BBT Objectivism
BBT Objectivism

The University of Texas at Austin

Freedom of Speech Essay Contest

Spring 2018


  • First Prize - $1500
  • Second Prize - $1000
  • Third Prize - $700


  • All undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin, regardless of their area of study.
  • Students who may have participated in previous years’ versions of this contest are eligible, regardless of whether they won a prize.


  • Essays must be between 1600-2000 words in length.
  • Essays must be original, unpublished work of one student; only one essay per student may be submitted.
  • Essays must identify which question (of the two options) you are answering and must be typed in 12-point font in English, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and numbered pages.
  • Submissions will be judged anonymously. Identifying information is requested on the accompanying Entry Form (see below), but no identifying references, such as your name or professors’ names, should appear in your essay.

Choose between the following 2 topics

  • Freedom of the Press - Should the press enjoy the same freedom of speech as the ordinary citizen, or should it have less freedom, or more (in the form of “shield laws” protecting journalists from certain legal requirements, for example, or in the form of government regulations aimed to facilitate the press’ performing a public service)? In explaining and defending your view, be sure to address the question of who should qualify as members of “the press.”
  • General Condition of Freedom of Speech - What do you deem the greatest threat to freedom of speech in the US today? And what do you regard as the most effective means of combatting it? Fully explain and defend your views.


  • Entries may be either hand delivered or physically mailed. No e-mailed or texted or faxed entries will be accepted
  • Provide four stapled copies of your essay, along with a completed and signed Entry Form.
  • Mailed essays must be postmarked by 9 a.m. on Friday, February 23rd, 2018.
  • Hand-delivered essays must be submitted by 9 a.m. on Friday, February 23rd, 2018.

NB: Entries that do not comply with all of the above rules will be excluded.

Mailing Address:

UT Freedom of Speech Essay Contest
Department of Philosophy
University of Texas at Austin
2210 Speedway, Stop C3500
Austin, Texas 78712

Drop Off Locations for Hand Delivery:

Waggener (WAG) 231 – please slide under the door

Waggener (WAG) 316 – Mailbox for Roxy Becker - Note: this office is only open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm

Please note that no materials will be returned.

Questions? Contact Roxy Becker at

Free Speech - let's talk about it ...


Sponsored by the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism and the Department of Philosophy