Mia Donte’ Knox En 1103-01 Ms. Kimbrough 29 June 2011 Freedom of Speech or Denial: An Analysis Of “Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus” The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

The article, “Protecting Freedom of Expression on The Campus,” by Derek Bok opens with a life changing scenario and information regarding the freedom of speech for those on the Harvard campus. Bok’s article voices his opinion about the First Amendment and should it make it okay to act upon racist acts, such as those that occurred on Harvard’s campus. As Bok stated in his essay, “two students hung Confederate flags in public view, upsetting students who equate the Confederacy with slavery.

A third student tried to protest the flags by displaying a swastika” (Bok 172).

This incident brought about many discussions and disagreements among many people on and off the campus. Bok writes a very sufficient and informative article by using pathos, ethos, and logos frequently. Bok’s article is strongly opinionated, even though it lacks concrete facts. He states many passionate points, making the reader more open to things he says in his work and to help understand how he personally feels about the essay.

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The way he states his opinion gives the reader room to feel the way he or she would like, but never forgetting his own voice. He uses pathos to appeal to the emotion of his readers.


By using words such as regret and stating that he completely shares the view of those who feel as if, “hanging a Confederate flag in public view or displaying a swastika in response is insensitive and unwise because any satisfaction it gives to the students who display these symbols is far outweighed by the discomfort is causes many others” (Bok 172). He portrays to the reader that he cares and does not approve of such heinous acts and allows the reader to feel him through these words. “Protecting Freedom of Expression on The Campus” shows that Bok possess ethos by showing he knows the law of the land and the guidelines of the school.

Bok states in his essay “ under the Supreme Court’s ruling, as I read them, the display of swastikas or Confederate flags clearly falls within the protection of the free-speech clause of the First Amendment and cannot be forbidden simply because it offends the feelings of many members of the community. This one statement gave him a certain right to speak. Bok’s essay is written with lots of logos in the way he states the things he knows and how he feels. Facts and opinions are a vital part of this article, seeing that it was written to appeal and inform.

His various statements such as “although it is unclear to what extent the First Amendment is enforceable against private institutions, I have difficulty understanding why a university such as Harvard should have less free speech than the surrounding society or that of a public university” (Bok 173), “the fact that speech is protected by the First Amendment does not necessarily mean that it is right, proper, or civil” (Bok 172) Bok uses his opinions backed by a few facts from his own knowledge to help persuade the reader to agree with his viewpoints brought forth. Protecting Freedom of Expression on The Campus” by Derek Bok is written based upon his own beliefs, facts, and some research. Bok’s article, however, lacks credibility due to the fact of his limited facts to back his own opinions. Although his essay fails to prove ethos without any substantial documentation, he comes close to making up for it with his passionate appeal to readers and his relevant, but not concrete data.

His main source is his own opinion and beliefs from what he has seen, heard, or experienced himself. So even though Bok article is a very good one, his lack of sources makes his statements questionable. Work Cited Bok, Derek. “Protecting Freedom of Expression on The Campus. ” Forming a Critical Perspective. Eds. Ann Spurlock, et al. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010. 267-270. Print.

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Campusbok. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from http://paperap.com/paper-on-freedom-of-speech/

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