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Students for Free Expression aims to convince students that free speech is nonpartisan

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Asher Weinstein, The Eagle

New student group holds open debates on policy issues

Students for Free Expression (SFE), a new student organization promoting open discourse on campus, is on a mission to bring speakers from all corners of the political spectrum to engage with students.

Sophomores Daniel Acosta Rivas and Kailash Fox co-founded the organization as freshmen after discovering AU’s “red light” rating from the free speech organization Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). AU’s standing with FIRE has since improved to “yellow-light,” which indicates that the University has “at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application” of free speech codes, according to FIRE.

On Oct. 4, SFE held their first event of the year, a student-led debate on whether health care is a right. Partnering with Braver Angels, a depolarization organization, the debate took a parliamentary format, allowing any student in attendance to chime in. According to Acosta Rivas, the event far exceeded attendance expectations, with approximately 75 students in attendance, fueled by an assignment for AUx, the University’s mandatory course for first-year students.

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