The Fight for Free Speech at Humboldt State University

This semester at Humboldt State University has been one of our most active semesters since we’ve been a chapter by far. We’ve held a dozen of events, everything from Ax the Tax to Your Life Your Right, with the most important being our contribution to the National Fight for Free Speech campaign.

Over the course of the semester, we’ve seen many controversial events happen at schools across California where the Freedom of Speech is being attacked by those who would like to censor speech in one way or another. While we haven’t had any controversial events happen at Humboldt State University, our school does have some unconstitutional policies, one of them being having a designated free speech zone at the University Center quad. They don’t call it a free speech zone, but they still have limits on what and when you can say things, having only a single hour per day for students to express themselves freely that has to be reserved many months in advance. This is not free speech. This is exactly what our founders intended against, and this University being a public institution has a responsibility to uphold the most basic of civil liberties for students. We held 4 free speech events over the course of the semester, being directly against some of their unconstitutional speech codes, but we were never able to elicit an administrative response to shut down what we were doing in order to expose the University’s unlawful ignorance of the constitution. Interestingly enough, the president of the University saw one of our free speech balls in an undesignated area and seemed enthusiastic about it, even writing on it to show support. This showed us that we probably weren’t ever going to provoke an administrative response, but with our events we have a pretty good case of non-enforcement on the school’s part, so it won’t be difficult to get them to voluntarily remove the unconstitutional policies.

The good thing about HSU is that most people here, no matter their political leanings, support free speech and want to see a campus that is truly free from limits to free expression from students. We are planning on having even bigger free speech events next year, as the issue is only becoming more present in our current political climate, and as we grow with a new wave of freshmen coming in for the fall, we will introduce a new set of minds to the ideas of liberty.

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