ADF: Students' free-speech rights just got better in VA

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Bob Kellogg (

There's another free-speech success story on a college campus that challenged so-called "free speech zones."

This time, community college student Christian Parks faced several restrictions when he wanted to share his faith at Thomas Nelson Community College in Virginia.  

First Amendment (Bill of Rights)Parks was told he must be part of a student organization, register four days in advance, and be restricted to a small speech zone in order to preach. 

David Hacker of Alliance Defending Freedom says the college, after facing a lawsuit, has decided to change it rules.

Hacker and ADF were suing Virginia's public community college system while representing Parks.

Hacker says ADF is thankful the community colleges cooperated with the law firm, which meant that students don't have jump through "unconstitutional hoops" to exercise their First Amendment right to speak, he says. 

Hacker, David (ADF)Not only is Thomas Nelson changing its policy, the state of Virginia has taken action against "free speech zones" via a new state law. Virginia legislators passed legislation, signed by the governor,  that protects free speech.

Fox News reported the Virginia law states that colleges cannot impose "time, place and manner" speech restrictions without narrow justification. That law takes effect July 1.

"It's been, really, a watershed moment for the state of Virginia," Hacker tells OneNewsNow. 

OneNewsNow reported just this week that Colorado Mesa University was designated "Speech Code of the Month" for April for confining students' free speech to a patio. 

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