On March 23rd Temple University’s YAL chapter joined in on the Fight for Free Speech! Armed with our 12 ft. “Free Speech Ball” we set out to the Bell Tower to give our fellow Owls and opportunity to exercise their First Amendment right to Free Speech. The timing of our event couldn’t have been more perfect. That same day, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (also known as FIRE) sent a letter to Temple in which we challenged unconstitutional speech codes the university has in place. In addition to the perfect timing, it was a beautiful, sunny day and many students were enjoying the weather.
From the moment we started inflating the ball, so many people started approaching us and asking what the ball was for. People we’ve never met were eager to help out. Once we finished filling the ball, we headed to the Bell Tower eager to celebrate the Constitution. Hundreds of people stopped by to exercise their right to free speech, including professors, tour groups, members of Temple University’s football and basketball teams, and candidates for student government! We loved explaining the importance of the First Amendment with members of our community.
To say that people were excited about what we had to say would be an understatement. In fact, all of our blue YAL pens ran out of ink before we were halfway done. In the middle of the event we had to run to the library to print more signup sheets and had other chapter members run to get more clipboards because we were getting so many sign ups we couldn’t keep up.
When it was all said and done, hundreds of people signed our Free Speech Ball and we got a whopping 158 sign ups! We’re beyond excited for April 13th (also known as “Freedom Day”) when our chapter will be screening the documentary “Can We Take a Joke?” It’s clear that Temple Owls overwhelmingly support the right to Free Speech, and we can’t wait to see everyone at the documentary screening.
The Fight for Free Speech has only just begun, and we can’t wait to enact real change at college campuses across the country, starting with Temple University!