Michigan House Republicans
Oakland University free speech contest garners praise from Rep. Steele
RELEASE|February 27, 2024
Contact: Donni Steele

State Rep. Donni Steele is applauding Oakland University for embracing her idea to hold a civic engagement contest centered around free speech. The contest asks OU students to answer whether freedom of speech is a necessity in order to have a healthy democracy. All entries must be made in the form of an essay of no more than 1,000 words, video not exceeding five minutes, drawing or painting, poem, or an audio recording not exceeding five minutes.

“We live in a time where our freedom of speech is being questioned all too often,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This contest gives our students the opportunity to explore their first amendment right and communicate how essential that liberty is to them. To me, nothing is more important than our freedom of expression. Our ability to partake in civil discourse is the absolute bedrock of our nation.”

The contest was announced by OU following a meeting between Steele and OU President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz to discuss free speech on campus following an increasing number of student demonstrations in response to global events. A portion of the university’s campus is in Auburn Hills, which is in Steele’s district.

Any full-time OU student is eligible to participate. Submissions, due April 1, will be judged by a panel of OU faculty and other experts using a rubric that grades the following criteria on a scale of 1-10:

The winner will receive a $2,000 prize. All submissions must be made via this Google Form.


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