Free Speech, Hate Speech and Campus Life

Conversation Guide

When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with our friends, blast our thoughts and feelings to our followers and practice free speech. In this era of being connected all the time, we long to feel safe, while at the same time we are exposed via social media. How can we best protect free speech . . . and our kids? How do we distinguish between disagreement, bullying and hate speech? Are there areas of common ground to be found? This conversation may provide a sense of balance for both older and younger adults.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Free Speech, Hate Speech and Campus Life?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • What norms do you follow when expressing your opinion? I.e. do you hold back, attempt to persuade others, “let it fly” or ???
  • What do you consider hate speech?
  • What rules or norms should there be at colleges and universities?
  • Where is the balance between protection of free speech and codes of conduct?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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Thank You!

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