Speech ball serves up first amendment lesson


Michael Brown

A “free speech” ball being signed by students on Buskirk field, April 6, 2016.

Members of Marshall University’s chapter of Turning Point USA provided an outlet for students to share their thoughts Wednesday.
Students involved with the organization had a large beach ball in Buskirk field and were asking students to express their opinions by writing on the ball. Around 100 students participated.
Turning Point USA is a nonpartisan political organization that informs students about politics, so they can make their own political decisions. Over 1,000 colleges have chapters of Turning Point USA. Marshall’s chapter was started this year by freshmen Spencer White.
White, along with the members in this chapter, noticed students were being censored after events that happened earlier in the week.
“We have a basic right to freedom of speech to say or write what we want when we want,” White said.
White said he thinks students should be able to express their opinion as they wish. Chapter member Tory Lanman was at the event to get people to participate.
“With everything that is going on on our campus, we feel like everyone should be able to say what they want without being censored at all,” Lanman said. “So we did the Freedom of Speech Ball.”
Students were encouraged to write what they wanted on the ball and were not asked to filter their thoughts or opinions. Some students wrote about politics, while others wrote religious and inspirational quotes. Some people simply wrote their names.
White said a lot of students used this opportunity to vent about the current political race.
“Trump has been the one who has received the hate,” White said. “There hasn’t been one candidate receiving an overwhelming amount of the support.”
Eastern region director for Turning Point USA Helen Heath attended the event and said she was pleased with the turn out. Heath said she was proud of students in the chapter for organizing the event.
“It’s the student’s future; it’s up to the young people,” Heath said. “Whatever future they want to have, it’s theirs to take.”
Heath and students involved with Turning Point USA agree its important for students to understand what the issues are and how they can be involved and make a difference. Heath said students have expressed to her never party represents their views.
“I think the previous generation of electives have sold our future out from underneath of us,” Heath said. “I’m upset about it and that’s why I got involved with Turning Point USA.”
Cheyenne DeBolt can be contacted at [email protected].