Free Speech at Wichita State University

The Young Americans for Liberty at Wichita State University held two Free Speech Ball events to protest, challenge, and educate other students about our “free speech zones”.  

The first event, held Oct. 3, was very successful.  The chapter, accompanied by Oklahoma State Chair Erik Cooper and an LI Field Representative, collected 100 signatures endorsing the Chicago principles on campus.  The ball was highly popular with students who enjoyed getting political, philosophical, and down right funny. Towards the end of the event, a professor approached the chapter president about sending her students to the next event for extra credit.  

The campus police did show up about 2.5 hours into the first event.  After taking down the ID number of the chapter president and checking the ball for “hate speech,” the police told the chapter to carry on and they were not asked to move into a “free speech zone”.  

The second event was held on Oct. 11.  This event lasted about three hours and the chapter collected 75 signatures endorsing the Chicago principles. 

Both events sparked conversation about what free speech really is.  The overwhelming majority of students (and many faculty members as well) were totally unaware that there were “free speech zones” on campus and most of these students were outraged at the thought.  We hope these events, coupled with our next one planned for Oct 31, will spark a discussion on reforming the campus speech code.

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