A major settlement of $80,000 was just granted to a local student who sued the college right up the road from where we live. Three fellow students saught out her social media presense and found posts they disagreed with about abortion, police, and more and filed no-contact orders through the school because they felt “harassed” and “discriminated against.” The school granted them without giving the accused graduate student a chance to defend herself. Now three professors will be taking mandatory free speech training and the school handbook will be updated to “ensure students with varying political, religious and ideological views are welcome in the art therapy program.”
As always, I’m glad to see courts uphold the constitutional rights of Conservatives, even if their beliefs are counter-cultural.
Seeking a no-contact order because you are offended is an abuse of no-contact orders. Seeking out the offensive material makes it even more so. Let’s just say I have some experience here. You are not required to read someone else’s social media posts, their personal blog, or anything else they do online. You can block and unfollow them.
Let me put it this way: you do not have a right to not be offended. That isn’t a right recognized by law or the constitution of the United States. However, others have a right to free speech. People are allowed to say things you disagree with. Folks are allowed to say things I disagree with. Their freedom and mine are intertwined. I cannot block their freedom without blocking my own. I can disagree with what they post and even respond publically to it, but I cannot run to the courts and remove their rights to post it.
Let us instead engage in debate and dialogue. If you are incapable of that— trust me, many are— you can go the other way. Don’t engage. There are plenty of topics that I have opinions on but am not capable of engaging in debate on. I don’t know enough or it actually isn’t worth the debate. It has taken me a very long time to get to this point, to know that not every hill is made for dying. To avoid appearing pugnacious, quarrelsome.
My rule typically is if an argument is not going to move a discussion forward or better our understanding of each other, it likely isn’t worth it. And that is okay. Disagreement and leaving disagreement alone is fine and healthy. Not all disagreement needs to fuel endless, fruitless debate.