Rights and Responsibilities of Free Speech

Rights and Responsibilities of Free Speech

Dr. John O'Malley gave a lecture at the C-Tel Presentation Hall at Sheridan College Wednesday evening entitled “The Ethics of the Spoken Word: the College, the Faculty, the Student". Dr. O'Malley is the Vice President of Lone Star Community College-Kingwood in Houston, TX.

When asked the question of how one reconciles the freedom of speech with the responsibilities of free speech, particularly in a campus setting, he philosophized.

Dr. O'Malley says that if fear is removed and an atmosphere of growth is promoted, they “could get somewhere.” However, he adds, every day there are court cases about someone not being satisfied or pleased by what someone else says. But that's what the First Amendment is all about, he says.

For example, Dr. O'Malley, a Conservative, talks about the recent Snider vs. Phelps, a case in which the US Supreme Court ruled that the pastor and supporters of the Westboro Church in Topeka, Kansas are within their rights of free speech when protesting at military funerals. Dr. O'Malley is quick to say he considers what the church members are doing is “vile stuff...there can't be anything that I can say that is worse than what they did.” On the other hand, he says.

Dr. O'Malley adds that we need to – even if we don't like what a person has to say – honor and respect the fact that we are all working under the same Constitutional system. For example, he tells us.

This is the second year Sheridan College invited Dr. O'Malley to give an Ethics Lecture. The event was supported in part by the Dr. Seymour and Mrs. Muriel Thickman Lecture Endowment and the Chamberlain Free Enterprise Lecture Endowment.

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