free speech, but that does not mean hate speech is okay. We attend a public university that promotes free speech, and promotes inclusive excellence. I want to remind students that you can use your speech in any way you choose, but it could end up negatively affecting your relationships with your peers, professors, or employers. While you will not be prosecuted, you could still face consequences that affect your future.

I want to encourage students to have open conversation while still being mindful of others’ beliefs. Being considerate goes a long way, and taking the time to listen to others’ concerns could help you further expand your own opinions. It would be a wonderful experience to have an open conversation and engender further understanding, instead of spewing hate speech and cutting off the potential flow of communication.

And with that, I urge everyone to use their freedom of speech, but remember that it’s most important to be conscious of consequences and think before speaking. We can have an open dialogue on campus – without the need for hate speech. So, take a moment, breathe, and discuss your beliefs with poise and an open mind.

Christina Melecio

President, WSU Student Senate