Public universities across the nation are beginning to unjustly confine student’s right to free speech and open discussion to specific “free speech zones.”
Earlier this week, Arkansas Tech students Skyler Bowden and Jason Hammons were confronted by campus police while encouraging fellow students to sign a ‘Free Speech Ball’ promoting Young Americans for Liberty’s Fight for Free Speech campaign.
The officer asks the students, “Do we have permission from student services to be here?”
Hammons — under the impression that First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech everywhere, not just in certain areas — responds stating, “Yes sir we do. Well not through them. It’s actually through the Constitution. It’s the First Amendment.”
The police proceeded to inform Bowden and Hammons that if they wanted to continue their acts of free speech, they must move to the university’s “free speech zone,” which happened to be on the other side of campus.
Hammons then asked the officer, “So do the free speech zones actually trump the Constitution?” The officer confirms, claiming, “On campus, that’s the way it works.”
YAL Executive Director, Cliff Maloney Jr., released a statement regarding the altercation.
“American universities have historically served as a beacon of intellectual thought and open discussion. This type of incident is exactly why YAL launched the national Fight for Free Speech campaign to combat unconstitutional speech codes and aim to abolish ‘free speech zones,’” writes Maloney. “The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to voice their opinion and educate others on the principles they believe in. We’ll continue to work around the clock to protect the right to spread our message of liberty.”