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Free Speech Center at MTSU

Articles, news and insights about free expression in America

Elon University

Elon University, in Elon, N.C., held its First Amendment Free Food Festival on Sept. 26, 2018, with assistance from a 1 for All grant.

Here's what campus faculty organizers told fellow faculty and staff in a memo:

“This is a gentle reminder that we’re hosting the First Amendment Free Food Festival at noon Wednesday, Sept. 26 (tomorrow) in the Snow Family Grand Atrium in Schar Hall. We’ll give you a tasty, free meal if you sign away your First Amendment rights. Join us to see our speech, press, religion, assembly and petition privileges acted out and then shooed away.”31059321718_b335f14be7_z.jpg

News coverage highlights:

The Times-News of Burlington, N.C., reported: "Elon University held its second annual First Amendment Free Festival to show students what life would be like if the five freedoms — speech, religion, press, assembly and petition — were suddenly taken away.

"Those who surrendered their freedoms were allowed to treat themselves to a free buffet, but they had to follow the rules of the dictator, played by Student Government Association President Kenneth Brown, and his army of corrupt cops.

“'This is my house!' Brown said, forcing Elon News Network reporter Alex Roat out of the roped-off area for the ninth or tenth time to prevent her from interviewing his subjects.

“'This event is really important to me as a reporter, obviously,' Roat told the Times-News. 'We love the First Amendment. Without it, we couldn’t do what we do, and because of that I felt like it was really necessary to participate just to show people what it would be like to have their First Amendment rights taken away.'”

Elon University's E-net reported: "Elon students, faculty and staff were offered a free lunch Sept. 26 in the Snow Family Grand Atrium in Schar Hall in exchange for the steep price of their First Amendment rights.

"More than 100 people were willing to make the deal during the First Amendment Free Food Festival, which featured students acting as protesters, the media and religious figures – all of whom attempted to exercise their rights to speak out, report the news and pray. But in the center of the commotion were student “police,” who directed people into the eating area, commanded topics of conversation, prohibited coverage of the event and otherwise ensured no one enjoyed freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly or petition – the five rights outlined in the First Amendment."

See Free Food Festival poster.

Here's more:

Times-News

E-net (with video)

Flickr (more photos)

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