What Does a Constitutional Right Mean? Essay

America has long been recognized as the ultimate shrine to the individual. What other country has a long piece of parchment paper dedicated to the unimpeded independence of its citizens? The Constitution is the United States’ most valuable feature. The only country to formally recognize all men are created equal took measures to ensure all men are treated as equals. Arguably the most important right set forth by the Founding Fathers’ pen is the right to free speech. American citizens have a pass to express their beliefs and ideals when and how they choose. A person, corporation, or institution found infringing on free speech is often publicly denounced as unpatriotic and undemocratic. Violations of the Constitution can even result in imprisonment. It seems some establishments of higher learning have forgotten the consequences of flouting the rights of individuals. Students and faculty alike have been denied the ability to communicate freely. Universities exist to provide an environment for further education and self-discovery. Limiting the information available hobbles minds and opinions. Restricting access to the First Amendment right of free speech destroys any chance of diversity and further development of mind. These two elements are crucial to the function of any college or university.

College is not only a time of self-discovery but a time for developing a greater awareness of the world. “Higher education” means being exposed to a wide variety of belief systems, cultures, knowledge, and people. Diversity is an essential component of producing educated graduates. If everyone thought the same, society would not have the light bulb, the iPhone, or the wheel. Some universities, however, eschew multiplicity in favor of control. …

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…ntirely. Fear, paranoia, and ignorance became pandemics. When individuals’ rights are handicapped, the human being is degraded to an inferior state. Banning or obstructing free speech opens a gateway to the same kind of degradation. Where students are promised freedom and enlightenment, they are met with shackles and a rulebook.What does a constitutional right mean? Yes, it’s some fancy words scribbled upon a ragged length of paper. But that’s missing the point. America’s Constitution sets us apart. We are different because of that ragged length of paper. And being different, being extraordinary does not mean settling for ignorance. Extraordinary means shouting to the world our thoughts, feelings, realizations, hopes, fears, doubts, and desires. What better place to transform into a veritable din of expression than a university: the place you go to find yourself.


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