First amendment rights on campus have been restricted for many years, despite the fact that state and national court rulings have time and time again proven that free-speech zones and similar practices are unconstitutional. Some campuses are stricter than others, and according to the organization FIRE, UW-Green Bay was considered a “red light” campus until recently. We are now considered a “yellow light” campus. Even though our campus has made progress with free speech rights, we still haven’t been given our full constitutional rights.
On September 14th, Young Americans for Liberty at UW-Green Bay held a free speech event on campus. To celebrate Constitution Day and raise awareness about unconstitutional free speech codes, we decided to have a giant free speech ball. It was a perfect sunny day for this outdoor event. Held outside of the campus Union, many students walking by stopped to write on the giant ball in support of our right to free speech. The university’s student life stopped by to take pictures of our event, which ended up being pretty successful. After the event, our group was invited to a faculty free speech event on campus. Most students who stopped signed our petition to fight for free speech and to remove the free speech zones on campus, resulting in over 100 signatures- not to mention potential new members.
Our event attracted many students, because who wouldn’t want to write on a giant free speech ball?
Everyone seemed to have fun writing anything they wanted. From artists drawing pictures, to opinionated people sharing what they believe, to individuals simply writing their names, this event was really fun for everyone.
The event turnout included students who were interested in joining YAL, which made it great for raising awareness as well as recruiting members. Overall, the event was a great success and a great way to kick off the fall semester.