College of Liberal Arts

Free Speech Essay Contest Deadline

Monday Mar 6, 2017 9:00 AM - 9:00 AM | Campuswide


  • 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 1600-2500 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  • Essays must be original, unpublished work of one student; only one essay per student may be submitted.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 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

  • Hate Speech - Should hate speech be subject to tighter legal restrictions than other speech? Why or why not? Thoroughly examine the pros and cons of each answer. In the course of defending your position, be sure to address: What is hate speech, and what isn’t it? What yardstick should be used, to determine the difference?
  • Classifications of Speech - In arguing about freedom of speech, people frequently invoke different categories of speech (such as political, artistic, commercial, religious, and so on), contending that some of these warrant greater legal protection than others. Do they? Why or why not? In the course of defending your position, be sure to consider the bases for such classifications of speech, as well as the grounds for the law’s treating these classes in different ways, providing stronger protection for some, and weaker protection, for others.


  • 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 Monday, March 6th, 2017.
  • Hand-delivered essays must be submitted by 9 a.m. on Monday, March 6th, 2017.

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

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