Judge puts stop to school preventing Christian free speech

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/06/08/judge-puts-stop-to-school-preventing-christian-free-speech/

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A judge approved a permanent injunction against a North Carolina State University (NCSU) policy in a win for a Christian group whose free speech rights were being infringed upon.

NCSU had a policy that required student groups to have “a permit for any kind of student speech or communication anywhere on campus,” according to reports from The College Fix. Students would need permission from the Student Involvement Office to hand out fliers and brochures or engage with students. Federal Judge James Dever issued a permanent injunction against this Saturday, writing the policy probably “facially violates the First Amendment.”

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said, “because the only permit required for free speech on a public university campus is the First Amendment, we welcome the court’s decision to put a stop to NC State’s policy. Students of any political, religious, or ideological persuasion should be able to freely and peacefully speak with their fellow students about their views without interference from government officials who may prefer one view over another.” ADF is a Christian nonprofit representing the group.

Grace Christian Life had a registered permit, but when it set up its table, it was told it could not approach other students; it would have to wait until a student came up. The group was also told members had to stay behind the table. Grace Christian Life noted other student groups were allowed to leave from behind tables and interact with and hand out fliers to other students.

ADF attorneys and related attorneys defended the student group on the grounds that the school’s policy is viewpoint discrimination and violates their right to free speech and free exercise of religion.

The lawsuit states that “the speech permit policy contains no objective criteria for university officials and the defendants to use when determining what speech ‘is consistent with the university’s mission and purpose of the location.” It also said the school administrators had “the authority to evaluate whether student speech is consistent with the university’s mission and purpose of the location, and to disallow or place restrictions on the dissemination of that speech based on content and viewpoint.”

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