After having his Christian speech called “disorderly conduct” by school officials, a student is suing Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) officials for precluding him from sharing his faith, by enforcing the campus’ so-called “free speech” rules.
Chike Uzuegbunam is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel Travis Barham in the constitutional freedom case.
“The First Amendment guarantees every student’s freedom of speech and religion, Barham, argues. “Every public school – and especially a state college that is supposed to be the ‘marketplace of ideas’ – has the duty to protect and promote those freedoms. Students don’t check their constitutionally protected free speech at the campus gate.”
He impressed the hypocrisy being demonstrated by a school that boasts its so-called all-inclusive climate.
“While touting commitments to ‘diversity’ and ‘open communications,’ Georgia Gwinnett College confines the speech of students to two ridiculously small speech zones and then censors the speech that occurs in those areas,” Barham pointed out.
Mind – or sharing – police?
The Christian student met stiff opposition when he merely wanted to share about his faith in Jesus Christ with students freely walking around campus.
“Uzuegbunam first ran afoul of GGC’s policy when he attempted to hand out literature and speak with willing listeners about his evangelical faith on the plaza in front of the campus library,” WND reported. “Despite positioning himself so as to not interfere with foot traffic, he was stopped by college officials who informed him that any such activity on campus required a permit. He was also told he would need a permit to approach anyone to privately share his faith.”
The limitations upon students being able to discuss topics regarding one’s sincerely held beliefs on the Georgia campus are considered smothering – at best – by many.
“The college’s only exceptions [to needing a permit] are two restricted ‘free speech’ zones, comprising just .0015 percent of the 260-acre campus,” the conservative news site continued. “Even here, students must submit any materials they wish to display or hand out three days in advance and are restricted to use of the zones only once every 30 days. The zones are only available for use 18 hours per week.”
Even though Uzuegbunam followed the restrictive campus protocol enabling him to share his beliefs, campus law enforcement quickly proceeded to shut him down and silence him.
“Uzuegbunam complied with the rules, seeking and receiving permission in August to share his faith in one of the restricted zones,” the report from WND explained. “However, 20 minutes later, a campus police officer ordered him stop because he had received complaints.”
When a second policeman showed up on the scene, he made it quite clear that the student must cease speaking with other students – or he would face punitive action.
“People are calling us because their peace and tranquility is being disturbed and we’ve asked you to stop,” Uzuegbunam was told by the second officer
Free speech OK … as long as it’s not Christian
It was pointed out that others speaking on campus did not have a hard time communicating their messages to other students – in spite of their crude and raucous delivery.
“Despite other speakers having been allowed by GGC to use amplified sound, both inside and outside the restricted zone – some using offensive language and vulgar, lewd and obscene music – without interference, Uzuegbunam was threatened with a charge of ‘disorderly conduct’ and forced to leave,” the Independent news source informed. “He was told he should share his faith more like members of the Latter Day Saints, who engage in one-on-one proselytizing on campus.”
A confusing, ambiguous and biased policy is adhered to on the Georgia campus, where anti-Christian campus politics reign supreme.
“Upon checking with the campus office that gave him permission to speak, Uzuegbunam was informed that it was a violation of GGC policy for anyone to express a ‘fire and brimstone message’ on campus, -- even within the speech zones,” the WND report announced.“ It was unclear how such a message would be legal – even if shared one-on-one under the school’s speech code – especially since ‘disorderly conduct’ is defined as any expression ‘which disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s).’”
ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox gave a bleak picture of the future of America’s legal system with the Constitution-crushing free speech policies being implemented on college campuses across the nation.
“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, commissioners and voters,” Mattox stressed. “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 GGC and many other colleges are communicating to a generation that the Constitution doesn’t matter.”