James Madison Student Praises ‘Vibrant’ Free Speech Wall
May 11, 2012
by Jaclyn Hall
Last month, I wrote a Torch post highlighting student activism that took place on campuses across the country during Free Speech Week, April 1-8. For one of the most popular demonstrations, many student groups built free speech walls to provide an open forum for student expression. Students constructed temporary walls out of cardboard or wood, or covered building walls with paper, and provided markers for fellow students to write, draw, or post anything they wanted.
Student group Madison Liberty at James Madison University (JMU) decided to host a wall, and I recently came across a blog post about their experience that I want to share. Luke Wachob, a student in the group, writes:
Sounds like a great time! Luke also talks about JMU's recent "green light" rating from FIRE, which he and his group worked to achieve. You can check out his full blog post here.
The wall's sprawling mess of politics, social commentary, school pride, and non sequiturs filled my heart with joy every time I walked by it. That probably sounds like hyperbole, but it's not. This was a physical manifestation of the abstract concept of liberty: it was open to all but forced on none, it was vibrant and ever-changing, it was delightfully contradictory. And above all, it was peaceful.