Center for Civic Engagement

Submissions sought in newly created Student Freedom of Speech Contest

Freedom of Speech

icon of a calendarFebruary 9, 2024

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Submissions sought in newly created Student Freedom of Speech Contest
Freedom of Speech

Oakland University has created a new contest inviting students to express their opinions on free speech issues. Perhaps the most well-known and revered American constitutional right, freedom of speech has generated countless debates throughout the nation’s history and continues to fuel spirited discussions, particularly on college campuses.   

Oakland University’s Center for Civic Engagement, in partnership with the Office of the President, has established the Student Freedom of Speech Contest to support and promote healthy dialogue on the role of free speech in American government and democracy.

“The OU Student Freedom of Speech Contest is a great example of how students can take a simple question and turn it into a great civic engagement project. I’m grateful to state Rep. Donni Steele who brought us this idea,” said Dave Dulio, distinguished professor of political science and director of the Center for Civic Engagement.

“It’s a great opportunity to bolster civic learning on campus, and we look forward to seeing the entries of students from across campus. I am proud to have President Pescovitz’s support for the Center for Civic Engagement’s efforts generally, and specifically for this project that is not only about civic learning, but student success.” 

This year’s contest invites students to address the following question:

“Is freedom of speech a necessity in order to have a healthy democracy?” 

Submissions can be presented in various formats. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Essay (1,000-word maximum)
  • Video (5-minute maximum)
  • Poem
  • Audio recording (5-minute maximum)
  • Drawing, painting, etc.

The winning submission will receive a $2,000 cash prize.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of OU faculty and external experts, using a rubric that has five criteria where each is scored on a scale of 1-10:

  • The effectiveness in addressing the prompt
  • The use examples to support the claims made in the submission
  • The use of unique and/or personal insights
  • The use of a genuine tone and approach specific to the individual student
  • Originality

Any full-time OU student is eligible to participate.

Submissions are due by Monday, April 1 and must be submitted via this Google Form.

For more information on the Student Freedom of Speech Contest, email Dave Dulio at [email protected].


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