'Year of Reckoning': Students host fake censorship campaign to promote 1A rights

WVU spokeswoman told Campus Reform WVU supports the fight for the First Amendment.

WVU staged a series of demonstrations recently to promote First Amendment rights as part of a year-long project promoting free speech.

Earlier this month, students at West Virginia University hosted a fake campus censorship campaign to promote the importance of First Amendment rights on college campuses.

The campaign comprised the staged closure of a Free Speech Zone on campus, chains and locks on newspapers, and “censored” signs on student flyers.

The campaign was sponsored by the Martin Hall Agency, a “student run Advertising and Public Relations agency at West Virginia University” that advocates for First Amendment rights.

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MHA received a grant from Middle Tennessee State University to put on the demonstrations as part of a year-long project called the “Year of Reckoning,” the university reports.

“Our whole goal is to promote knowledge and awareness of the First Amendment protections, specifically among college students,” undergraduate Emma Magruder told The Daily Athenaeum, a student newspaper.

Until 2002, WVU two “free speech zones,” which were the only locations on campus where students could exercise their First Amendment rights. 

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According to a 2009 article by FIRE, after “many letters, a public exposure campaign, and a lawsuit from the Rutherford Institute,” the university finally expanded free speech to the entire campus.

A spokeswoman for WVU told Campus Reform that today, “free speech is not limited to any specific or designated areas on campus.”

“West Virginia University supports the efforts of students with the Martin Hall Agency — along with all students, faculty and staff — who are working to raise awareness about the First Amendment,” the spokeswoman said.

Campus Reform reached out to Martin Hall Agency for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

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