Kellogg Community College: Silencing the First Amendment
Author: Chris Johnson  
20170208
 

 

Recently we wrote about the silencing of free speech on the campus of Grand Valley State University.

It’s worth taking a moment to refresh our memories:

“Last October at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, university officials and campus police told GVSU students, part of a student group called Turning Point USA, that they couldn’t talk about the First Amendment to other students and ask them to write messages on a beach ball they called a ‘free speech ball’ because the Turning Point students weren’t standing in one of the two designated “free speech zones.” The two free speech zones at GVSU make up 0.03% of the campus, leaving over 99% of GVSU as a restricted speech zone. The students, who were on a sidewalk, were told they would be arrested for trespassing if they didn’t stop exercising their freedom of speech.”

Our home state is in the headlines again for a similar concerning account.

Two Kellogg Community College students were recently arrested in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Their crime?

Handing out the document that secures their right to free speech.

The college claims that the members of the Young Americans for Liberty club were violating the school’s Solicitation Policy, which requires that students ask permission before engaging in “soliciting activity,” by handing out copies of the United States Constitution.

The students responded by asking the Alliance Defending Freedom to file a law suit against the school, rightly claiming that such a policy is in blatant violation of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit also calls out the community college for selective enforcement of their policy, citing a similar instance where an LGBT group passed out literature and collected signatures for a petition, without asking permission. School administration did not enforce their solicitation policy in this case.

Both the Grand Valley University case and the Kellogg Community College case are built on the egregious concept that an institution has the right to draw a boundary line around the inherent human right, protected in the Constitution, of a person’s right to “unabridged” free speech.

ADF Senior Counsel Casy Mattox got to the heart of the matter, “Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, commissioners, and voters. That’s why it’s so important that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students, and why it should disturb everyone that KCC and many other colleges are communicating to a generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”

Not being taught the basics of what the Constitution protects may just be how these colleges got in this mess in the first place.

Let’s hope the lawsuit gives them that education.

Click here to send a message to the president of Kellogg Community College.


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