Free Speech Controversy at Virginia Tech

The student newspaper at Virginia Tech uses electronic screening software to filter out profanity and pornographic language from comments posted on its Web site. However, hate speech and slurs against minorities frequently get past the electronic system. As a result, the University Commission on Student Affairs is calling for the newspaper to ban all comments that are posted anonymously. Officials believe this would dramatically reduce offensive language. The commission recommends that the university strip funding for the student-run newspaper, television and radio stations, and other student publications.

But the editor of the newspaper states that students need an outlet to voice their opinions without fear of retaliation. By eliminating anonymous comments, the newspaper believes that students will not bring up controversial subjects for discussion.