The Right of Free Speech at COD

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The Right of Free Speech at COD

Anna Sieg, News Editor

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Everyone has the right to voice their opinion at COD, but a recent visit by a group with an anti-gay message tested the limits of free speech on campus. 

 

Not only can students share their beliefs around campus, but different organizations can rent tables in the SRC to share either their services or their opinions. Most recently, a group called Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment (H.O.M.E) set up their table in the SRC near the Student Life Lounge.. Many students spoke their opinions against this organization, such as Students for a Democratic Society

, which gave out their own fliers to combat H.O.M.E.’s message. 

 

According to their website, home60515.com, H.O.M.E. is concerned about homosexual issues because, “morality is the glue that holds societies together. We need to be concerned about moral issues. Homosexual issues are moral issues. And as we easily show in the pages of our website, there is nothing even remotely resembling moral equivalence between heterosexual activity and homosexual activity.” 

 

Although they are strictly against a specific group, their website makes it clear they are not a hate group, and they “believe in educating (homosexuals) about

the lifestyle, just as we believe smokers, for example, should be educated about their unhealthy lifestyle. It should also go without saying that such education is not a hateful act, as many misguided people would have you believe.” 

 

The Courier reached out to H.O.M.E. for an interview. The group responded said they would email a statement. The Courier never received any such statement.

 

On the other side of things, students may be wondering how a group like this is even able to rent a table at COD. Manager of Student Life Chuck Steele explained the legal matters. 

“It’s not so much a choice; we are following the law,” Steele said. “As a public institution, we are legally obligated to provide a space for distribution of printed material… but we cannot make any choices based on content,” Waubonsee Community College tried to stop H.O.M.E from coming into their school in 2015, resulting in a lawsuit where the college was sued by the group for violating their right to free speech. The only factors that allow COD to say “no” to a group is if the members are inciting violence or selling printed materials. Also, when any controversial group comes to campus, administrators, police officers and counselors are all notified in case any students need extra support or someone to talk to.

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