Constitution Week at the University of New Mexico

YAL’s celebration Constitution Week at the University of New Mexico consisted of two main events: An informal debate about Syria and a free speech wall.

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The festivities started off with our chapter hosting an informal debate and discussion on the constitutionality and policy of military intervention in Syria. Being the liberty-minded individuals that we are, everyone on the pro-intervention side was merely arguing to play devil’s advocate. The exercise helped all of us, particularly the new members, sharpen our debate skills and respond effectively to opposing arguments — important skills for any liberty activist.

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The next day, we constructed a giant Free Speech Wall in the high traffic central plaza on campus. Although it was a Friday and the wall was only up for eight hours, the entire wall was filled up by students — some even complained about having trouble finding a space to write.

Pocket Constitutions flew off our table like candy!

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One focus of the activism project was to bring attention to the university’s red light rating on its speech codes from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Several harassment and bias policies reach far beyond  what is considered to be constitutionally unprotected speech, infringing on our first amendment rights.

Passersby were encouraged by our plans to challenge the policies. A student senator who visited our table was especially excited by changing these policies and offered to help us write student government legislation to recommend the re-evaluation of these policies. We are currently in the process of drafting this legislation.

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With the success of the free speech wall, the first big, public activism project by our chapter on the UNM campus, I think it is safe to say that our chapter is off to a great start!

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