The YAL push for ending Speech Zones at the University of North Texas started last semester when an article was written by chapter president Shawn Quinn following a Free Speech Ball event. Within his article, posted on YAL national website, Shawn mentioned that campus speech codes were unconstitutional. Shawn was then contacted by our administration through his personal email in which they accused him of slandering the university. He responded by requesting a meeting with the administration. However, he was ignored and the administration refused to have the meeting. Due to this we have made eliminating free speech zones our ultimate goal for the semester.
Our first event was held at the University of North Texas’s Mean Green Fling in which all student organizations were allowed to table on campus. This was held the week before the fall semester started. Through this event we able to network with other organizations as well as gain more memberships. Our first meeting of the semester saw three new members join which increased our membership by 100%.
Our second event was held this past Tuesday in which we utilized our Free Speech Ball to reach out to fellow students so that we could educate them on the regulations put in place by our administration. We also utilized the event to gain signatures for a petition that we started to end the zones on campus. The event was a success given that we were almost able to completely fill our speech ball with students’ signatures and messages. We also deemed the event a success due to the fact that we were able to get about 100 signatures for our petition within the allotted two hours that the administration would allow. One failure that we can take away is the fact that we did not to put enough of an effort into gaining new membership; however, we were able to gain two new members who showed up to our meeting on the following Wednesday.
To further push our petition our chapter will be conducting a YALoween event at the end of month and another free speech event mid November in which we will be utilizing multiple speech balls and gaining help from other organizations on campus.