A man on roller blades steals student group's giant beach ball

Campus Reform received video of a student stealing a giant beach ball which was used to advocate for the end of the Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

'I look back, and then I just hear that sound of the beach ball on the pavement as he was rollerblading away,' one student told Campus Reform.

An unnamed student was caught on video stealing a Young American for Liberty (YAL) chapter’s giant beach ball during a campus activism event on Wednesday at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), footage obtained by Campus Reform shows.

YAL state chair Lucas Baumgartner told Campus Reform the ball represented student choice, and students were invited to sign the ball as the chapter advocated against the school’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

“Here at [CSM], we’re running a petition to end the vaccine mandate that we have here,” Baumgartner said. “We thought we’d bring out the free speech ball, [and] we decided to rename it as…a student choice ball in support of repealing the vaccine mandate.”

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A free speech ball is a common activism tool used on college campuses to advocate for student speech rights. The event features an oversized beach ball, on which students can roll across campus for people to write different expressions. 

Ethan Peterson, a member of YAL who was at the scene, told Campus Reform the student offered to hold the beach ball while Peterson got group members lemonade from a nearby stand.

“I look back, and then I just hear that sound of the beach ball on the pavement as he was rollerblading away,” Peterson said.

The student allegedly took the ball to a nearby creek, and Baumgartner stated that it was later retrieved by a chapter member. 

The ball was reportedly deflated when retrieved by the chapter, however, Baumgarter explained to Campus Reform it had been “stabbed twice” before the unidentified student stole it.

Both YAL members told Campus Reform the unnamed student in the video had a knife at the time the ball was stolen, but they could not confirm whether or not he inflicted the slashes.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: UW official tells conservative student with 'free speech ball' to move or face the cops]

Baumgartner told Campus Reform that the concept of a ‘free speech ball’ is not well-received at the Golden campus, and put the blame on political partisanship.

“Last year, when I first brought it out, it was met with very positive reception, but I think because then it was only attached to the idea,” he explained. “I think once you attach it to an organization, people got to know organizations as more libertarian or conservative, people started turning against it.”

“I’m not sure if it’s so much on free speech, as [it is] just being anti-right,” he said.

Peterson expressed similar concern and alleged that the student stole the beach ball because he disagreed with the chapter’s anti-mandate goal.

“I’m all for people saying whatever they want, even if it’s something I disagree with,” he said. “That’s how we have a perfectly functioning society.”

Peterson stated the chapter filed a report with the campus police about the theft.

Campus Reform contacted the university and the police department for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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