By Connor Bell.
The College Park Students For Liberty hosted its second “Free Speech Celebration” yesterday in Van Munching Hall.
This event, much like others after the election results, was created to remind students the importance of free speech and unity. It gathered over ten different student-run groups on campus.
Unity and freedom were major themes throughout the event and Students for Liberty Member Matt Linsey said this was a good thing:
“I was kind of afraid there were going to be boos or jeers or something like that, but everyone was considerate of the fact that everyone was expressing their views and that’s what free speech is about.”
The event started off with Students For Liberty member Ethan Pritchard. Pritchard encouraged the crowd to listen to each group’s presentation and to encourage the organizations to interact with each other more in the future, all in the name of sharing ideas and speaking freely.
“Maryland is one of the most protected free speech campuses in the country,” he said.
Throughout the meeting a variety of social clubs discussed their missions. These clubs included VegTerps who talked about animal rights, Our Revolution UMD who talked about continuing Bernie Sanders’ message of progressive reform and the Prison Resistance Project who talked about reforming the capital punishment system.
The Muslim Student Association was also among the groups that spoke. They started off their speech with a prayer, invited everyone to come to their meetings and spoke about student misconceptions of Islam. Then came the College Republicans group. While they said it was a weird time to be a Republican, they also recognized why all the clubs were in attendance Wednesday night:
“Free speech is not a partisan issue, we all need free speech,” Chairman Jacob Vetich said.