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Faces of Roane State
US Constitution

The Cost of Free Speech

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment embodies diversity in the United States. It says that all ideas are welcome, that debate should be encouraged, that minority opinions should be heard, and that the nation is stronger when citizens can freely express themselves.

For this year's diversity contest, we want you to address a hard, central question. In todays climate, is the First Amendment fact or fiction?

For example, social media allows all citizens to become their own media outlet. Yet expressing your ideas on social media can affect your employment and your relationships with others.

Political debate has become increasingly divisive to the extent that even scientific data is often politicized.

On college campuses, the terms trigger warning and safe spaces have become points of considerable debate.

To help you explore this challenging topic, consider the following questions.

Regarding free speech on campuses, consider other perspectives. Using this story from NPRs On The Media called Kids These Days reflect on the purposes and implementations of trigger warnings and intellectual safe spaces on college campuses. 

Additional Resources

Article by Brown Universitys president on freedom of expression.

Contest Details

Apply to enter the contest by March 1. Entries will be due March 13.

Students may enter in two categories: Go ahead and start thinking about your potential project.

To enter, log in to Momentum and select the Diversity Contest 2016/17 course.


Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in each category.


For contest questions, please contact Valerie Herd, (865) 354-3000 ext. 4238,

What is Faces of Roane State?

Faces of Roane State is a celebration of your story, your history and your culture.

Faces of Roane State is about expression. Faces of Roane State embraces sharing and building a culture that appreciates students' unique lives and points of view.

Faces of Roane State is about speaking up and saying, "This is who I am." Faces of Roane State is about you.

Previous Diversity Contests

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Roane State Community College is a TBR and AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by Roane State. View full non-discrimination policy.

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