Another day, another assault on free speech. This time the offense took place at California State University-Fresno, when a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter was celebrating Free Speech Week by rolling a giant beach ball around campus and inviting students to write on it as an exercise in free speech. The event was cut short when a student stabbed the ball, deflating it.
The incident initially occurred when a student was asked to write on the ball, but instead, spit on it and walked away. Moments later, the student returned and stood on the opposite side of the ball as Cameron Ervin, the YAL chapter president. Ervin asked why he spit on the ball, but he did not answer and walked away again.
Another student who was writing on the ball saw the first student cut a hole in the ball with what appeared to be a knife. The damage resulted in two cuts, about an inch long, on the ball.
Campus police were notified of the incident, but were unable to find the suspect.
The university did not return a request for comment in time for publication, but has confirmed to news outlets that the event took place. Campus Police confirmed the incident to Campus Reform, stating the “event took place, that campus police had been unable to apprehend the suspect, and that the officer believes a small device such as a pen or paperclip was used.”
This is the second time this month that one of YAL’s free speech balls has been stabbed. The first incident occurred at the University of California-San Diego when a student signed their name as “Karl Marx” on the ball and then stabbed it.
“To see something like this happen again is ridiculous, just because you don’t like what someone wrote doesn’t mean it’s alright to destroy their property,” Jonah Naoum, YAL chapter president at UCSD, said. “Just talk to us if you don’t like us, but don’t destroy our property.”
YAL is dedicated to restoring First Amendment rights for students on college campuses across the nation and is leading the fight with the National Fight for Free Speech Campaign. Since the campaign began just one year ago, YAL has challenged and changed 28 restrictive free speech policies, thus restoring First Amendment rights to over half a million students.
“Incidents like this are eroding the true meaning of the First Amendment and only inspire me to keep fighting the good fight for liberty,” said Alexander Staudt, Director of Free Speech at Young Americans for Liberty.