The YAL chapter at Indiana University had a great end to the spring semester with our Fight for Free Speech initiatives. We knew that the screening of the “Can We Take a Joke?” documentary would be great way to show students on campus and with the help of FIRE, we were able to plan and make our outreach and game plan more effective than we had originally anticipated.
We started off our free speech events by taking our YAL Fight for Free Speech petition around campus. We rolled out the free speech ball to get student discussion started. Surprisingly, we had a couple of professors who didn’t like the idea so much and thought that the school should be able to censor whatever they wanted. Most students had no clue we even had free speech zones at our school and were very supportive of our cause.
After two days of petitioning and rolling the free speech ball around, we were lucky enough to have Tyler Coward, an IU alum and FIRE representative, come speak to our YAL group. He spoke on free speech, the First Amendment, and how we can make changes on our campus. This event took place the same time as another school event and we still managed to get around 25 people in attendance.
And lastly, we ended our week with our documentary screening of “Can We Take a Joke?” and finished with a discussion session after the movie. The event was a success we filled the seats in our room and had about 50 people in attendance. We had a good mix of students and faculty and their reception to the movie was great! In no other YAL event before have we had such a diverse group of people make it out to our event.
Most of the people seemed to be in favor of what our group was doing and reached out to us afterwards asking what they could do to help more. We will be sending in our full video and petitions while we continue to table and recruit on campus. The hard work paid off and we look forward to where we can take this next semester.