Free Speech 101: How to Use Your Voice at GV
Written by Leah Erben and Andreas Fields
Posted on October 26, 2020
Free speech is protected by our Constitution, and you have the right to make your voice heard here at GV.
It’s important to stand up for your beliefs, and it’s helpful to understand free speech at Grand Valley and how we can best respect each other and learn new perspectives.
Use Your Voice
If there are causes you feel strongly about, don’t be afraid to make it known! It’s incredibly important for all of us to speak up and use our voices to amplify our beliefs. Raising awareness about issues happening not only in our country but around the world can help educate others who don’t share your same life experiences or awarenesses.
You Won’t Agree with Everyone
Because Grand Valley is a public university and protects our right to free speech, the university can’t restrict anyone’s ability to use their voice, regardless of their viewpoint or opinion. You will be faced with people who disagree with you, and it’s important to be respectful of different points of view. Sometimes, conversations will be uncomfortable, and we have to do our best to prepare ourselves for those situations and still be respectful.
Fight Against Hate and Discrimination
Free speech is protected, but Grand Valley takes a hard stance against promoting hate speech and demeaning others, as well as advocating for violence of any kind. There is a difference between having opposing opinions and advocating for the mistreatment and disrespect of others. If you ever experience or witness a racist incident, discrimination, threats, or violence, you can and should report it to the university. You can find more about the university’s policy against harassment and discrimination on the university policies webpage. You can check out GV’s Division of Inclusion and Equity to find out resources, organizations, educational tools, and more info about what the university is doing to address racism within our community.
Use your voice to advocate for the things you care about. Encourage your friends, co-workers, and roommates to speak up for what they believe in and stand up for what they know is right. Listen to those around you, and always be willing to learn new things and understand new perspectives. Respect each other, and make sure to vote.