Colleges urged to embody 1st Amendment principles

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

'no free speech' signA legal ministry that defends religious freedom is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vindicate two Georgia college students whose school egregiously violated their free speech.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is seeking the Supreme Court's deliberation after two federal courts declined to address the case of Gwinnett College students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford.

In 2016, college officials quickly stopped Uzuegbunam from sharing his Christian faith with other students on the Lawrenceville, Georgia campus because he had not reserved one of two zones where free expression was allowed without a permit. When Uzuegbunam reserved a zone and again tried to share his faith, officials again ordered him to stop because someone complained, which made his evangelization efforts "disorderly conduct" under a Gwinnett policy that applied to any expression that “disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s)." Student Joseph Bradford chose not to speak at all after seeing how officials treated Uzuegbunam. 

After ADF filed 
Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, to challenge the college’s speech zone and speech code policies, Gwinnett
 changed its policies. But attorney Travis Barham says that is not enough.

"They never acknowledged that they silenced those two students and intimidated them into silence repeatedly over the course of this incident," Barham tells OneNewsNow. "So that's what this is about. The government shouldn't be able to violate our rights and then walk away scot-free."

The case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because of the importance of the issues it addresses.

Barham

"Students at the colleges and universities are going to be our future leaders, our future judges, our future politicians," Barham says. "That's why it's all the more important for colleges and universities to embody the First Amendment principles that made our country great and the First Amendment principles that they say they espouse."

Without a legal ruling on the merits of the lawsuit, ADF is concerned the school could easily restore its old, unconstitutional policies.

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