Photo and story by Brendon Donoho
A long line divided the lobby of the Student Union on Thursday as students waited to participate in a presentation by One For All and, hopefully, earn a free lunch.
The event was sponsored by 1 for All, MTSU’s First Amendment Center in partnership with Dr. Hanna Park’s public relations class and focused on the freedoms which we all too often take for granted.
“We’re trying to bring awareness to the five freedoms in the first amendment,” said Ashley Carman, a student in the PR class. “Today, we’re actually handing out free Chick-Fil-A but there is a catch. They have to give up their five freedoms in a fun way today in order to finally get that Chick-Fil-A.”
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WOW! What a day. We started out with 100 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and after only an hour and a half, they were all gone! Thank you to all the students who underwent our exercise and had a glimpse of what it would be like to lose your First Amendment rights. We have had a blast these past two weeks planning and implementing events as PR professionals and are so grateful for the wonderful feedback and participation from MTSU’s student body! A special thank you as well to all the MTSU student media and to the Murfreesboro journalists who attended today’s event and will be writing a story over it! It’s a privilege to be able to carry out this important campaign and message. #FreedomComesFirst #1ForAllMTSU
The five freedoms given in the first amendment are speech, press, petition, assembly, and religion. During the demonstration, five people at a time were taken to a table where each of these freedoms were infringed upon in creative ways.
“It’s just a fun little exercise we’re doing to see how people would react to not having those freedoms,” said Donivous Odom, another of Dr. Park’s students.
Participants were told not speak to one another or complain about any aspect of the experiment to simulate the loss of petition and assembly rights, told to comment on 1 for All’s Instagram page and made to repeat 1 for All’s slogan, “freedom comes first,” to cover press and speech, and told to bow our heads and say “thank you chicken for your sacrifice,” to simulate loss of our freedom of religion.
The experiment was quick and enjoyable but underscored by a very serious point about the importance of our rights and the ways in which they’re taken for granted.
“We just want students to know that Freedom comes first,” said Carman, “and to remember the importance of their five freedoms in the first amendment.”
The event ran for nearly three hours and pulled in more scores of students.
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