The University of Iowa YAL chapter has started this week off strong with events promoting free speech on campus.
Yesterday, March 27, our chapter had a successful activism event, opening up a dialogue about free speech with our fellow students. Many people took interest in the large beach ball and happily exercised their first amendment right. We collected signatures from people who were interested in our mission to revise the speech codes at the University of Iowa. Our chapter has been working with FIRE this year to change vague wording in our campus speech codes, and with enough signatures we hope to petition the student government to take up our cause. In addition to collecting signatures, we informed fellow students about a free speech forum that was the following day.
On March 28, we handed out pocket constitutions at the Free Speech Forum that was put on by the Graduate Student Government at the university. The forum included a variety of speakers that discussed free speech in a university setting. Ana Navarro from CNN was the keynote speaker. When we were handing out constitutions, we were getting eyed by some university staff members and a couple of security officers that were there patrolling the event.
Despite the intense looks we received, the event was quite successful for us. We handed out almost every pocket constitution that we had brought to the event. Many recipients were quite enthusiastic that we were there, and some even engaged in conversation with us about our cause and the organization. Betsy Pearson, our Chapter President, gained some attention from journalists when she took the opportunity to ask Ana Navarro a question about the University of Iowa’s unconstitutional speech codes following Navarro’s speech. Pearson had three people approach her afterwards asking to get in contact with her to learn more about the university’s speech codes and what our YAL chapter is trying to do to change them.Published in