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COMM 2381: Oral Communication

This research guide is built to assist all sections of COMM 2381 with their topics.

Legal/Policy Topics

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court Case

In the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling of 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 ruling that the government can't restrict nonprofit organizations from independent political expenditures. The case originated after Citizens United were not allowed to advertise their film critizing Hillary Clinton on television during her 2008 run for president.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

After hundreds of years of the inferior treatment of women and racial minorities, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or national origin. Some of the goals of this Act were to end voter discrimination and de facto segregation in public places such as schools, restaurants, and businesses.

Corporate Inversion

In an effort to pay less taxes or no taxes at all, some companies have chosen to legally relocate their companies overseas to countries that do not tax the same amount as America does but physically remain on American soil.

Federal Highway Act of 1956

Though the automobile had transformed the lives of Americans for almost fifty years, drivers had to rely on back roads and farm-to-market roads to get to and from most places. For cross country trips, most relied on roads such as Route 66 to get to where they were going. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 created the Interstate Highway System allowed for toll roads and freeways to be built nationwide to better serve drivers and travelers. 

Federal Minimum Wage

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 originally created the Federal Minimum Wage to ensure that employees would be paid a fair amount for the work they did and to make sure they were earning enough to live on. Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been set at $7.25 an hour. Some states such as Arkansas and Missouri offer more than the federal minimum while others are calling for a nationwide switch to giving employees a living wage instead of a minimum wage.

Immigration and Racism

"Immigration, process through which individuals become permanent residents or citizens of a new country. Historically, the process of immigration has been of great social, economic, and cultural benefit to states. The immigration experience is long and varied and has in many cases resulted in the development of multicultural societies; many modern states are characterized by a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities that have derived from previous periods of immigration."

Immigration. (n.d.) In Encyclopedia Britannica online. Retrieved from

Legalization of Marijuana

For several decades, there has been a concerted push to decriminalize or fully legalize marijuana on a national level. While some only wish to make medical marijuana easier for those who need to obtain, others want fully legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Currently, four states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana use while more than twenty have legalized medical marijuana.

Nathan Bedford Forrest Remains

As America continues to attempt to reconcile with its past, many have called for the removal of Confederate imagery and symbols from public buildings and schools. Memphis has found itself in the middle of this attempt due to Confederate general and one-time leader of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford Forrest's remains and statue being located in an area park.

Open Carry on College Campuses

One of the most controversial issues of today is the issue of bringing guns in public places including college campuses. Some states' concealed carry laws allow people with gun licenses to carry a weapon on their person as long as it remained out of the view of others.  Because of this, some colleges have now begun to allow students or faculty to legally carry their loaded weapons onto college campuses and into classrooms.  

Police Brutality

"Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians. 'Excessive use of force' means a force well beyond what would be necessary in order to handle a situation. Police brutality can be present in a number of ways. The most obvious form of police brutality is a physical form. Police officers can use nerve gas, batons, pepper spray, and guns in order to physically intimidate or even intentionally hurt civilians. Police brutality can also take the form of false arrests, verbal abuse, psychological intimidation, sexual abuse, police corruption, racial profiling, political repression and the improper use of Tasers."

What Is Police Brutality? (n.d.). In The Law Dictionary online. Retrieved from

Student Athlete Compensation (NCAA)

For years, proponents of paying college athletes have cited the amount of money student athletics bring into college campuses as more than enough to afford paying student-athletes more than just their school's cost of attendance or room and board. They are fighting to compensate student-athletes by regularly paying them just as other student employees are paid. On the other hand, opponents cite student amateurism and the full-ride scholarships that are already offered as reasons to continue to not pay student-athletes. 

United States / Cuba Relations

For the first time since Fidel Castro gained power and the failed Bay of Pigs offensive to remove him from his position in the late 50s and early 60s, America and Cuba are attempting to build a diplomatic relationship. While this move was applauded by some, others,  including Cuban immigrants and their families who were witness or victims of the brutal crackdown as Castro came to and solidified his power, disagreed with America's decision to reestablish ties with Cuba.