Last week, Xavier University’s Young Americans for Liberty hosted a screening of the new documentary, “Can We Take a Joke?” This film, which highlights how college campuses have become increasingly hostile towards the ideas of free speech and a free society, was shown on college campuses throughout the country in a coordinated campaign conducted by YAL National.
To promote our event, Xavier’s YAL had a free speech ball activism event to allow students the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech. Students wrote things varying from “Free Love” and “Remember to smile today,” to more politically charged expressions like “Dump Trump” and “Hillary is a War Criminal.”
Many students were curious about the free speech ball, which gave us the opportunity to explain the value of free speech in society and encourage them to attend the screening that we were putting on that next evening. With enough sign ups, we followed up with interested students and encouraged them personally to attend. And they did. We had over 40 students come out to our screening despite competing events like the school sponsored TedX and a concert happening on the quad.
At the conclusion of the screening, there was an interesting, open, and civil dialogue about the ideas that were put forth with many students contributing their own beliefs and voicing their agreements and hesitations to what was presented. This healthy dialogue lasted for over an hour after the film had concluded and encompassed nearly everyone who attended.