Most college students know that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but they're not too sure about the other four freedoms.
To be fair, most people, regardless of age, aren't sure.
We can't forget freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to petition.
A group of Mayborn graduate students tackled this issue in fall 2021 as part of their Public Relations Campaigns class, led by Professor Kim Keller. The class received a $2,000 grant from 1 for All, a national nonpartisan and nonprofit educational effort to build understanding and respect for the five freedoms of the First Amendment. The students created a campaign to raise awareness of the amendment's protections and engage students on the topic.
"It was important for us to address the importance of all five freedoms," said Keller. "It's impossible to have one without the others."
First Amendment freedoms are something UNT students need to know more about.
During the past few years, the university has dealt with Amendment issues such as faculty terminations over free speech issues, student protests over racial inequality and demands to ban a conservative student organization. In many of these cases, the First Amendment rights of some groups clashed with the rights of others.
The students began their campaign research in September, developed their plan in October and launched their tactics in November. They targeted progressive students, conservative students and UNT faculty in their efforts.
"We wanted to show that everyone's rights were important, regardless of political ideology," explained Keller. "Viewpoint diversity has to be honored for intellectual debate to thrive on campus, so the students did a deep dive into various groups and created content specifically for those unique viewpoints."
That content included sponsored social media posts for Twitter and Instagram, signs with QR codes that directed students to more information about their rights, campus advertising, tabling events and promotional materials such as buttons, laptop stickers and pens. The students also launched a website that featured videos, UNT's history with the amendment, tips on how students could protect their rights, common misconceptions and links to additional resources.