In his essay “Free-Speech Follies”, Stanley Fish makes a point by stating that the academy often invokes the First Amendment when faced by difficult situations though the issues they raise are not at all related to free speech. The First Amendment, which allows people to voice their thoughts and opinions with exceptions on obscenity, defamation, harassment, and the like, protects every individual’s freedom of speech. As exemplified in “Free-Speech Follies”, many statements voiced in the academe do not concern free speech, but are just used in college campuses to justify people’s actions and judgments. These colleges even consider themselves as “First Amendment heroes” after bringing up the First Amendment. Thus, I believe that the First Amendment should not be invoked in the academy for non-free speech related issues and be used as a cover-up in making wrong judgment or decisions. Nevertheless, real free speech issues should involve one’s own opinion and follow responsibilities.
First, the First Amendment should not be used to avoid controversies that arise from non-free speech issues. In Stanley Fish’s example, the Harvard English Department first invited and then cancelled the invitation for a poet who showed anti-Semitic views. The department again re-invited the writer, saying that the decision stood by the First Amendment.