News Comment #2

August 30, 2017

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines free speech as the legal right to express one’s opinions freely. This is a basic definition doesn’t factor in the complexities of said legal right. Therefore I conducted research on free speech (which took me to the United States Courts This government website outlines and simplifies the concept of free speech  (see here); however after all my research:  I do not understand the in depth notion of free speech.

NBC News reported that a visiting assistant sociology professor from the University of Tampa was fired because he implied (in a tweet), that hurricane Harvey was “instant karma” for the Texas voting republican (i.e. for Trump). After backlash he deleted the tweet and his profile picture and said that he “never meant to wish ill will upon any group.” This didn’t help because he has already been replaced.

I understand that employees of an organization essentially (whether directly or indirectly) represent said organization. The University of Tampa is a private institution, and reserves the right to protect its image. However, If someone has the legal right to express their opinions freely, how can they be penalized for it? The term free speech is extremely misleading, speech isn’t free but rather legally protected (sometimes) and I find it difficult to understand the legalities and consequences that come with ‘free speech.’

See news story here.

One Response to “News Comment #2”

  1.   fuglsang said:

    First, Storey is not very bright. Second, the college has the right to fire him. The First Amendment only forbids government from censoring speech. The university has the right to protect itself, and if having Storey on staff brings unwanted negative publicity, they can show him the door.

    Reate the news comments to class discussion, Jesseca. Obviously the First Amendment is on the agenda, but this week we talked about news values. This story has currency, partly because of the free speech angle, but also because it is another example of how divisive our society has become.

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