Line drawn between rights, hate speech

Mathea Durica, Local Editor

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Faculty members Bob Stuewer and Kim Sargent from the college of EMS’ student success programs gave a Stop the Hate seminar on the 1st Amendment verses hate speech on Nov. 7.


Stuewer and Sargent educated the crowd of nearly 30 students on how to better understand the definition of a hate crime.


They defined hate crimes as bias-motivated violence.


Perpetrators can target groups or individuals based on categories, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and age.


“We’ve had incidents here over the years,” Sargent said. “It’s important, I think, as a college campus that we teach students about these issues and help influence them to make a better college.”


The main focus of this seminar was to help our students recognize the difference between what falls under our 1st Amendment rights and what is considered hate speech.


Stuewer and Sargent wanted to educate the students on this issue, so if they were to ever witness a hate crime, they would know how to handle it.


They agreed that the idea behind the Stop the Hate series is to better educate our students and staff.


Moreover, it enhances the shaping of our university.


“I feel it’s important to bring in anecdotes or examples that happened here on this campus so students can say, ‘Whoa, these things happen here on campus.’ It just creates a little more awareness,” Stuewer said.


The seminar was meant to be interactive so the students who were in attendance would be able to voice their opinions and thoughts on the topic.


“I thought the presentation was informative, but I wish we were able to learn more about how to change this [hate crimes],” freshman Ashley Wojtalewicz said.


Wojtalewicz also stated that she was able to learn more about how hate crimes deal with the 1st Amendment and what types of situations are covered by it.


Stuewer and Sargent hoped that, with these types of seminars, students and staff members could be able to recognize when a hate crime is being committed on campus, and they can learn how to intervene and help keep our campus a more peaceful place.

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