Anthony Vizzone just wanted to hand out copies of the Constitution and recruit students for his student organization—the University of Hawaii at Hilo Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).
But when he crossed the “imaginary boundaries” of his university’s free speech zone, administrators were there to stop him.
Anthony wasn’t content to let his expression be quarantined into a tiny “free speech zone” (or perhaps more accurately, a “free speech puddle”). He and his cohorts in UH Hilo’s YAL chapter worked with FIRE to stand up for their speech rights by filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the university. In December of last year, as part of the lawsuit’s settlement, the University of Hawaii (UH) revised its speech policies system-wide to allow free speech and distribution of literature in “all areas generally available to the student community.” Anthony (and his co-plaintiff, Merritt Burch) stood up and restored free speech rights to the 59,000 students enrolled in the UH system.
His advice for fellow students? “If your university has speech codes that are unconstitutional, don’t be afraid to challenge them.”
Find out how you can challenge your institution’s speech codes at the 2015 FIRE Student Network Conference, July 24–26 in Philadelphia. The conference is free to attend and will provide you with all the tools necessary to fight for student rights on your campus. Meals and housing are provided, as well as a travel stipend of up to $300 to help you get to and from the conference. What are you waiting for? Space is limited, so apply today!