On February 7th in Portland, students affiliated with Students For Liberty (SFL) had their activism event shut down by campus safety officers at Portland Community College- Sylvania. In an attempt to protest the ongoing war on drugs, students handed out free “pot brownies”. The brownies being handed out were simply ordinary brownies, distributed in a kitchen pot, as part of a tongue and cheek protest.
The students were then approached by campus safety officers, and were told that they could no longer use their signs, and that they were not allowed to refer to the brownies as pot brownies, despite the fact that the brownies were ordinary confectionary items. After the warning the activists involved promptly changed their signage and proceeded to hand out free “speech brownies” as a way of highlighting the ridiculous over-reach of campus safety officers.
When asked about the ordeal, Jared Sharer, an SFL Campus Coordinator and YAL State Chair, said the following:
“The PCC YAL chapter president, SFL’s Garett Roush, and I, were out tabling at Portland Community College - Sylvania. We gave away brownies in a pot, to which we referred as "pot brownies." Campus security initially came and told us it was fine, but then came back 10 to 20 minutes later to shut down our gimmick. They told us we could no longer call the brownies "pot brownies" and had to take down our sign if it references marijuana, even though it was a joke. We were also told at any other PCC campus it would be fine, just not Sylvania because of the atmosphere and higher administration there.”
Additionally, SFL’s Leadership Manager Garett Roush explained his view on what happened:
“It was blatant censorship on semantics. The event was focused on promoting discussion on the ineffectiveness of the drug war and advocating for common-sense criminal justice reform. We didn’t expect that a harmless play-on-words would turn our criminal justice event into a free speech event.”
About Students For Liberty
SFL is a rapidly growing network of pro-liberty students from all over the world. Our mission is to educate, develop, and empower the next generation of leaders of liberty. We are the largest libertarian student organization in the world. Students For Liberty originally began in North America back in 2008. Despite growing into a vast international organization since then, our North American programs remain a key part of our efforts towards creating a freer and more prosperous society. Our passionate team of 123 Campus Coordinators work hard to organize their own Regional Conferences and activism events with the help of our leadership retreats and various grant programs. Students also grapple with advanced libertarian theory in our Virtual Reading Groups.