Sen. Ted Cruz chose to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president at Liberty University, Virginia, founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Cruz undoubtedly chose this backdrop to tout his conservative bona fides.
However, those 10,000 students who attended the Cruz announcement were forced to attend: convocation is mandatory at Liberty University. In fact, students who skip it are fined.
Certainly Liberty University's ties to Falwell were intended to appeal to evangelical voters, an important block in the conservative coalition.
However, the forced attendance of the students infringes upon the freedom of association of the students. At its most basic, conservatism is about expanding liberty. Mandates -- including mandates to listen to a speaker or face a fine -- are the antithesis of liberty.
Those students who wore the Stand With Rand t-shirts to the rally made the point that although they could be forced to attend Cruz's announcement, their vote is still their own.