On Saturday, dozens of free speech-minded undergraduates from across the Northeast gathered at Yale University for the FIRE Regional Workshop: Election 2016—Campaigning on Campus. The one-day event was an opportunity for students to learn about First Amendment issues on campus, with an emphasis this year on the importance of protecting political expression in the run up to November’s presidential election.
The event was jam-packed with discussion, information, and resources for promoting and exercising students’ individual rights. FIRE staff was on site to teach students about the basics of free speech, the history of censorship, and the many ways it can occur on campus.
Student-attendees representing institutions like Columbia University, Princeton University, and Wellesley College (to name just a few!) worked closely with FIRE staffers (inset) to examine speech codes at their schools and develop effective strategies for combating censorship.
Students told FIRE they left with myriad tools and strategies for becoming more effective advocates for free speech.
Ethan Greist, a Johns Hopkins University freshman, was one of them. He told FIRE the event expanded his understanding of both the moral and practical arguments in favor of free speech.
“I was very happy to learn some of the legal nuances surrounding the issue at the conference this weekend,” Greist said. “I think I will find knowledge of the legal tricks campus administrators and other censorship advocates employ to be quite useful in the future.”
Greist added that the conference was a great opportunity to meet other students passionate about campus free speech.
“I had a wonderful time meeting, learning from, and networking with some other free speech-inclined college students,” he said. “I am happy to know that they exist!”
They sure do.
FIRE sincerely thanks our participants for a fantastic event.