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HPU students discussed the protection of hate speech

    By Marthe Nymoen - Reporter. December 13, 2017 - 9:00 am

More than 70 students and faculty attended the discussion. Photo by Marthe Nymoen.

The Hawaii Pacific University College of Liberal Arts hosted a discussion on hate speech on Nov. 13. The conversation was led and moderated by students.

Four students, from different majors, presented their definition of hate speech and whether or not it should be protected. After the presentation, the discussion was opened up to the audience. More than 70 students and professors attended the event.

The discussion was part of a series of events called Understanding Our World: Deconstructing Hate and Our Responses to It. The series concluded with the Nov. 18 concert, Songs of Protest, which examined the same questions from an artistic perspective.

Junior psychology and criminal justice major Caroline Skinner speaks at the discussion. Photo by Marthe Nymoen.

Junior psychology and criminal justice major Caroline Skinner, who presented said, “it is not a question about whether hate speech should be protected or not, but it is a question about what we value.”

Skinner expected more negative feedback from the audience as she said, “I was positively surprised that we got to the point in the discussion where we could talk about the actual root of the problem.”

The majority argued that the government’s restrictions on hate speech would not solve the problem, but make it worse.

The event organizer Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Allison J. Gough, said the event exceeded her expectations. “I always knew we had great students, but I was blown away by the quality of the panel, the presentations and the persuasion.”

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