Hate speech and free speech are controversial and misconstrued ideas in and of themselves, but the actions taken by Cleveland State University’s President, Ronald M. Berkman blurs the lines between these two concepts even further. A stance was taken by Mr. Berkman, but his adherence to the belief in the first amendment gave way to another wave of controversy. Students of Cleveland State University responded with posters that countered the anti-LGBTQ+ posters.
Issues of this caliber involving hate speech always spark activist to spear head effective discourse that would remedy the sickening views expressed in any form of hate speech, and Mr. Berkman, even though, he only explicitly stated this after receiving more retaliation from the students who felt his initial words on the issue were too lenient and in favor of hate speech, states that he doesn’t endorse hate speech, but is willing to have an open discussion with the students of his campus.
It’s written in law that this type of slanderous speech can’t be stopped by the University, the posters were only taken down because they didn’t abide by the rules of posting things on the campus, opening the door for more discussion on how to deal with hate speech when the consequence of this type of speech maybe harmful towards the groups it was directed towards. How should free speech be protected, and how should hate speech be dealt with? The answer to this query may be the one of the largest issues that is dealt with in this new age of information where any minute thought that crosses someone’s mind can be posted.
However, while answering the question of approaching subjects of hate speech and free speech action is being taken by people who fall on both sides of the argument. Some protesters are taking to the streets with signs, held hands, and chants of unity, while others are burning torches, raising fist, and chanting division. The turmoil that lingers over the United States promotes an atmosphere of fear, and that is the exact feeling promoted through the posters on Cleveland State University’s campus.
The University's President has offered an open discussion about the issues of hate speech on campus, so that the students affected by it can voice their concerns. Nevertheless, the complex narrative of hates speech in the United States is woven into the seams of this countries creation and possibly has no clear end, but through educated discourse on the issue, at least on the Cleveland State University campus, may lead to some positive changes.