Two weeks ago, I wrote about how my speech topic for public speaking was rejected. I spoke about how I thought it was unfair and how I think it went against the main principles of what college is for.
Since writing the article, I have had some response, as well as more speech topics that were “banned,” so I thought I would write an update.
As some of you may have seen in last week’s issue, a response was written to my column. Matt Gaffney wrote about his own paper getting silenced and spoke about how I am owed an apology. I personally do not think Mr. Gaffney’s and my situations related to each other; I also don’t think I am owed some kind of apology. All I want is for classes and professors to be open to adult discussion rather than treating the students like kids.
I also do not agree with the language in Gaffney’s response. To me, it seemed like Gaffney was attacking professors at this school, which was absolutely not my intent. I do not have any ill will toward the communications department at all, nor do I with my own professor.
Although the situation irritates and angers me, all I want is for my professor, and others alike, to be more open to student discussion and respectful debate. I’m not in search of gratification or justice for this situation; I want a more open learning environment where discussion is encouraged instead of silenced.
I have also had some positive response from my article. Another communications professor, who also teaches public speaking, reached out to me and requested a meeting. When I met with this professor, he told me he was happy that I wrote what I did, and that in his class, he welcomes more heated topics.
This was reassuring and made clear to me that this issue was with my own personal professor and not the department as a whole. The decision to deny topics is entirely up to the professor’s discretion, and there are not guidelines set by the department.
This professor and I had a nice discussion about the need for different opinions and talked about current and controversial topics. I was glad to know that not every professor is like mine, and some of them are open to discussion, which is a step in the right direction.
Recently, my class was assigned our final speech of the semester. For those of you who have not taken this class or do not remember, this speech is to persuade the audience to agree with your stance on a topic. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss a riskier topic, but once again, my class was denied this opportunity.
When given the requirements for this speech, my class was handed a sheet with topics that were “not allowed” for this final speech. This list includes topics such as: climate change, LGBT rights, drunk driving, hazing, pollution, child abuse, capital punishment, religiously oriented topics, politically oriented topics and 15 more restricted topics.
When I saw this list, I was shocked, as were other people in my class. I completely understand if a topic is inappropriate, but most of these topics weren’t, especially when analyzed in a professional academic setting.
My professor said some of these topics were restricted because they were overdone, which I think is also unfair, but that does not relate to this article as much.
I just could not believe that we are being told we cannot talk about things — things that most of the class are passionate about. Things that are current and affect our lives.
I am going to submit a topic for my speech soon, and I will await to see if it passes through this insane list of banned topics.