Free Speech Rolls Along at UMN


Beach Ball 3

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Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) invited students to write on a 12-foot-tall inflatable beach ball in the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Mall during the day on April 13 in supportof free speech.

“April 13 is National Freedom Day,” YAL’s TreasurerNathan Amundsonsaid, “This is in the light of recent events against free speech at Yale and Missouri, and we’re actually part of a national push called ‘Fight for Free Speech.’”

340 chapters of YAL across the nation partook in events like what the student-group called the “Free Speech Ball” on Wednesday.

Members of the UMN’s chapter stood by the giant beach ball with a collection of markers. When students walked by, the members invited the students to grab a marker and write anything their hearts desired on the beach ball, as the First Amendmentprotects.

“The best way to address ignorance is through dialogue and discussion; the best way you can discover some sense of objective truth is to use dialectic,” Amundson said.

“If the minority doesn’t have the freedom to dissent, then they will never have the power to fight back…for that reason, free speech is very important,” YAL member Nathan Gassie said.

“I don’t think you can have a truly free society if people can’t have the freedom to say what it is they want,” YAL President Cory Blunk said,“Sometimes, you’re gonna hear people say really hateful or hurtful things, but that same environment also allows people to say really wonderful things.”

Blunk mentioned that the UMN student body does exercise freedom of speech in its own ways, and that these actions deserve praise. He specifically noted students washing ‘Trump 2016’ chalk writing off of the sidewalk, which he commended as an expression of free speech that contrasts the opinions of whomever originally wrote the message.

Many passerby students appreciated the Free Speech Ball.

“If I didn’t have class right now, I would’ve read all of these right now. I appreciate all that they have done here today,” female student whorefused to give her name said.