Several Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) Penn Statestudent activists were tabling for their organization incelebration of Constitution Day on Wednesday.
Jolie Davis, chair of her YAF Chapter, had copies of the Constitution as well as literature at the table informing studentsof Penn State’s “speech code” policies. On the 8,500 acres of Penn State, there are only 12 small spaces designated as “Free Speech Zones” on campus. The organization’s table, locatedoutside of the Hetzel Union Building (HUB), had a poster that read
After an hour or so of tabling, the YAF table was approached bycampus security personnel, who told Jolie to take the tabledown. Jolie pressed the official with questions, asking whyshe had to take down her table. The campus security officerreplied, “You can’t have a table but you can pass outflyers.” It is important to note that the area in which Daviswas tabling was a “designated free speech zone.”
Davis and other activists decided to film the whole encounter. Once the official realized he was being recorded,he said, “It’s not going to help your cause to put this onvideo.” The official brought two more people from the collegewith him, one of them from Student Affairs, where they explained toDavis that she needed to reserve the space. She asked why shewould have to reserve the space since it is a “designated freespeech zone.” The college representatives told her she couldgo inside and discuss the policy. However, when she did, theofficials hurried away.
Davis and other YAF activists have tabled at this exact locationbefore; the only difference this time was now her organization washighlighting Penn State’s ridiculous speech code policies. Davis said, “At Penn State not all free speech is createdequal.”
Apparently, it isn’t enough to restrict students’ free speechrights on campus because now students’ rights are restricted evenin designated free speech zones.
Ashley Pratte is the spokeswoman for Young America’sFoundation. Follow her on Twitter @AshPratte.