Free Speech at Grand Valley State University

This past Friday,  Young Americans for Liberty at Grand Valley State University conducted the legendary free speech ball. Setting up at 10:00 A.M., I teamed up with my co-state chair and the Western Michigan chapter president, Evan Oudekerk, as well as Michigan Leadership Institute representatives, Nathan Berning and Rebekah Beeton. For a solid four hours we rolled the free speech ball around the clocktower in the center of our campus, drawing in people of all political backgrounds to write whatever they chose. I was shocked to hear students’ reactions; Many were overwhelmed and felt that while free speech was allowed, they were never encouraged to speak their minds. I spoke with one student who stated, “This is hard, I feel like I’m not supposed to say whatever I want.” Many students, however, were massively in support of the idea of free speech. Only on three separate occasions was there an adverse reaction to our free speech ball – out of dozens, well into the hundreds range of students who either walked by or interacted with us. With the massive success that was my first free speech ball, I am already planning a date for another. Free speech is a pressing issue, possibly one of the most important in society today.

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