September 17th marked the 225th anniversary of the week the Constitution was signed and ratified by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia so many years ago. Constitution Week is how we, Young Americans for Liberty, celebrate and remind our fellow students and citizens of the importance and origin of all freedom in the United States.
Constitution Week is coming to an end, and students at Auburn University have been affected now more than ever.
Above, our team stands with pride over the completed project that caused so many issues.
Auburn YAL worked hard these past two weeks in order to get prepared for Constitution Week. We were under an incredibly strained time schedule for us to work, as our last event with our Drowning in Student Loan Debt Dunk Booth had been delayed a week and eaten up half of our preparation time for Constitution Week.
Even with our strained schedule, we managed to spread the word of our Free Speech Zone Protest and our Spreading the Message of Liberty events on campus through an opportune newspaper article in the university paper, The Auburn Plainsman, and fliers we spread around campus. Neither would have been possible without the dedication of our Director of Communications and Recruitment, Cely Thompson, and an old president and now a valued advisor to the club, Eric Philips.
Above, our article in the Auburn Plainsman featuring AU YAL President Forest Warren and officer Cely Thompson.
Cely managed to contact a Plainsman journalist and snagged us an in-depth interview for the upcoming paper that released the day of our event, garnering us more attention than ever before. We were able to include in the article information that pointed in our direction readers who were either intrigued by the objectives of our club, or already understood the concept of liberty and craved to be involved in the liberty movement.
Eric provided us with a fantastic flyer that had the contact information of our university’s president, Dr. Gouge. We posted fliers on billboards in many of the buildings throughout campus. The flyers were incredibly popular by our tabling zone, and dozens of visitors walked away with eyes intently focused on the information printed on the flyer. The flyer held an attractive easy to understand and simple design that informed students about our Open Air Forum (free speech zone) that occupied less than one percent of the entire campus and the ability of university officials to selectively censor our speech on campus.
Above, a group of sorority girls stand in support of free speech with our “Fight Back” flyer, along with the petition for Campus Wide Free Speech.
Our petition for “Campus Wide Free Speech” turned out incredibly successful. We managed to pull in well over a hundred signatures, and we plan to continue to place more flyers around campus, and ask for more people to sign our petition until we reach a larger portion of the campus population. Once we achieve a greater number, then we will present the petition to the president of the university and expose to him the demand for free speech on campus. The purpose of the petition is simple: we want to protect our first amendment on campus, but we want to do it peacefully if possible. If we can avoid raising negative tensions with the administration, then we will. Enemies will provide us, and others of the liberty movement, with nothing more than obstacles and useless bureaucratic red tape that will hinder our ideas.
As President of AU YAL, I have a goal to make allies within the university, allies that we can come to rely on, who will respect our Young Americans for Liberty chapter, our members, and our ideals. By progressing our chapter’s goals with this tactic the university may even begin to consider our perspective on regulations and liberty. If the university begins to consider our perspective, then perhaps one day we will not need to collect signatures for our rights.
The popularity of the Free Speech Wall on campus was phenomenal. We had a large collective of participants. Most were students, however, we also attracted professors, children, soldiers, and even police officers. One officer in particular, Officer Hanners, asked to sign our wall. He wrote “End the Fed” in red marker on the board. This excited our members, and we decided to give him various books (such as The Law, After the Welfare State, Morality of Capitalism, and more). We hope to have him as a speaker at an event we are hosting in the future where we inform students how they should handle law enforcement that might be attempting to violate your rights, and what exactly are your rights.
Above, a soldier exercises his right to free speech and a mother and daughter sign the Free Speech Wall together.
Above, Chapter President Forest Warren, dressed as a Guantanamo Bay Detainee, shakes hands with Officer Hanners after gifting him four economic liberty books.
Our YAL members were enthusiastic enough to wear costumes during our event. We had a mock TSA outfit, YALers dressed up as Guantanamo Bay detainees, and “Free Speech T-Shirts” on many of our other members who attended the event.
Above, Director of Communications and Recruitment Cely Thompson trying on the mock TSA security shirt with a pin that has “Airport Security Strip Search Unit” engraved into it.
Our YALers use the mock TSA security uniform to chant “Who wants to be groped?” while handing out pocket Constitutions on the concourse. This would be a great costume to use on any campus.
Above, Michael Boroden is working as a portable “Exercise the 1st Amendment” activity.
Michael Boroden is one of our more active members. He recently became our Director of Operations because of his determination and the constant advice he suggested for our events. Michael coordinates our events to be more efficient while simultaneously attracting a larger audience. His hard work is what led to the development of the “Free Speech Shirt”, the coordination of our members, and the overall success of the event.
Above, Cuylor is pulling in students to sign either his shirt or our Free Speech Wall.
We also had the return of the much needed help from Cuylor Reeves. Cuylor is always incredibly helpful to our chapter by pitching ideas, volunteering for both the small and big obstacles, providing funding, and overall just giving our group the enthusiasm we need to get through the stress of completing our events.
Above, the crowd and line begin to build up as the audience is reading what others have to say on the wall, what our members are telling them about Auburn’s regulations over free speech, and a few eager students get pocket Constitutions from the table after signing the petition.
We are receiving more and more support from our elders and professors who frequent campus. They are now coming by our events and asking to donate to our chapter. The message of the Constitution seems to be revitalized on Auburn’s campus with energy not seen in years. Over 30 more students signed up for the YAL email list on top of the petition signers who joined, bringing our audience to around 400 members!
This campus is changing fast, and it is only just beginning.