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Screen_Shot_2016-04-12_at_1.10.58_PMHow often have we heard it now?

“Our goal was to disrupt the event.”

“Free speech =/= Hate speech”

“I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”

To anyone paying attention, it’s clear that those of us defending free speech and those decrying it are largely talking past each other.

Professors who see student reporters as threats and student activists who call free expression a “tool of oppression” are missing something big.

For those of us who “get it” this all seems pretty absurd. How could anyone think that way?

We forget that we weren’t born with an appreciation for free speech or a knowledge of its history. We may know that many people fought and died for these rights because, before them, things were a lot worse. But not everyone knows that and, I’m willing to bet, most of those attacking free speech could use a refresher course in this history of rights.

The good news is that you can help! With the support of SFL’s Speak Freely campaign – and a new pamphlet we’ve produced to make the case for speech on campus – you can fill in the gaps for your classmates, professors, and friends. It’s a modern adaptation of J.S. Mill and includes some examples of especially egregious speech restrictions that (we hope!) would give anyone pause.

After you download it, be sure to click below and apply for a #SpeakFreely grant of up to $250 towards free speech activism, available until April 30th!

Apply Now

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 1.51.06 PMSFL’s California Ballot Issues Conference is coming up soon!

Why the focus on local issues? The ballot process is a culmination of the democratic process and a method that can be used to advance liberty. From the many proposals that seek to legalize marijuana to a proposal to lower the drinking age, libertarian issues can be advanced through ballot initiatives. Even though the ballot process can be used to advance liberty it can also be used against it. A proposal to increase firearms regulation in a state that already has excessive restrictions on firearms is in the process of going on the ballot in California while a proposal to raise the minimum wage is also making rounds.

The conference will have three esteemed academics who speaking on several different issues behind some of the ballot proposals. The speakers include Glen Whitman, a Professor of Economics at California State University, Northridge who will be speaking on minimum wage, Daniel C. Palm, a Professor of Political Science at Azusa Pacific University who will be speaking about gun rights and finally Donald Kochan who is the Associate Dean for Research & Faculty Development and a Professor of Law at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Dean Kochan will be speaking about marijuana legalization.

The location and time is April 30th from 11:00 am-2:30pm at California State University Dominguez Hills in the Loker Student Union, Room 324-325. Conference registration is free and includes a light breakfast and post-conference social lunch.

Register Now

The semester may almost be over, but SFL’s student activism never stops! Check out our opportunities for student leaders like yourself in the coming weeks:

Toronto_RC_4-1.jpgApply for a $250 #SpeakFreely Activism Grant: Stand up for free speech at your school with SFL! You can get reimbursed up to $250 to buy a free speech ball, host an open mic night, or any other activism idea promoting free speech. Deadline: April 30th

Join SFL’s Campus Coordinator Program: Looking to promote liberty AND advance your professional career? You can do both at the same time through SFL’s premier leadership program. Apply now to be our representative in your community. Deadline: May 9th.

Apply for a travel scholarship to FreedomFest: Once again, SFL is offering a $100 travel scholarship plus lodging at the liberty movement’s largest conference, FreedomFest, in sunny Las Vegas. Apply now for a week you won’t forget with the best student organizers in North America.

Join SFL’s Virtual Reading Group on “War, Security, and Liberty”: Issues of national security and intervention have always been a source of tension and disagreement among classical liberals and libertarians. This reading group will explore a variety of issues related to war, security, and liberty from an economic perspective. Deadline: April 20th

41jo9DXwDIL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_In 1975, a Yale committee chaired by the late professor C. Vann Woodward, issued the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale. It stated that “The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.” This was long recognized as the standard to which good universities should hold themselves.

Not anymore.

Today, instead of calling for intellectual freedom, openness, and honesty, colleges seek to avoid controversy, push uniformity, and make students comfortable instead of informed. Even at Yale, the fall semester brought demonstrations over Halloween costumes and calls for a professor to resign over an email. It’s even worse across the Atlantic.

Tom Slater, however, is fighting back. He’s the editor of a new book that lays out the problem in no uncertain terms. Unsafe Space, which features essays from contributors in both the US and UK, is “a polemic against intellectual conformity – a demand that every university be an Unsafe Space.” (more…)

Do you want to learn about the changing role of the United States in the world today? Interested in exploring the role of the American system of governance in promoting a free society? Be part of the National Humanities Institute’s upcoming foreign policy conference America the Virtuous: Reimagining America’s Role in the World, taking place April 22nd-23rd at the Catholic University of America.

logo-nhi-grnAttendees will learn how an understanding of the American constitutional system could inform a more effective foreign policy and explore the cultural case for restraint. A deep grounding in these ideas will help make for both a more moral foreign policy agenda and a smarter international relations mindset. The conference will invite students to explore the ethical principals at work and how governments that abide by principles of prudence and restraint promote peace and prosperity abroad.

Speakers will include NHI President Michael P. Federici on “American Foreign Policy and Modest Republicanism: The Great Rule Reconstituted” as well as Cato Institute scholar Doug Bandow on“What Should a Bankrupt Republic do in Today’s World?” and Cato’s Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies Christopher Preble on “The Problem with Primacy: Why U.S. Foreign Policy Needs a Reset.”

The conference will be held on the campus of The Catholic University of America in Hannan Hall 108. Meals and registration are free for students and Friday night will feature a free reception as well. Check it out next weekend!

Click here to register.