Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) kicked off our first week with Free Speech Zone Awareness. The university recently added a new policy in regards to scheduling rooms and events that involved requiring clubs and organizations to pay a fee if they wished to host a candidate for office or advocate one side of an issue. Part of this new policy, which the Young Americans for Liberty at UCCS was eager to challenge, included setting up a “designated unscheduled space.”
We know that a “designated unscheduled space” is simply code word for a free speech zone, or an area where one could “openly express themselves without being reprimanded.” The policy first went into effect in the Fall of 2012 — during the 2012 elections — at which point YAL turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE has sent several letters to the university asking them to change this policy, but they refused.
With the start of the school year upon us, we are advocating the spread of free speech more than ever before! The first steps in this process to both advocate for free speech and challenge this policy occurred on August 27, 2013 and August 28, 2013 when UCCS YAL teamed up with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and had a 30 second soap box where people could dance, sing, rhyme, shout and just have fun for 30 second snippets OUTSIDE the designated space.
Surprisingly, after this pure sign of defiance to the new policy, university staff did not attempt to have the students removed, or charge them with trespassing. In fact, no university officials arrived on either of the two days the policy was challenged. YAL and SSDP plan to continue such events until the university complains or the policy is changed.
The week of September 4, 2013 is YAL’s recruitment and club involvement fair! YAL UCCS hopes to have a huge success and keep everyone posted!