The North Carolina University Board of Governors votes today on a system-wide free expression protection policy.
This measure would protect students’ right to engage in spontaneous, unregistered free speech, so long as the activity is lawful and does not “materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the constituent institution.”
For the past week, students have been defending their right to free expression. It is now day seven of our 12 Days of Free Speech campaign, and Generation Opportunity’s North Carolina spokesperson has her own defense for tomorrow’s vote.
On the seventh day of free speech, my true love gave to North Carolina a system-wide free expression protection policy.
Anna Beavon Gravely, North Carolina’s spokesperson for Generation Opportunity, authored an op-ed published by the Independent Tribune outlining why a free speech protection policy would encourage free thought on campuses in the state.
A recent poll by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and YouGov found that more than half of students have “stopped themselves from sharing an opinion or idea in class.”
Even more troubling, nearly 20 percent of students across the ideological spectrum said that it was acceptable to use “violence to prevent the speaker from speaking.” And fewer than half of all students surveyed believed hate speech to be constitutionally protected.
This should not be the case. College campuses must be marketplaces of ideas that foster creativity and innovation. Students should be exposed to diverse viewpoints, and learn how to think openly and critically, so they are capable of changing their minds or defending their convictions through civil discourse.
The vote takes place today. Be sure to stay tuned for updates and comments from Generation Opportunity after the decision!
The holiday season is a time for reflection and celebration. Here at Generation Opportunity, we’d like to take the time to reflect on why the right to free expression matters to young people—and why it’s critical that we continue to defend that right.
Sign the petition to join the movement supporting free expression on North Carolina’s campuses! When you’ve done that, click here [LINK] to check out yesterday’s testimonial.