Keara Vickers of Students for Liberty explains why.

Free Speech Walls Rule, So Make One for Your School

The Carlton University Students For Liberty group made big waves recently with their fantastic response to a disgruntled student tearing down their free speech wall. The media response was so widespread that simply googling “free speech wall” results in several links to various media outlets’ reports on the story and the Carlton SFL group’s measured and responsible reactions to a blatant attack on free speech rights.

Many of you might be wondering how to set up your own free speech protest, especially with Free Speech Week coming up this semester. Those of us who have participated in creating a free speech wall are always astounded at the amount of inspiration, positivity and originality that comes when students, faculty and community members have the opportunity to express themselves. The purpose of the free speech wall is not simply to allow the student body an opportunity to graffiti their thoughts but to call attention to policies that limit free speech. As we’ve seen time and time again, fostering dialogue about free speech on college campuses can often be a challenge on many levels.

The first step is to consult your student handbook. Many campuses have highly restrictive speech codes. Our friends at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education put out a fantastic publication detailing the kinds of restrictions at many public  universities. While free speech on campus is of paramount importance, it is (unfortunately) subject to many rules and regulations. Certain private schools may have more restrictions than their public counterparts.