For the first time since the founding of our chapter, the dark side of the bureaucracy at Sinclair Community College showed its head.
Our initial plans for Constitution Week were to entail running a Free Speech Wall, tabling at our school’s Safety Expo, and hosting a guest speaker from the Institution of the Constitution. Everything was going according to plan with less than a week until our Free Speech Wall and then we received a phone call. The Student Government Office called and said they had bad news pertaining to our events.
We were told that we could not build our Free Speech Wall on campus. When we asked for a reason why we were being denied (noting that we are “supposed to” receive written explanation for denials), we were told verbally that it was a liability. Honestly, this conversation did not go over as smoothly as I am making sound. In the end, we told them that this was unacceptable and we wanted written notification for the denial and that we were going to continue pressing the issue.
In the meantime, we scrambled to make something happen. We had been told that another event was going to take place for Constitution Week at our school with guest speaker Judge Walter Rice. We tried contacting the political and government sciences offices to request information on this event and showed interest in being a part of it. A little to our surprise, we were given the run around for this event up until the night before Constitution Day. Here it is, less than 24 hours until the event and we were finally being contacted. To top it off, we were just being invited to attend the event, not to participate in it.
So while we were given permission to be there, we took the opportunity to make the most out of the situation. We made sure we showed up early, and canvased the conference room with YAL material before anyone showed up. We put four to five copies of YAL pocket Constitutions on every table, but we didn’t stop there. Our chapter sat at one of the tables in the conference room and laid out even more materials.
We weren’t really allowed to do any of this, but we knew that any conflict about the matter would result in publicity for our chapter. Think about it, who is going to make an argument against the group of students who just supplied the school’s Constitution Day event with pocket Constitutions? That’s right…nobody. Nobody said anything about us not supposing to be there; instead we were getting thanks from everyone who came up to us after Judge Rice was done speaking.
The very next day, we were at it again. We tabled at our school’s Annual Safety Expo, supporting our 2nd Amendment rights and talk about a venue to do so; with several dozen local police and fire departments present. We were able to get help with resources from the National Gun Rights Association and from the National Riffle Association University program.
We talked with students about the importance of the 2nd Amendment as well as the importance of responsible gun ownership. The best part of this event was that our table was setup right next to the Ohio Homeland Security table. You want to talk about some nasty looks? This guy watched us like a hawk all day. It sure is amazing how the word of liberty draws attention from government lackeys.
Finally, to top off our Constitution Week, we invited guest speaker Ricki Pepin for the Institute of the Constitution to come and speak at our meeting. Ricki talked about the original intent of the Constitution that our founding fathers had in mind. She goes to tell how we have drifted away from these original ideas and created a system of bureaucrats that no long represent the people.
As we went through with the rest of our events for Constitution Week, we continued our fight to make sure that we would be able to have our Free Speech Wall. They still nonetheless tried to make it difficult for us; first they wanted us to contact the facilities department and have them build it, then they wanted us to change the size and location of our wall (we already had to reschedule the date, so we were past that), then they wanted us to find an instructor who would be willing to claim liability just in case there was an accident and we needed a written letter from this instructor.
So one of our members suggested going to the Construction Engineering department to see if they could be of any assistance. This was probably the best idea we had considering the hassle we were being put through. Too much surprise, when we contacted the Construction department they jumped right on board. Within a couple of days they had an instructor and class ready and willing to help construct our Free Speech Wall, a letter from the instructor stating they would be responsible for the Wall, and had every bit of paperwork resubmitted.
We think that when we started pressing the issue around campus, getting in touch with different departments, and talking to administrative, the school decided it was in the best interest to let us run our event. Our Free Speech Wall is now scheduled to be on October 9, 2013.
So with all our trials and efforts and a lack of a main activism event we still made a huge impact of campus for Constitution Week. Total number of sign-ups reached into the mid 50s and four new members. Our growth has been amazing so far this semester, and we look to keep adding to those numbers in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout for our second part of Constitution Week (Month?) at Sinclair Community College!Published in