The concourse was abuzz with talk from Auburn students over the first week of O-Days back in September, as we at Auburn YAL rolled our massive Free Speech Ball around campus once again.
As part of our bi-annual membership drive, Auburn YAL has traditionally tried to incorporate a theme or activity into our normal tabling, so as to attract attention from fellow Liberty-minded people. This semester, the chapter opted to go with one of our(and many other Auburn students’) favorites and incorporate the ever-popular Free Speech Ball in the membership drive.
For those uninitiated,the Free Speech Ball is a simple premise. Auburn University’s administration, like that of so many other campuses around the globe, has succeeded in enacting many measures that attempt to curb the free expression of students and faculty whilst on campus. These so-called “speech codes” require students to obtain permits in order to set up tables on the concourse and converse with other students. They also relegate all non-approved speech to specific “free speech zones” which are conveniently located far from the center of campus, away from almost any foot-traffic. We at Auburn YAL have a major problem with these blatant violations of students’ rights, and were pleased to discover that many of our peers feel the same way.
The Free Speech Ball allows our group to counter the university’s stringent rules on obtaining permits for “standing structures” such as tables and posterboards, as the ball is not a standing structure. Our group simply rolled the enormous ball around the concourse, allowing anyone and everyone to write what was on their mind. While they wrote, we took the opportunity to tell them about our mission at YAL, and how they could join us in our fight for the rights of students on our campus. Many people were eager to learn more.
Thanks to the staggering success of the membership drive, we were able to generate upwards of one hundred new sign-ups for our email list, and had phenomenal turnout for our introductory meeting. Needless to say, Auburn YAL plans to bring back the Free Speech Ball for many events to come!Published in