Recently, Eckerd College officials told students and faculty that free speech is welcome on their campus. Eckerd College was not the first to impose this policy, which started with University of Chicago in 2012. Censorship has been debated on college campuses for some time now, causing an uproar with students.
Dr. Herzhauser, English teacher and the advisor of the Oracle, says that she deals with censorship in both fields. “It is the rare teacher,” says Dr. Herzhauser, “that does not read a book from beginning to end before teaching it. It is the rare teacher that is unaware of the full argument contained in articles or historical documents before teaching those materials. It is the rare teacher that often gets schools into trouble. If the teacher is unfamiliar with certain passages in works of literature and says this looks like a good thing because they only read the flyleaf, that’s just bad practice.” She also states that censorship and filtering are two different things, where “parents have a responsibility to not necessarily censor but filter” what their children read and are exposed to. Additionally, she believes the Oracle has the responsibility to decide what is “okay” print. “The editors have good radar and with four people reading a piece before it is even considered for publication. They can read and discern what is on the border and honestly teenagers are going to write and discuss edgy topics. The question is whether or not this is the forum for that kind of publication.”
Senior Kristina Martinez, believes censorship “is promoting some ideas by blocking others.” When it comes to the difference between free speech and censorship, Martinez says, “When people say they have free speech they think they can say anything. They don’t understand that some things are still off limits, like your rights do have limits. You can’t go out of your way to be hurtful. You can say whatever you like, but you still have to be mindful of other people.” Martinez says she dislikes that certain literature is banned and that speech is unprotected. She is also surprised that Eckerd would go out and impose this policy.