The South Alabama chapter promoted #CanWeTakeAJoke and our event this weekend to host a college debut. We set up a table in our student center, discussed our University’s free speech codes, and passed out copies of the Constitution for Freedom Day. We expected a responsive student body, however, we were surprised by a visit from campus police.
D.J. Parten, who leads our YAL chapter, is also President of the Students for Concealed Carry group on campus. This week the group members are expressing their right to protest by wearing visibly empty holsters on their hips. They have done this before to bring attention to the school’s gun policy, and wanted to try it again for the free speech event.
When three campus officers arrived, they accused D.J. of breaking campus policies and demanded a search. Not one of the members were armed, so the officers issued a citation. We all stayed calm even though the attention brought by police “triggered” a lot of talk from the students who witnessed it.
Ultimately, the tabling was a success. Many stayed and continued to table for hours after administration left the scene. Our Fight for Free Speech petitions filled up fast, leaving our YAL chapter feeling victorious.
Friday’s screening of Can We Take A Joke and our school’s fight for freedom is going to succeed, despite the pressures from administration.