Another free speech ball stabbed in Fresno

A California State University-Fresno student stabbed a free speech ball belonging to the university’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter Wednesday, effectively ending the free speech event.

Wednesday morning, YAL Fresno State chapter president Cameron Ervin and his fellow YAL members were putting on a free speech event for National Free Speech Week, which involved a free speech ball, a large beach ball on which students may write whatever they want.

The incident began when a passing student was asked if he would like to write on the ball. Without responding, the student spat on the ball, according to eyewitnesses.

Shortly thereafter, the same student returned and stood next to the ball on the opposite side of Ervin. Ervin questioned him as to why he had spit on the ball. Again, the student did not respond and walked away.

At this point, a different student who was writing on the ball told Ervin he saw the apparent suspect slash a hole in the ball with what appeared to be a knife.

It is still unclear as to what the student used to damage the ball. Ervin then investigated the ball and discovered multiple cuts. Ervin immediately called campus police to report the incident; however, as of the time of writing, the suspect had not been apprehended.

Amy Luna, Emergency Operations Manager at Fresno State confirmed to Campus Reform that 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 first time something like this has happened,” Ervin told Campus Reform. “At the previous events I’ve had people argue with me and disagree with my politics, but this guy didn’t even speak to me about what his grievances were.”

Fresno State has a red light rating on free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) thanks in part to a restrictive policy limiting students’ expression online.

The incident at Fresno State isn’t the first time free speech spheroids have come under attack; earlier this month, a student stabbed a free speech ball at the University of California-San Diego.

This event at Fresno State University was a part of YAL’s National Fight for Free Speech campaign that has revised 28 unconstitutional free speech and restored First Amendment rights to 590,202 students.

“If they were trying to thwart free speech and silence us, they just accomplished the opposite,” said Nathan Fatal, West Regional Director for YAL. “This and the ball stabbing at University of California-San Diego have called much more attention to our chapters and leaders and how important it is for students and faculty alike to unequivocally stand up for free speech on campus.”

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