Tonight, at a discussion section for a public speaking Communication course (CMN 1) at University of California at Davis, a supposedly "liberal" university, apparently free speech isn't so free. PowerPoint and all computer-based presentation programs (probably to act as political cover for the prior), banned with no explanation. Speech topic criteria: "nothing that is offensive to anyone." Thesis statements shall be submitted for approval in advance. First question: is this customary? Granted it is generally considered touchy to talk about sex, religion and politics with strangers but what is the limit? In a pure liberal university, shouldn't I be allowed to give an informative speech on the history of dildos in Nazi Germany?
What are some suggested course of actions for students like myself to persue in the interest of *real* academic openness? Such a policy seems to put everyone in a position of impossibly high standards: getting permission and approval of everyone lest risk your grade, social status, etc. Isn't this equivalent to completely handing over control of the classroom to the weirdest, shyest and most delicate person in the room? Don't get me wrong, I think people often unintentionally forget about decency (needs of others) and might try a little harder to act like how our grandparents did. My expection from a university is that no subject is taboo, otherwise we're being indoctrinated with ignorance.