KU Students Exercise Free Speech for Constitution Week!

Free Speech Wall

Many KU jayhawkers came up to KU YAL’s free speech board surprised that they could write anything they could think of, many flabbergasted at such a claim! This was all done with support from KU NORML and the members within our group. We strongly encouraged students to support first amendment rights as we spent over 5 hours outside in the beautiful kansas fall weather out in front of Watson Library on campus. 

KU YAL Group!

We actively educated students on the extreme restrictions on free speech here on campus. When KU YAL questioned our administration on where “free speech zones” were located, they replied with a succinct: everywhere but three buildings. We believe sincerely that such arbitrary and useless limits on free speech are outrageous, and we were out there to relate it back to Constitution Week. In addition to free speech zones the university severely limits flyering in dorms and restrictions on literature distribution. 

“KU could take away the policies of restricting chalking, tabling and putting up fliers in dorms” Tabitha Marcotte, Vice-President of KU YAL mentioned during an interview. “I think that would be a huge step.”

We successfully passed out over 300 constitutions to those passing by and anyone else interested. When we exhausted our supply of YAL constitutions we cleverly gained hold of our district representatives, Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder (considering Lawrence, Kansas is split right down the middle) and they donated several hundred more. We were challenged by them to to find where such restrictions could be found in the constitution are in place allowing the authority to infringe on our rights on campus.

We proceeded to hand out books on the application of the first amendment on college campuses on behalf of an organization called FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). This organization rates college campuses around the country in terms of the policies of free speech. KU is currently receiving the worst rating, a red light.  

We came prepared to our event with large banners, signs, and our adminstrative policies outlining the unnecessary restrictions. The greatest decision on the part of our group was the writing of the press releases. Pleasantly surprised, we were interviewed twice during the event, and had several other articles published about us across social networking sites and local media outlets. Our campus news affiliate published articles about us. Here are some of the links below:

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