By Jordan Darling
Rules are rules and they are there for a reason. But at least one group on campus wonders if the rules on free speech on this campus should be broken in favor of progress.
The issue that members of the campus chapter of the Young American For Liberty, currently an unrecognized club on campus, have is the CSUDH free speech policy that, in part, states:
“Freedom of expression activities may take place on campus with the following exceptions: inside parking lots and university buildings and within 20 feet of any location in which instructional, educational, and/or official business activities are being conducted.”
While the policy sounds reasonable enough–even free speech should not impede students and faculty from being able to learn or do their jobs–the YAL questions whether it’s still free and open speech if students can only speak at certain times and in certain places?
That’s why members of the group have stood outside the ASI office almost every Tuesday promoting free speech. One of those Tuesdays fell during the campus’ inaugural Free Speech Week the week after Spring Break.
Monico Maglque, a sophomore in political science and the president of the club, took the occasion to stand on the LSU East walkway, which is outside of the designated free speech zone, with a beach ball dubbed the “free speech ball.”
If interested, students and faculty could stop and get information about the club and sign the beach ball with whatever thought they wanted. The ball had overlapping messages in different colors of Sharpie and covered everything from philosophy to subreddit recommendations.
But talking about free speech wasn’t the only goal.
“We are challenging the free speech policy because right now we are only allowed to do something like this [free speech ball] in the sculpture garden,” Maglque said. “Normally I would have another club member here so when an administrator comes up they can record me asking what policy we are violating and when it is recorded we are going to file a lawsuit against the school to change the policy.”
The Young Americans for Liberty chapter on campus is an unrecognized student-led libertarian group that is hoping to gain campus recognition in the fall.
Its parent organization was sparked from the 2008 grassroots campaign of prominent libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul, who received the fourth most votes during the Republican primary cycle.
Students on many campuses organized groups under the banner of Students for Ron Paul. After the 2008 election, those groups helped create Young Americans for Liberty, which advocates many of the causes Paul pushed for, including promoting the U.S. Constitution and lowering of the national debt.
In 2016, YAL began its “Fight for Free Speech campaign,” designed to challenge what it sees as unconstitutional restrictions on the First Amendment rights of college students.
With chapters on college campuses in every U.S. state, it also has a goal of electing 250 “liberty legislators” at the state level by the end of 2022 to “advance a libertarian philosophy, ascend to higher office, and reclaim the direction of our government,” according to its website, www.yaliberty.org.