Censored classrooms: Staying politically correct in a classroom setting

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By Jessica Mitchell

With the college housing over 20,000 students, the different political and religious affiliations are immense. Instructors at the college speak in front of many diverse students every day, their language and speech never going unnoticed.

To avoid any offense, some people would suggest stifling language and opinions; other people believe it’s important to stray away from any form of censorship.

“When people try to ban information, it’s the same thing as trying to push your own religious beliefs on somebody, your own political values on somebody, and while I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing for people to hear various points of view, I think the purpose of college in particular is to allow students to open their world up to different views than their own,” said Mark Raduziner, department chair and professor, journalism and media communications.

Staying politically correct and avoiding offensive language may seem like an important aspect in the classroom, but the act of oppressing can hinder learning and growing for the students.

“I think it’s up to the professor to try to keep a balance there and allow everybody to voice their opinion; whether someone may be socially conservative, liberal, religious, or not religious at all,” Raduziner said. “That’s how you learn about life and the world around you.”

While some professors attempt to hide their religious and political affiliations for the sake of a censored classroom, Raduziner argues that having an uncensored classroom allows for a better learning experience.

“Most of the faculty at this college try to stand in the middle and try to have ownership to what their policies are – to having an open class while also having the academic freedom to be able to teach what they want and to express their own opinions,” Raduziner said. “If I would be allowed to express my own political opinions, when another student would say, ‘Okay, now hear my opinion’—well, I’m learning from them as much as they are learning from me.”

Constantly watching what is said while in the classroom seems to be a cumbersome task that some students find unimportant. Students Emily Miller and Connor Pierce both say they don’t take any offense to foul language.

“I don’t care if teachers cuss in class,” Miller said. “I don’t notice it half the time because I am so used to hearing it and doing it myself.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Pierce said. “Cursing in a classroom setting isn’t necessary but I understand it happens. I don’t know why people get so offended by it. It’s only words.”

While the college, some students, and even some faculty may frown upon cursing in a classroom setting, Raduziner said that there is a time and place for it.

“If it’s in context of a lesson then I think it can be used,” Raduziner said. “I realize people may be offended by [cussing], but it’s going to happen in speech. People just make those verbal blunders all the time. I think that they just happen and you just sort of apologize for it and move on.”

While having a censored-style classroom may avoid the chance of offense, it may also suppress discussion and learning on part of the students.

“I just think that students have to hear various points of view,” Raduziner said. “Then they need to draw a conclusion for themselves.”

Contact Jessica Mitchell, features editor, at jmitch54@jccc.edu.

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