5 More Ways to Celebrate Free Speech on Campus

By October 23, 2012

Last month, I wrote about the top five ways for students to celebrate Constitution Day on campus. Our suggestions were to:

1. Build a Free Speech Wall

2. Host a free speech event or protest. 

3. Write a column or op-ed supporting free speech on your campus. 

4. Distribute FIRE’s newly updated Guide to Free Speech on Campus

5. Challenge your school’s speech codes. 

Now, there is another reason to celebrate: Free Speech Week is this week, October 22–28! For the occasion, here are five more ways students can support free speech on campus this week:

6. Host a screening of a FIRE video. We released several great short videos this fall, including interviews with students like Morgan Freeman and Eric Philips who fought back against censorship at their own schools. Another great option is FIRE’s award-winning Firefly video, which features celebrated author Neil Gaiman, about two posters censored at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Whatever video you choose, Free Speech Week is a great opportunity to share these stories with your student group and launch a discussion about free speech on your campus. All of these videos and more are available for free at FIRE’s YouTube page.

7. Learn about your school’s speech codes. Many schools maintain speech codes: policies prohibiting expression on campus that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Visit thefire.org/spotlight for analysis of speech codes at more than 400 colleges and universities from across the country. If your school isn’t on the list, or you want to learn more about a particular code, you can request more information here

8. Register to attend FIRE’s next free webinar on November 14. During the webinar, we will be discussing America’s worst speech codes with Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris. If you want to know which schools ban "eating food provocatively" or "inquiries about dating" (really!) you won’t want to miss this session.

9. Read Unlearning Liberty! Today, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff released his brand-new book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. In the book, Greg explores how a generation of campus censorship has impoverished not just higher education but American discourse more broadly. You can purchase a copy wherever books are sold, or request a copy for your school library. All royalties will go to FIRE.

10. Share your favorite free speech quote on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, join the national Free Speech Week partners by using #freespeechweek. If you are looking for inspiration, here is one of my personal favorite free speech quotes:

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." —Benjamin Franklin

Happy Free Speech Week!