First Amendment website launching by end of November – University Star

Posted: November 16, 2019 at 9:44 am

The Division of Student Affairs is launching a new constitution-based website this month focusing on FAQs surrounding freedom of speech and the First Amendment.

According to Vice President of Student Affairs Joanne Smith, the website is meant to educate and inform students on their rights and what free speech entails.

Sometimes there can be confusion about what the First Amendment protects and what it does not protect; (the website is) an education tool, Smith said.

The site is currently in the works and expected to launch by Thanksgiving break, but no day has been set, according to Smith.

The target audience is primarily students but will be public and accessible to anyone. Smith said she believes the website is beneficial to anyone who visitsparticularly organizations and groups affiliated with the school.

Part of this is making sure people understand what the guidelines (for free speech and student protest) are as a university through Texas law, Smith said. Our goal as a university is to educate people about what is free speech and what is not free speech.

According to Smith, the First Amendment site will outline and define terms like hate speech. President of College Democrats at Texas State Trevor Newman thinks the implementation of a free speech and First Amendment information site will educate people on their rights and keep improving discourse and relationships among student activists and political groups on campus.

I think this site will help with political tension on campus if people go to that site and understand what people are (protesting), Newman said.

Newman believes the new site will aid the organizations members in understanding what they do as activists. Newman sees the website as having the potential to increase both positive and negative interactions when students are informed about how to use their First Amendment right on campus.

I think when you give students an open door to the First Amendment, and say, hey you can say whatever you want to on a college campus, it gives the possibility for positive and negative communication, Newman said.

Cameron Davis, accounting freshman, said he believes it is important for the university to introduce a website about free speech because of the factual and constitutional answers it can provide students. Davis said he sees the website being used for double-checking whether or not organizations are in line with what is featured on the site.

This site would create more discussion among students and as long as the information is constitutional, I see this as being an effective improvement to the school, Davis said.

While the site is not yet finished, it should be finalized near the end of November 2019 and accessible through the Student Affairs webpage at https://www.vpsa.txstate.edu/.

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First Amendment website launching by end of November - University Star

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