Speak Easy: Free Speech at Long Beach

This past November, my chapter worked in conjunction with the Institute for Humane Studies #SpeakFreely Challenge, and invited any Cal State Long Beach student brave enough to write on our poster.

Signing

Now with great power comes great responsibility, and some students asked if they could write literally anything. We said yes. Does this mean we should say everything? Probably not. But as Americans governed by our Constitution we should not be prohibited by law from doing so.

Board

What most students didn’t know is that, technically, according to school policy, students were actually prohibited from exercising their free speech. Our school, CSULB, has a red light rating with FIRE for free speech for this exact reason.

The school policies for starting clubs, holding events, and getting administrative permission are tedious if not convoluted, and some events can only be held on our so-called “Free Speech Lawn”.

This event not only promoted free speech, and a healthy kind of civil disobedience, but also provoked some interesting conversations with students who wanted to know why we cared so much about free speech.

It is a good thing that in our country, I am at liberty to tell you. My YAL chapter enjoys fighting to keep that right.

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