Free Speech Under Fire

     In recent years, there seems to be a growing amount of contempt for speakers of many different ideological backgrounds on our nation’s numerous college campuses. This past Friday, former-FBI director James Comey was invited to speak at Washington D.C’ s Howard University. Yet before he could even begin to speak he was cut short by protesters. It is a scenario that has become alarmingly common on college campuses across the country. This blatant suppression of free speech was noted by Comey, who attempted to educate the raucous spectators on the values of free speech.
     “I love the enthusiasm of the young folks, I just wish they would understand what a conversation is. A conversation is where you speak and I listen, and then I speak and you listen,” said Comey. He later discussed the point of debate and “healthy conversation” when he said, “and at the end of a conversation, we’re both smarter. I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful, to try to have healthy conversations.” His response was one that was about as common as keynote speakers being silenced at numerous American institutions. With such abhorrent acts of suppression becoming so commonplace, it raises the question of has free speech it lost value to today’s American society?
     “It says a lot about our future when college students aged 18-22 feel scared to hear opinions they don’t like,” said junior Jaden Speter, concerned about the potential absence of free speech for future Americans. “I feel my right to speak for myself is under assault,” said recent-graduate Andrew Martin. “I see it in class, too,” he continued. The introduction of opinions contrary to one’s own is essential to the learning process, yet it sadly seems to lack importance to American college students.