A Christian student is suing Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton,Virginia for free speech rights.
Christian Parks was stopped by campus police from preaching in the college courtyard. The officer claimed that it might ‘offend’ others and it violated school policy.
The legal staff of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is helping with the case. Here’s the story from Citizen Link:
Colleges should not be censoring students’ free speech rights, said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham.
“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for all students in the outdoor areas of campus, regardless of their religious or political beliefs,” Barham explained. They should not have to register with college officials or comply with other arbitrary restrictions to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”
A Virginia Community College System speech policy says that students must be part of a student organization before they speak in the open areas of campus. It also states that students can only speak in areas that college officials designate, and that they must register with the college four days in advance.
Response: This case is all about freedom of speech. Yet one wonders if the Campus police would have stopped a student involved with speaking on political issues in the same courtyard? Doubtful. The tipoff is the comment made at the time that the religious content might ‘offend’ someone.