Our elected officials in Raleigh have proposed legislation in the North Carolina House and Senate that would protect and preserve free speech on public universities. This legislation could change so many campuses in North Carolina. As the president of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Wake Technical Community College, and I encounter plenty of obstacles when expressing myself as both an individual and YAL chapter president.
The speech codes at Wake Tech are intrusive and restrictive. On top of special permission required to do any activities involving handing out literature or having a meeting, I am required to have permission for the literature itself. Permission must be granted by the school administration.
As if that is not enough, the campus police department must approve materials being handed out by the YAL chapter. Wake Tech requires two weeks’ notice to reserve a table. Tabling is only allowed during a four-hour window on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but is not allowed to exceed two hours a day.
Respecting and protecting Wake Tech’s campus is important to me and Young Americans for Liberty because we are constantly educating students on issues that impact their lives. I want to grow Wake Tech’s YAL chapter membership and community by bringing YAL’s message to the student body. The limited tabling time and the regulatory obstacles have made recruiting more difficult and place unnecessary stress on me, my members, and YAL’s faculty advisor.
The proposed legislation does not extend to community colleges just yet, but I know my experiences are not isolated to Wake Tech Community College. This legislation gives me hope that community colleges across the state will see a revitalization of respect and tolerance for ideas that are diametrically opposed. Urge your lawmakers to pass HB527 and SB507 into law!
Joe Warta is a student at Wake Technical Community College. He is working a few campaigns. He also served as the WTCC Young Americans for Liberty chapter president and is highly involved in the liberty movement and its causes.