The Vitality of a Speech Code at Berry College

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Berry College should have a speech code that addresses morally devaluing speech addressed toward a specific group of people in order to establish a safe learning environment for all students while preserving healthy public debate. Establishing such a speech code would positively impact both students and faculty at Berry College by increasing both the opportunity and motivation to challenge and debate potentially offensive topics. A clear line on what is acceptable and what is not would eliminate the blurry line between beneficial and hurtful dialogue and would thereby create a more academically stimulating community.
Berry College should ensure a safe learning environment for all students due to its mission to educate students from a variety of backgrounds holistically, including academically, morally and spiritually. Berry College’s declared mission and purpose is “to make an excellent private liberal-arts education accessible to talented students from a wide range of social and economic backgrounds” (Berry College Mission and Purpose). In order to provide this kind of education to all who choose to attend Berry College, the institution must inevitably create and protect an environment that allows an absence of fear or discrimination. Berry College is also committed to building character among its student body (Berry College Mission and Purpose). In order to effectively build character among all students, Berry College must not only ban hate speech for the benefit of victims but also encourage morality in all students involved.
Hate speech creates an unsafe learning environment for students because of the extent of the physical, mental, and emotional harm caused to victims as well as social repercussions. As Mari Matsuda e...

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...rsonal and academic enlightenment among the Berry community. It is time that the faculty of Berry College, as academic leaders within the institution, take action for the establishment of a speech code in order to emphasize zero tolerance to vicious hate speech attacks as well as support for an environment that facilitates the exchange of ideas.

Works Cited

“Berry College Mission and Purpose.” Berry College, 2011. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.
Hatfield, Katherine L., Kellie Shafer, and Kristopher A. Stroup. “A Dialogic Approach to
Combating Hate Speech on College Campuses.” Atlantic Journal of Communication 13.1 (2005): 41-55.
Matsuda, Mari. “Public Response to Hate Speech: Considered the Victim’s Story.” Michigan Law Review. 87.8 (1989): 2320-2381.
“What is a Liberal Education?.” Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

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