Freedom of Speech | College of Liberal Arts
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FALL 2022 Freedom of Speech Essay Contest

Submission Deadline – November 4, 2022



  • 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  • Essays must be original, unpublished work of one student; only one essay per student may be submitted.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

1 - Erasing Speech – The Right to be Forgotten

Given that the right to free speech includes the right not to speak, some people defend a “right to be forgotten” – to expunge digital records of one’s past speech. Others contend that such a right would protect misrepresentation, a type of fraud. In your view, should we have such a legal right? How can a proper understanding of the concept of free speech help us to resolve this debate?

2 - Freedom of the Press

At a time when press freedom is increasingly under assault around the globe, what do you see as the chief requirements necessary for a government to respect freedom of the press? And what are the implications for restrictive measures that are presented as ensuring public safety or combatting misinformation?


  • Entries must be submitted electronically as WORD documents, in attachments to email sent to: Roxy Becker at 

Caution: no formats other than WORD; no attachments to texts, etc.

  • Also attach a completed and signed Entry Form.
  • Emails must be sent by midnight on Friday November 4, 2022.

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

Questions? Contact Roxy Becker at

A Sampling of Prize Winning Essays

Stay tuned for information on related lectures during UT’s Free Speech Week, October 17-21, 2022

Organizations Related to the First Amendment

Note: These organizations are listed merely to provide a convenient reference point for those interested in further research. Inclusion does not represent endorsement of the activities or positions advocated by any of these groups.