This morning – January 25th – Young Americans for Liberty held their first event on campus at the University of Central Arkansas. UCA is a yellow light university according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education due to a policy put in place last semester that restricts free speech to a zone with a fifty foot radius in the center of campus. Within the free speech zone all speech is protected (not including any abuse or harassment) but outside of the zone any speech must be approved by the administration or risk being silenced or even face punishment for speaking out.
We did not face any intervention from the administration or the campus police today, which sets an even more dangerous precedent. Instead of limiting all free speech, the policy is a tool the university has, that can be used at any time to silence any voices the university deems unsavory for any reason. The biggest issue with this is that because of the inconsistent application of this policy, a majority of students we talked to today had no idea that these policies even existed and many times we were even asked why the university would be able or need to implement policies such as this one.
At the end of the day we ended up with fifty three signatures on our petition to get rid of this policy that violates the rights of over 12,000 students and over 700 faculty members, and many more embraced the opportunity to exercise their First Amendment rights to write on our free speech ball.
This was a fun day talking to and educating other students about their constitutional rights and other principles that YAL stands for, as well as letting other students that love the Constitution and liberty that they are not alone in this fight for our rights.