BLOGThe Weekly Digest: Policy at Michigan College Results in Arrests for Handing Out Constitution

By James Arnold Posted on: | May 31, 2017
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Policy at Michigan College Results in Arrests for Handing Out Constitution

 

We've got a good rule of thumb for you: If your college has a policy that would result in arresting people just for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution, you might want to rethink that policy.

Let's look at a school that currently has such a policy.

Last September, Kellogg Community College campus security arrested three people for handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution and talking with students about the school's Young Americans for Liberty club.

The school claims that the club's supporters violated its Solicitation Policy, which states that students and others must obtain permission from the school before they engage in any expressive activity.

If that sounds unconstitutional to you, that's because it is. Here's what ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham had to say:

"Because public colleges have the duty to protect and promote the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, we are asking the court to prevent KCC from enforcing its unconstitutional policy while our lawsuit proceeds. Like all public colleges, KCC is supposed to be ‘the marketplace of ideas,’ but instead, it arrested these club supporters for exercising their freedom of speech, and, ironically, for handing out copies of the very document—the Constitution—that protects what they were doing."

One administrator even argued that asking students questions is an "obstruction of their education" because some students come from "rural farm areas" and are too polite to ignore questions:

 

 

All students, whether they grew up on a farm or in a city, have freedom of speech. Colleges do not have the authority to strip them of that right.

 
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James Arnold

News and Research Manager

James Arnold manages and edits the Alliance Alert, a daily repository of news in all forms—written, spoken, or in video format.

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