The Renegade Rip

Staff Editorial- An area for all to respect and enjoy

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Free speech is always taken to extremes.
Either someone is very timid about their opinions or they are very open and verbal with their opinions. Bakersfield College has a Free Speech area that is open to anyone who wishes to share an opinion about a cause or a topic.
Many of us have noticed that over the past few weeks this area has been used for clubs to recruit new members, vendors selling posters and jewelry, and even as a stage to send a religious message.
For the rest of us, do we really know where this area is? Why does it matter to us?
The Free Speech area is located in the grass in front of the main entrance to the Campus Center. It stretches to the end of the cafeteria. Unless it’s a hard-hitting subject, nobody really pays attention to what is going on. BC students seem to enjoy the area because of the shade the large trees provide and the different places to sit, so it really doesn’t matter to the most of us what is going on out there.
BC’s Free Speech policy is that students, community members, or organizations that would like to use the Free Speech area are required to fill out a permit in Campus Center 4, for the use of the area.
The best use of this area is during club week when many clubs set up a table to try to recruit new members or to grow interest in their club or upcoming events. The Agriculture Club was handing out fruit and M.E.Ch.A. members were playing music and dancing in front of their table.
Most tables or individuals go practically unvisited unless they are flagging you down and don’t take no for an answer.
In-Shape City and Wells Fargo uses it every so often to try and sign up new members, but they do it so often that the people running the table look bored and uninterested in being there.
Not everyone is struggling to grab attention. One vendor sells jewelry and other accessories every week, and they seem to have a steady stream of customers.
In the first weeks of the semester, a crowd has been growing around one former student who is sending his religious message to anyone within close earshot. Just last semester, we had a group of people with large signs about anti-abortion. Those individuals seem to attract people for all the wrong reasons, but at least they are using the Free Speech area to their advantage.
We saw people upset with the way these people use the area because they didn’t agree with their messages.
You have to remember that you have every right to use that same area as any other person at BC. If you don’t agree with their beliefs, then stand out there one day and make your message heard.
We have a Free Speech area for a reason. Remember, free speech is a two-way street and it should always stay that way.

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Staff Editorial- An area for all to respect and enjoy