Jeremiah, a sophomore majoring in political science, attended FIRE’s first Leaders in Student Rights Conference in New Orleans this past spring. Since attending the conference, Jeremiah has worked with FIRE to kickstart a conversation on student rights at Troy University. “A combination of new ideas learned in the liberty movement and the FIRE NOLA Conference had a great impact on me. … I didn’t realize how many rights are infringed upon on college campuses until the conference,” said Jeremiah.
Troy University currently has a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database, meaning it has speech codes that clearly and substantially restrict free speech. After learning this, Jeremiah requested a speech code memo from FIRE to help explain how Troy University’s policies could be revised to better protect students’ right to free speech and expression under the First Amendment.
Jeremiah then worked with his Students For Liberty (SFL) group to circulate the memo and a petition asking for more free-speech-friendly policies. “We got a few hundred signatures on our petition asking the administration to work with FIRE to better our speech code. … We have gotten several people who were shocked and appalled and wanted to see change on campus.”
Going up to students and beginning a conversation may seem intimidating, but Jeremiah and his SFL group aren’t afraid. “We in SFL have been telling students what rights the university is infringing upon and what rights they do have based upon the Constitution and certain court cases.”
Jeremiah offers some advice to students looking to get in the advocacy game: “Tell people what’s wrong, get them involved. Get them pissed off if you have to… Just spread the word about what’s wrong and how to make it right.”
We congratulate Jeremiah and his group for their efforts this past semester! As always, FIRE stands ready to help student groups from across the political spectrum advocate on behalf of civil liberties and free speech on their campuses.
Are you interested in fighting for free speech on your campus? Have you held a successful event and want to share? Want to nominate yourself or someone you know for Student Spotlight? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!