This quarter has been a very productive one for the University of California – Santa Barbara’s recently-reactivated Young Americans for Liberty chapter. Some of the goals that we wanted to accomplish before hosting Milo Yiannopoulos next quarter was turning to UCSB’s free speech regulations, which seem to contain free speech zones.
With this goal in mind, last quarter we brought a large inflatable ball to campus and the neighboring Isla Vista community to reinvigorate our commitment to free speech. The goals of bringing the free speech ball were to remind students that speech that might be offensive in the eyes of some is still protected speech and also to call attention to the unlawful so-called “free speech zones” on campus.
These “free speech zones” falsely suggest to students that their free speech rights apply only on select locations on campus. Students in IV and on campus had a chance to write whatever they wanted on the free speech ball to exercise their free speech rights. We approached many students and asked them to write whatever they wanted on the free speech ball. Many students expressed themselves politically while others wrote inspirational sentiments on the ball. The most expressed opinion was a jab against Donald Trump, though there were writings on the ball that launched critiques at candidates on the left and on the right.
It was great seeing our fellow students exercise their first amendment rights and to remember that one doesn’t lose their free speech rights because what they have to say might be considered to be offensive by some.
The free speech ball event was followed by an even more weighty development: later on the same day, Associated Students passed a resolution, spearheaded by YAL members Jason Garshfield and Brandon Morse, affirming UCSB’s commitment to free speech and appreciating the role that it plays in the mission of this institution of learning. The free speech ball was brought to the floor of the senate, symbolizing UCSB’s continuing commitment to free speech.
We are excited to see great developments in the interest of free speech and hope to continue fighting for everyone’s liberties at UCSB.