California Lutheran University supports American constitutional ideals

On March 22, while in Beijing, China, first lady Michelle Obama expressed her thoughts on the importance of freedom of speech. She and her two daughters are traveling across the Chinese borders to experience life in a different culture.

“We respect the uniqueness of other cultures and societies, but when it comes to expressing yourself freely and worshipping as you choose and having open access to information, we believe those universal rights,” Obama said while at Peking University.

The right to one’s freedom of speech in the U.S. is a right that is always welcome at California Lutheran University. Students are not told what they can and cannot say. Students express themselves daily in debate classes and writing for the Echo. CLU wants to embrace the students’ rights of being an American.

A former CLU communications student, Kellie Blauvet has participated in many school debates.

“Debate gives students an opportunity to practice voicing their opinions and expressing their freedom of speech in an intelligent and civil manner,” Blauvet said.

Obama expressed in her speech that people in every part of the world should have the right to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions and emotions. She said most international students in America generally come from China and they learn about the U.S.’s way of life.

Although Obama’s speech was generally related to students studying abroad and the importance that this has on a students’ life, she briefly discussed on how the restriction of speech in other cultures is unjust and unfair. She kept these remarks short and clear.

While doing this, Obama not only discussed freedom of speech, but she exercised it.

CLU President Chris Kimball has been known to talk about his ideas of freedom of speech on campus and the rights for students to express themselves.

“As a communications major I think it is important that we have faculty that supports their students need to express themselves. I like that President Kimball stands up for us when questions are raised,” junior Jennifer Johnston said.

Obama told Peking students that studying abroad changes lives, changes points of views and ultimately helps others grow into knowledgeable adults.

Obama also expressed the importance of internet freedom in China. China has a tight grasp on what its people can do on the internet. Its internet is censored to social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as expressing human rights.

Obama also said in her speech, “It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media.”

“Living in other countries has drastically changed my point of view about the rights we have as Americans. We can say anything we want and look at anything online without worrying about the government,” junior Jorge Luis said.

At CLU and in the U.S., we have rights that most other countries don’t have. Obama is trying to change that so other countries can learn and express thoughts freely.


Erin Chisolm
Staff Writer
Published April 4, 2014