Greetings from Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina.
The Appalachian State Young Americans for Liberty Chapter chose to stand up for free speech on our campus this semester. We are hoping to officially take down these unconstitutional restrictions in the Spring. Our university, like many others across the country, has implemented “safe spaces” across 99.7% of the campus (Data from ASU Physical Plant) by declaring less than 0.3% to be “Free Speech Zones.” Our Chapter challenged this by hosting two “Free Speech Events” in which students, professors, and anyone else walking down the sidewalk could write anything on our 12' inflated ball. These events were overwhelmingly positive and earned us many supporters.
About halfway into our semester, Appalachian State moved forward with a chalk prohibition. That is right: the University, upset with a fight that emerged from students expressing political beliefs through the medium of chalk, now bans the use of chalk on campus unless it is used by a registered club promoting a specific event. Our YAL chapter coordinated with App State Turning Point to take this absurd policy head on: YAL and Turning Point, both registered organizations, hosted a “Chalking Event” in which anyone walking by could express themselves with the forbidden medium without repercussions. Unlike the Free Speech Balls that demonstrated a lack of enforcement from University Police, the Chalk Event garnered police attention in the matter of a few hours. After a long discussion with Chief of the University Police, it was determined that we were stretching the rules but not officially breaking them.
Unfortunately, our chapter was not able to tear down these blatantly unconstitutional policies this semester. We intend to host a string of events this coming semester to remove them and ensure that this state university adheres to the rules established in the Constitution.
While we are still one of the smaller YAL chapters, we intend to grow a lot in the coming year. Keep your eyes peeled for us to be making some big waves in defense of liberty in 2017!