On April 11, with the help of New Jersey State Chair Bob Knee, we launched our first free speech ball event. Public colleges and universities can have giant hurdles to jump over in order for new and forming student groups to gain official school recognition status. Needless to say, my chapter has had a tough time gaining this official status. Without official recognition the chapter cannot reserve space on campus to table, host events, or invite speakers according to university policy. In order to pass out flyers or any other material must first be approved by the administration which could take up to a week. It is worth noting that in order to even hold a clip boarding event without official recognition, would confine us to the “free speech area.”
As a response to the clear breach of the First Amendment rights and as an effort to gain new members, we utilized the GIANT free speech beach ball. Bob and I rolled the giant ball around the campus encouraging students to express what is on their mind with markers. As I was engaging students and informing them about YAL and our liberty oriented principles, many of them agreed with what I had to say. After handing out some pocket constitutions and flyers and leaving the free speech area, we had gotten no response from school administrators.
I can’t help but wonder why Kean University has these restrictive policies on the books, but hasn’t tried to enforce them thus far.
Overall, the free speech beach ball was great in spreading the values of liberty and attracted the attention of the students in a positive way. I am thankful for the help of Bob, who was able to lend his time and effort to ensure we had a successful event.Published in