Police Tell Student Activists Their “Free Speech” is Scaring Other Students

By Jack Burns

In yet another test of the U.S. Constitution’s protected freedom of speech, the Constitution Club at Southern Illinois University (SIU) inflated a giant beach ball and asked students to come by, grab a sharpie, and write whatever they felt like writing on the ball.

The students’ free speech rights exercise was quickly interrupted by campus police who informed the club members they had received complaints about the ball and the group would need to stop their activities.

According to Campus Reform, the reason SIU chose to attempt to stop the demonstration was that campus police said the students did not go through the proper channels to be able to hold the demonstration:

Executive Director of University Marketing and Communications Doug McIlhagga telling Campus Reform that the activists were in violation of the university’s policy “governing freedom of expression and demonstration activities.”

“The demonstrators didn’t follow the proper University procedure for a public forum by going through the Vice Chancellor of Administration’s Office for approval,” he elaborated. “We normally get the ‘Request For Use Of The Designated Public Forum’ form. However in this particular instance, we did not.”

Ultimately, the group was allowed to continue with their free speech demonstration but not before having to make contact with campus police to explain their actions. The SIU police did not appear to want to interrupt what the group was doing but were under marching orders from their superiors.

“This is not considered like a public place,” one campus police officer told the students. “Right now, we’re going to have to put the ball away … it’s freaking a lot of people out … people are reporting that they’re scared of the beach ball, and what’s going on here.”

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At issue is whether or not a university campus, a public facility, is, in fact, private property or public property. If it is public property, then the group should not be compelled to go through any channels of approval. Instead, the group is subjected to what some consider an arbitrary process, which attempts to secure the outside approval of a third party (in this case, the Director of University Marketing and Communications) to get the blessing for what the Constitution already allows.

It is not the first time a group on campus has been accosted by police for attempting to assert their free speech rights. As TFTP reported last January, several college students were arrested for passing out pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution and signing students up for membership in their conservative student organization. The incident occurred at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan, and involved members of Young Americans for Liberty who were arrested on Sept. 20, 2015, and charged with trespassing.

Brandon Withers and Michelle Gregoire were arrested and spent nearly 7 hours in jail for their unapproved distribution of the U.S. Constitution and for allegedly attempting to recruit others to their club. The “offenses” resulted in demands the students remove themselves from campus property. The students refused to leave and were arrested by campus police and charged with trespassing.

According to The Washington Times, Scottsdale, Arizona-based “Alliance Defending Freedom,” a nonprofit legal organization that “advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith,” filed a lawsuit on their behalf Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Senior ADF counsel Casey Mattox issued a statement wherein ADF claims their clients’ constitutional rights supersede any unlawful school rules denying them such freedoms.

Kellogg Community College had established several rules regarding the exercise of free speech and has established a free speech zone. Additionally, the distribution of materials, according to the college, must be approved first by the department known as Student Life. In other words, the exercise of students’ first amendment rights according to the U.S. Constitution is regulated by the public school’s Student Life department. And the school defines free speech as “solicitation,” another activity which must be pre-approved.

Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

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17 Comments on "Police Tell Student Activists Their “Free Speech” is Scaring Other Students"

  1. Grace by Faith | January 14, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    Again the ever-elusive third-party snitch that doesn’t really exist rears its ugly head. The reason is, the armed thugs masquerading as protectors and servers can’t do squat without it if no codes are broken. This is how color of law operates, and this is how they subvert even their own codes of behavior – they manufacture consent from a non-existent third-party to use their special kind of serving and protecting on us all. Look for this to happen more and more.

    This, and every other UN nation operates solely under admiralty law, or by color of law, meaning it has the appearance of real law, but isn’t. It has no authority without some sort of nexus with them, like a contract, license, registration, etc. – which puts us into their fictitious (not real) jurisdiction. Both silence and contracts equal consent. Under this color of law in their jurisdiction, we aren’t living, breathing flesh and blood, we are corporations (their property) owned and operated by the state, and once we’re in it, we’re theirs to toy with.

    In this article, no one gave their consent to the cops to have the authority over them or what they were doing, and obviously they didn’t break any codes of behavior (all our laws are codes of behavior) or else the cops would have already hauled them off. So what they did is manufacture consent to have jurisdiction over them by lying that someone complained, making that other person the one who took action, not them.

    What these students should have done is insist the cops present the complainant, because in real de jure common law, everyone has the right to face their accuser. Everyone should learn how to avoid their law-of-the-sea jurisdiction which operates invisibly along side real de jure common law. Learn to recognize the difference, and they won’t be able to even see you let alone kidnap you, cage you, and extort your assets.

    • Any time I receive demands from “State of ______, County of ______, or City of _______”, I respond with a Denial of Jurisdiction sent Certified Mail, Return Receipt or physically enter same in court prior to appearance. Make them time stamp and certify your copy. Refuse to sign anything you disagree with voluntarily, writing “under duress” BEFORE signing.

      Another fun trick is to Demand that any person claiming to be a Judge enter their Oath of Office into the Record while swearing to abide by same before proceeding.

      Be safe out there!

  2. Trolling is a ball sport now?

  3. The author betrays his ignorance of the law of the land. He claims that the rights of speech or assembly on public space require not permits. But the Supreme Court has ruled clearly that ” Such time, place, and manner restrictions can take the form of requirements to obtain a permit for an assembly,” on public property. A street, for instance, may be a public space but to have a parade on that street, you are required to obtain a permit.

    I stopped reading when I saw the author did not know what he was talking about.

  4. Oh my God!!
    Students are doing something that I don’t know or understand!
    MAKE IT STOP!! Call the police!!! IT’S A DANGEROUS BEACH BALL!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    This is what a lot of our college students have become.
    A bunch of SNOWFLAKES that can’t understand REALITY. Then they call BIG DADDY, the police, to make it go away while those weak minded students that were scared for NO GOOD REASON, hide in their SAFE SPACE, sucking their thumbs!

    You students that think this way do not belong in the ADULT world.
    You CAN’T HANDLE reality!

    GO HOME and hide behind your mother’s skirt, because you are too IMMATURE to be on your own.
    Which makes you a DANGER to society.

    And don’t get me started on the TREASONOUS rental cops and the street cops that are supposed to protect and serve WE THE PEOPLE. Instead, they BOW DOWN to unconstitutional corporate legalese and VIOLATE our RIGHTS everyday!

    Our world is in grave danger from these snowflakes that are suppose to be our future generation for a better world and society.

    I think it’s time to shut down all colleges and universities. Then revamp the educational curriculum to FACTS and retrain the professors to teaching REAL world issues and TRAIN the students to HANDLE unusual situations without PANICKING, running to their SAFE SPACE and calling big daddy to make it go away.

    Namaste.

  5. They say “Campus Police”. I just see some functionary authorized to hand out teddy bears and crayons.

  6. Tatiana Covington | January 16, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Reply

    Well, if they’re afraid of a beach ball, then let them have massive heart attacks and die. I’d just walk right on by, smiling and laughing.

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