Free Speech Week Contest Promotes Appreciation of First Amendment Rights
By Matthew Collier
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas’ Moody College of Communication celebrated its fourth annual Free Speech Week from Oct. 16-20 with a video contest and panels on free speech topics.
The Free Speech Minute video contest gave students and faculty an opportunity to record a short video to explain why they believe free speech is important. The finalists received cash prizes with $500 for first place.
Jet Sullivan, a freshman Radio-Television-Film major, won the top prize.
“It was a shock,“ Sullivan said.
“I was working on a different video project and checked Instagram and boom, I’m right there. It was actually really awesome, I was so happy.”
The Media Institute and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation created Free Speech Week in 2005, and schools across the country now participate.
Communication Studies Department chair Craig Scott brought Free Speech Week to UT in 2020.
“Free Speech Week and free speech issues are obviously very relevant to a lot of different aspects in communication,” Scott said.
“Philosophically, I just think it’s something we ought to be celebrating, something we ought to be educating people about.”
Advertising and public relations professor Natalie Tindall hopes for further engagement of students in the planning of the annual event.
“What I’m hoping to see is that we do get some student input on what they would like to see and what they would like to have in the future. Normally, this is like a year-long thing, because we meet in November to discuss plans for next year,” Tindall said.
Student submissions are available to watch in the Free Speech Week Archive.