YAL: Loud, prou​d and big on campus speech

Young Americans for Liberty displayed a large “speech ball” in front of the Union

The large ball garnered some interest on social media.

On April 24, 2019, members of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) hosted an event called the “Speech Ball.” The goal of the event was to provide students with better knowledge about university policies about freedom of speech on the North Dakota State campus.

The Speech Ball event occurred from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Memorial Union. Within the 4-hour period, members of YAL had over 60 students to take part in writing on the speech ball and collected over 40 signatures on the petition for adopting the Chicago principles on NDSU.

The official name for Chicago principles is the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression.” It was created as a guideline to help universities to protect the freedom of speech. Currently, most universities have different speech and protest policies.

YAL is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2008. Tyler Gregoire is the vice president of YAL at NDSU.

“A lot of schools will leave a lot of ambiguous languages on their policy, so they can enforce it how they want to,” Gregoire said. “There are schools that have vague wordings, but they don’t enforce it. But there are some schools that will use it as a weapon to go after organizations for what they are saying.”

Gregoire expressed that his major concerns are how campus policies must be obvious and clear and policies they are not enforcing due to current circumstances must change.

Members of YAL are currently planning on hosting an event about self-defense policies at NDSU this upcoming fall semester. NDSU’s code of student conduct, policy 601, 3.48 states: “Unauthorized and/or illegal possession, display or use of firearms, explosives, or other weapons is prohibited.”

“As it stands on the policy, you can’t have pepper spray even though Bison Shop sells it,” Gregoire said.

“We can’t officially advocate for anything as we are nonprofit organizations,” Gregoire said. “But we can say these are great ideas. We educate people on what the policy is and how we believe it should be changed. It’s more of educating the general student body.”

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