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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Campus diversity also means diversity of opinion

The Antelope Newspaper Cover

Freedom of speech. We all have it, and we are constantly reminded of that fact. 

But what does it really mean to have the freedom of speech? Unfortunately, the answer to this question often seems to be lost to our generation. 

We have grown up in a society where everyone gets a prize, and everyone is special. We have been told to “do your thing,” “speak your mind,” “you’re beautiful,” “you can accomplish anything,” and “be confident.” 

While these statements alone are very positive, this incessant encouragement has led to the nature of entitlement embodied by our generation. This has become especially evident as our great nation has divided itself once again. 

This summer, we watched this country go into turmoil. It has become difficult to join the conversation on the subject, if a civil one even exists. 

Currently, many people in the United States are afraid to exercise their freedom of speech to share their opinions and beliefs. They remain silent out of fear of the backlash the other side may bring upon them. 

Right now at UNK and colleges across the country, students feel uncomfortable sharing their opinions. There are students that feel alone because they don’t know who to trust. They worry that, if they express their true opinions, they will become targets. They don’t want to cause conflict because they want to fit in with those surrounding them. No one should have to feel that way on this campus. 

Having the freedom of speech doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to put others down for exercising theirs. As the saying goes, “my right to swing my fist stops where another person’s nose begins”; our right to speak freely also has its limits. 

Here at UNK, we need to place ourselves above the actions that have been taken in larger cities by those that want to silence people with opinions other than their own. At UNK, we promote an environment in which everyone can take part in discussion in a respectful manner. A college such as this one should be a place in which students feel safe to express their beliefs. 

We are all so lucky to be living in a nation in which we can speak freely. But, as they say, “with freedom comes responsibility.” That has never been more true, especially as election season approaches. If we are all going to make it through the rest of 2020 in one piece, we must be mindful of others’ beliefs and accept that they may be different than our own. 

Don’t be afraid to exercise your freedom of speech, but in doing so, just be mindful of others. Allow everyone to take advantage of that privilege. It is not The Antelope’s job to promote a certain political agenda or tell people how to think; we report the news. 

But as a part of news reporting, it is our job to tell stories and allow individuals’ voices to be heard. We want to tell your stories, but before that can happen, we need you to be willing to confide in us. That can only happen if we all work together to make UNK a safe place to speak openly, even if we do not all agree on what is being said. 

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