How college students can help advance freedom on their campuses

Every day we hear of a new example of college and university officials violating the constitutional liberties of their students.

This happens every time they arrest people for handing out copies of the Constitution, allow mobs to block entrances to speaking events they don’t like, and deny student groups official recognition or funding because of their viewpoint. And, yes, those are all actual examples of how colleges and universities across the country are suppressing the free speech of their students – just from the last year alone and in cases the ADF Center for Academic Freedom is handling.

The first line of defense against these violations of constitutional principles is the student body acting for freedom and helping to restore a true marketplace of ideas on their campuses.

And how can they accomplish this? First, these students must be equipped with the knowledge of what their rights are. They must get #freedomwoke, if you will. And then, they must take a stand. By signing the petition at, they will be calling on their public university and college campuses to:

  • Treat their students like free-thinking adults, not children in need of supervision and of protection from exposure to the ideas of others.
  • Eliminate the speech codes that prescribe what their students can say, the speech zones that limit where and when they can say it, any policies that control who can speak for and lead student groups, and repeal all other speech restrictions that violate their rights and interfere with their ability to communicate openly and effectively with one another.
  • End the mandatory student activity fees that add to student debt and compel them to fund others’ activism they would not voluntarily support.
  • Respect and protect the constitutional freedoms of their students, always remembering that these are inalienable rights, not the gift of the government, and that they reign supreme over any conflicting university policy, program, or handbook.
  • Reject the easy path of succumbing to the political pressure, intimidation, and censorship exerted by the loudest and most aggressive, and defend the free exchange of ideas that should be the hallmark of our colleges.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s judges, legislators, teachers, and voters. The lessons they are learning about how to function as responsible citizens and how to respect the constitutional rights of those with whom they disagree will remain with them long after they leave campus.

That’s why college students of all political, religious, or other views can – and should – come together to embrace the true marketplace of ideas by welcoming speakers and opinions that differ from their own.

And they can start by signing this petition.