Binghamton University’s College Libertarians and College Republicans will be hosting their first Liberty Weekend, an event where guest speakers are set to discuss topics including education and constitutional rights, from April 27 to 28 on campus.
John Restuccia, vice president of College Libertarians and a sophomore majoring in political science, wrote in an email that the two groups decided to come together for the event to ensure it appealed to students with a variety of political views.
“We organized the event by contacting other clubs and other campus organizations similar to ours,” Restuccia wrote. “I want attendees to gain a deeper understanding on liberty by hearing professionals who have a deep understanding of the topic.”
This year’s speakers include Larry Sharpe, the Libertarian candidate in New York state’s 2018 gubernatorial election, Giovanni Scaringi, a Binghamton city councilman and Jim Rosenbeck, chair of the Libertarian Party of New York. Students will have the opportunity to listen to speakers’ presentations and ask questions on a variety of political issues.
Michael Vasquez, a political commentator, wrote in an email that he was pleased when he got a call asking him to speak at the event.
“I have been a political commentator for more than a decade and an active vocal advocate for constitutional rights for almost as long,” Vasquez wrote. “It’s critical for the public to be aware of what is happening with our government and the consequences of the actions of elected officials that are supposed to be representing constituents.”
Vasquez’s focus will be on the new red flag law, a gun violence prevention law that allows authorities to pursue a court order that could prohibit someone from purchasing or carrying a firearm for up to a year. To understand the implications of this law, Vasquez plans on covering a wide range of topics, including how the law will impact the Second Amendment.
“We have to look at how it affects other aspects of our lives, laws and freedoms,” Vasquez wrote. “Thus, I will also speak about the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 15th Amendments. I’m sure the issues of suicide and child separation will come up as well. Far too often we are sold on a law having simple and singular impact when the reality is far more all-encompassing and disruptive.”
From a speaker’s perspective, Vasquez said he wants students to know it is their life being discussed.
“These issues will affect you, and your children, whether you are active or passive about government,” Vasquez wrote. “Considering the long-term implications on issues and subjects all the featured speakers will be addressing, I hope students will take the opportunity to become better informed with a more diverse understanding. I believe that the students involved in this event, and others like it to come, will be the leaders of the future, finding the solutions we hope for and need in our society and nation.”
Nicole Metrick, a sophomore majoring in nursing, said she is interested in going to the event and hearing new political views.
“I did not know these organizations were hosting such a big event this weekend, but I would be really interested in attending and hearing from these government leaders,” Metrick said.