The University of Texas’ Free Speech Wall

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The University of Texas’ YAL chapter and Libertarian Longhorns partnered for Constitution Week to celebrate one of our most prized rights: freedom of expression.

At 11am, on the 84th day of 100+ temperatures this year (and after some bureaucratic nonsense), around 10 libertarian activists carried an obscene quantity of books, literature, wood, and slabs of drywall from the back of an SUV (the parking of which was questionably legal). Students’ interest was somewhat peaked when the seemingly spontaneous construction began and the three 8×4 ft. drywall slabs were connected and braced, but the true excitement struck when the wall was set upright.

The response to the wall was unrelentingly enthusiastic; crowds gathered quickly around it, reading what was written while waiting for their turn with a Sharpie–to my surprise, none were pilfered. While some were less than courteous with their choice of words, there were only a couple attempts at censorship and many comments were exceedingly positive, with several affirmations sprinkled in.

Quite a few participants expressed interest in the libertarian organizations on campus, such as YAL, Youth for Ron Paul, and Libertarian Longhorns (a more general blanket libertarian organization with which UT’s YAL and Youth for Ron Paul chapters coordinate).

Over the course of 5 hours, over 300 signups were gathered, hundreds of Constitutions were distributed, and dozens of conversations about libertarianism, the infringements on free speech, and the controversial themes mentioned on the wall took place. Many students were disappointed to hear that we were required to remove the wall at the end of the day and felt that it should be permanently displayed on campus (one even suggested selling it as a piece of art). Fortunately, the local libertarian bookstore which offered us temporary storage for the materials, Brave New Books, might provide a new home for the 8×16 ft. work of the people, by the people, for the people.

You can find additional photos of the event here.

Freepeech Wall.

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