First Amendment Rights: Live Free Or Eat Free

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The First Amendment Festival means free food for students on campus.

But with a catch.

Students were given free pizza, subs, chips, brownies, and pop—but only if they signed off their First Amendment rights.

Ohio University’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter is part of a national organization providing professional training, networking and support to journalists.

Over the weekend, members got together in the courtyard across from College Green, to offer students free food during the festival.

President of OU’s SPJ chapter Taylor Mirfendereski said the festival was meant to teach students an important lesson about their constitutionally protected rights.

“We are doing the First Amendment, Free Food Festival, where people come and they sign away first amendment rights in exchange for a free lunch. The idea is to simulate a situation where they don’t have rights so they understand they can’t take their rights they do have for granted,” Mirfendereski said.

Students were able to eat for free if they abided by a few rules.

For starters, they couldn’t talk to each other unless it was about cereal, Halloween, poodles, or Britney Spears.

They also couldn’t wear anything with the color purple or orange in it and they weren’t allowed to wear their hair up.

 “People don’t realize that there are other places where they don’t have the same rights offered to them. For example, in Iran you can’t have a camera and take pictures in the middle of the street. You can’t dance in the middle of the street. Facebook and Twitter are blocked in their country,” said Mirfenderski.  

SPJ wanted students to realize the importance of their rights.