An organization oriented around free speech filed suit against a community college Wednesday after the school arrested students for handing out pocket-sized Constitutions.
Nonprofit organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed for a temporary injunction against Kellogg Community College after the school arrested two members of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) for distributing small Constitutions on campus, according to a press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Drew Hutchinson, Manager of Student Life at the school, told Kellogg students Brandon Withers and Michelle Gregorie that students from rural areas have “grown up to be ultra polite” and “might not feel like they have the choice to ignore” the students.
“That’s who I’m trying to protect,” said Hutchinson.
In the complaint, YAL and ADF allege that Kellogg’s Solicitation Policy “grants KCC officials unbridled discretion to restrict the content and viewpoint of student speech if it does not ‘support the mission of Kellogg Community College (KCC) or the mission of a recognized college entity or activity.’”
“It is shocking and upsetting to see officials from public colleges refer to our country’s founding document as a threatening solicitation,” said Cliff Maloney Jr., president of YAL. “The blatant disregard for free speech on public campuses is precisely why the words and rights of the U.S. Constitution should be spread far and wide.”
“College personnel spoke with the individuals and politely asked them to complete basic paperwork and continue their activities inside the KCC Student Center, a high-traffic area located approximately 100 feet from where the individuals were standing,”said Eric Greene, Kellogg’s director for public information and marketing, in a statement emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The individuals repeatedly refused KCC’s requests to register or move to a different location and were arrested that afternoon on trespassing charges.”
Greene noted that Kellogg teaches courses on the U.S. Constitution, hands out free Constitution copies on Constitution Day, and “takes seriously” any accusation concerning infringement of a student’s freedom of expression.
“Under the terms of the Solicitation Policy, the College does not take into consideration the content of speech or solicitation when granting individuals or organizations access, but it does govern the time, place and manner of such activities in accordance with longstanding state and federal laws.”
Travis Barham, legal counsel for ADF, remarked to TheDCNF that under Kellogg’s policy, students can only speak at one designated location on campus.
“The only permit that a student needs to speak on campus is the First Amendment,” said the counsel.