Free Speech Ball of Irony

On Friday, September 29th – approximately one week following the Free Speech Week fiasco and subsequent protests which made campus resemble a warzone – West Coast Regional Director Nathan Fatal and Northern California Field Representative of the Leadership Institute Isaac Edikauskas came to campus on the calmer day of the week to arrange another Free Speech Ball engagement on Sproul. There was a steady rotation of chapter members assisting Nathan and Isaac with signups throughout the day which was filled with a promising interaction of a diversity of opinions. Many students approached the ball curious to read what was already written or volunteered to add their own message. The Free Speech Ball was amusingly inundated with Marxist and communist rhetoric, right-wing rhetoric, free speech sentiments, and advantageous self-promotions with Instagram and Twitter usernames scattered around the political and free speech messages. Most students merely wanted to sign the ball and expressed hesitation signing the petition and signup sheet because they were concerned about their information being revealed despite firm reassurance of the confidentiality of their signature. This hesitation we encountered of students who shared solidarity with the elimination of free speech restriction truly reflects the anxieties of doxing in the politically charged atmosphere of Berkeley. However regardless of hesitation, we still obtained 100+ signatures on the petition and potential sign-ups which was an infinitely more successful attempt at campus engagement than our previous attempt.


By: Brooke Aghakhan

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