In the mist of horrible weather and exams students at the University of Georgia took time to sign a petition to support the removal of their campus free speech zones and make a public declaration that the entire campus is open to the first ammendment. CFACT’s Southern Regional Director Graham Beduze teamed with Turning Point USA Representative Gabrial Sutton to bring awareness of the issue to students and see what they thought about the measure. The overwelming majority of students agreed that the free speech zones limited free speech and confined their expression to a certain area of campus. One studen said, “The entire university is a free speech zone, not just one marked area near the student center.” Many others followed by saying they had no idea of the free speech zones and always assumed student groups were allowed to table and protest anywhere.
As the petition continued to make its rounds amongst the many students huddled in the Tate Student Center to escape the weather Graham and Gabrial were joined by a liberty minded student by the name of James who had asked if anyone from the university had given us any trouble with the petition. As soon as that question was asked a University of Georgia staff member approached CFACT’s Graham Beduze and asked him to cease the petition ands meet with the Dean of Students. Graham and Gabrial agreed to meet with the Dean and were happy to make their case on the freedom of expression on UGA’s campus. In the meeting Dean Jan Barham discussed the issues with the free speech zones and the need to regulate time and place for students to not block entrance or disprupt classes while tableing. However, when the issue of what to do when the the weather is chaotic and students are forced inside Dean Barham remarked that the free speech zones would still need to be used.
In essence the University of Georgia would want students to rather be rained on or put in harms way rather than exercise their constitutional rght to petition indoors spontaneously. As of right now CFACT as well as Turning Point USA are looking into the next best course of action to take to defend the student’s rights and will continue to support them and spread the message of liberty to them as best they can until further action is decided upon . Events like these showcase CFACT’s commitment to work with students from any school or with members of any group in order to defend liberty and students rights on campus.