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Thread: Community college tramples First Amendment...

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Community college tramples First Amendment...

    no wonder these schools can't get the Second right... the First is relatively "easy!"

    TFred

    Tennessee College Charges Students for Free Speech


    A letter from ADF allied attorney Andy Fox details the policies at Pellissippi State and how their application violates the rights of Mark Dew, a Pellissippi State student who wishes to share his faith with fellow students. PSCC prohibits individual students like Mark from engaging in speech or literature distribution on campus, treating such activities as prohibited “solicitation.” Students who wish to express ideas on campus by written or spoken word must pay the same fee that an outside organization would have to pay to hock goods and services to PSCC students.

    Read the letter too, it's pretty good.

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    If they ban all solicitation and are not selective about which types are banned, there should be no problem. The kids are there to get an education, not to be bugged by folks hawking MasterCards or God.

    Oh, and I am a Christian. It is important to me that the Word be spread. However, if the college is banning solicitation of all sorts, then that includes evangelism.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    If they ban all solicitation and are not selective about which types are banned, there should be no problem. The kids are there to get an education, not to be bugged by folks hawking MasterCards or God.

    Oh, and I am a Christian. It is important to me that the Word be spread. However, if the college is banning solicitation of all sorts, then that includes evangelism.
    Did you read the linked letter describing the violation?

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Did you read the linked letter describing the violation?

    TFred
    The letter describes the student's actions. "Solicitation" is an apt description of what he is doing. Once again, if the college bars solicitation (which is reasonable), then that includes religious solicitation. There should be no problem unless the ban on solicitation is being applied unevenly--in which case, all the college need do is start applying the policy evenly.

    This is not a free speech or freedom of religion issue.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    The letter describes the student's actions. "Solicitation" is an apt description of what he is doing. Once again, if the college bars solicitation (which is reasonable), then that includes religious solicitation. There should be no problem unless the ban on solicitation is being applied unevenly--in which case, all the college need do is start applying the policy evenly.

    This is not a free speech or freedom of religion issue.
    Did you read any of the provided material?

    Solicitation is defined in the state code. What he wants to do is most definitely not solicitation.

    TFRed

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    I'm with eye95 on this one. As a student you agree to the rules and regulations of the school. If he doesn't like it, why not attend a different college? If the school bars all solicitation without a permit or OK form the school then what is the issue? Religious freedom means other people have the right to be free of religion as well as practice their faith privately or with like minded people, it doesn't grant someone the freedom to impose or solicit their beliefs to others.

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    The State, through schools, limits the speech of students all the time. Please cite a SC ruling that states that, even if they have a reasonable justification (such as a ban on solicitation), they may not ban activities that disrupt the purpose of the school just because someone throws the label "speech" on the activity?

    Seriously, real rights are being advocated on this site. The act of bellyaching about a "no solicitation" rule on campus demeans real efforts to resecure rights!

    Moving on.

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    When attending a school you agree to abide by their rules and regulations. It is not compulsory to attend the college, and therefore the student is free to move on at any time. Any attempt at solicitation could have an adverse affect on other students and there ability to get everything out of their education. What gives this guy the "right" to impede others rights?
    As far as whether or not this has something to do with his religion, it may or may not. I know that if someone had sat outside or in a common area of my college handing out information or talking to me about their religion I would have been rather annoyed and that's a hassle I really wouldn't want or need to deal with at school. Bad enough some go door to door. This is of course my personal opinion.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    All I can say is, "Wow."

    If our own "regulars" here have such a horrid lack of basic understanding of the very foundation of the Bill of Rights, it's no wonder we have battles for the rest of them "out among the English..."

    Just wow. And a lot sad.

    TFRed

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    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...50708/abstract

    The college, as far as I can reason from the information given, has not violated his 1st amendment rights as per the cited SCOTUS info above. I'm sure the above link is not the end all be all of information on this issue, but it gives a clear outline of what is expected. If anyone has other SCOTUS info and cites to share, I'm interested in learning.

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    I'm with Eye, it is not a free speech issue. And in every lawsuit, there is a lawyer who is being paid to advocate, not because he thinks there is a good case, but because he is paid to do so.

    I am an atheist, and I can certainly ignore a passing evangelist. I also believe in defending speech, whether I find it useful, irrelevant or irritating. I don't believe in defense of lies or deceptive, hateful speech. The line between these is a fine one, and the state only has a compelling interest in stopping speech which is demonstrably false and quantifiably harmful. I'm not comfortable with the state trying to define acceptable speech- look at EU state "hate speech" laws for what none of us want.

    I would find it repulsive that a person feels so strongly about his own belief that he doesn't respect mine. But that is not the issue, and my comfort is not the concern of the law or the courts. The issue is that there is a uniform policy which is intended to allow students to participate fully in campus life without having to be subject to unfettered bothering. I doubt that there was such a problem so as to justify such a rule, but the rule isn't wrong. It doesn't prevent the content or manner of speech, only the very limited place and time at which it may not be expressed. It was probably in response to an isolated incident where someone was inconvenienced. As long as "what's good for the goose is good for the gander", and the limits only result in small temporal and geographic limitations FOR GOOD CAUSE, I might defend reasonable restrictions.

    In keeping with recent second amendment rulings by SCOTUS, reasonable restrictions as to where and when will be allowed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    When attending a school you agree to abide by their rules and regulations. It is not compulsory to attend the college, and therefore the student is free to move on at any time. Any attempt at solicitation could have an adverse affect on other students and there ability to get everything out of their education. What gives this guy the "right" to impede others rights?
    As far as whether or not this has something to do with his religion, it may or may not. I know that if someone had sat outside or in a common area of my college handing out information or talking to me about their religion I would have been rather annoyed and that's a hassle I really wouldn't want or need to deal with at school. Bad enough some go door to door. This is of course my personal opinion.
    This guy is impeding others' rights? How so? Do you have a right to not be annoyed, no matter how slight the annoyance? Has it really come to this? Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, R.I.P. for your successor is the Land of the Enslaved, Home of the Afraid!

    As a hardcore, flaming liberal (in the classic sense of the word) atheist, I might think religions to be stupid, perhaps even to be blights on humanity which are designed to yoke the mind and repress the individual, but it's a free country--ideally. Such being the case, I can tell him "No thanks, I'm not interested", and if he becomes a pest, I can tell him to "go piss off", and if the pestering elevates to harassment, I can call the authorities.

    People have a right to live their lives free of the fear of harassment. That's where I draw the line. He's not interfering with your schoolwork. He's not stalking you. He's handing you a flier, and presumably saying a few friendly words. You either chose to take it, and say "have a nice day", or not. He's at a publicly funded community college, not private property, and that puts the whole thing in another ballpark.

    In the context of a gun rights board, "Your pistol annoys / and or worries me! Big brother, come make him take it off!" In truth, the The P in PC represents a five letter word, ending in 'y', that doesn't have a place in polite conversation, unless you're dealing with a feline aficionado; these are sort of people (for lack of a better word) who will be the ruination of us all. I'm surprised to find so many on a board which deals with gun rights.
    Last edited by CO-Joe; 02-23-2011 at 02:41 PM.

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    What if I were an incredibly sensitive person and this young man's pamphlets and friendly words were construed as coercive or offensive? What if I was extremely religious and were to take his advances to be a threat to my religion and my right to religious freedom? What if? What if? What if? This can go on and on in a giant circle forever, and it's a waste of all of our time.

    Just because a school is partially funded by government funds does not make it a government building or institution. If I ran a childcare service out of my home and accepted government assisted payment from someone does that make me a government employee and my house a government building? No, of course it doesn't, and I wouldn't have to allow everyone to peaceably assemble on my lawn.

    It's also not the government telling him he can't solicit, it's a school student board. If they denied him based solely on his beliefs, race, gender etc... I'd actually give a damn about it, but nowhere does that come up. If that does come up, and seems to be legitimate then he has a case, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CO-Joe View Post
    In the context of a gun rights board, "Your pistol annoys / and or worries me! Big brother, come make him take it off!" In truth, the The P in PC represents a five letter word, ending in 'y', that doesn't have a place in polite conversation, unless you're dealing with a feline aficionado; these are sort of people (for lack of a better word) who will be the ruination of us all. I'm surprised to find so many on a board which deals with gun rights.
    I truly hope this isn't an insult towards me, because it sure seems to be. It's unnecessary and flat out rude. I didn't engage in name calling or other petty banter, I'd appreciate the same in return.

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    You have a right to free speech. Not while standing on my land.
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    I truly hope this isn't an insult towards me, because it sure seems to be. It's unnecessary and flat out rude. I didn't engage in name calling or other petty banter, I'd appreciate the same in return.
    Not at all. Its an observation in the progression of our society. Someone is always willing to play the victim for every perceived slight, no matter how innocent the occasion. The consequence is this, everyone is a potential victim, and so everyone from gigantic multinational corporations right down to individual bloggers feel compelled tiptoe about a topic... err...ANY topic, for fear of upsetting some unlikely demographic.

    What if I were an incredibly sensitive person and this young man's pamphlets and friendly words were construed as coercive or offensive? What if I was extremely religious and were to take his advances to be a threat to my religion and my right to religious freedom?
    Then you either need to pull up your big boy pants and act like an adult, or you'd better lock yourself away, chicken little, because someone is going to offend you. If you're so sensitive, it's guaranteed. It would be just as well for you to never venture outside, because how much can such a person contribute to society? Also, if your faith is so easily shaken by any random evangelist, you might do well to look inwards, and you may see that your faith is weak.

    The ultimate solution to the Political Correctness movement is therefore rather ironic. One needs to make most everything as offensive as possible, as this works to inoculate a persons senses against trivial issues. Witness New York City, or the Gay Pride movement. What worked to normalize homosexuality: remaining in the closet or throwing crazy, hedonistic 'pride' parades?
    Last edited by CO-Joe; 02-23-2011 at 05:14 PM.

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    so·lic·it (s-lst)
    v. so·lic·it·ed, so·lic·it·ing, so·lic·its
    v.tr.
    1. To seek to obtain by persuasion, entreaty, or formal application: a candidate who solicited votes among the factory workers.
    2. To petition persistently; importune: solicited the neighbors for donations.
    3. To entice or incite to evil or illegal action.
    4. To approach or accost (a person) with an offer of sexual services.
    v.intr.
    1. To make solicitation or petition for something desired.
    2. To approach or accost someone with an offer of sexual services in return for payment.

    This student is not soliciting. He his sharing his religious beliefs , I bet you this school has a double standard, if he was handing out fliers for a socialistic club he would have been A.O.K.

    If a school wants to make rule abrogating our rights than they need to take no public money whatsoever in my opinion.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    [QUOTE=
    If a school wants to make rule abrogating our rights than they need to take no public money whatsoever in my opinion.[/QUOTE]

    Would you also support the removal of a church or religious groups 501C3 status? I ask not to antagonize, but as a legit question. I have talked to several people who think as you state above and they did not support the removal of 501C3 status.

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    As a former student of this college I was not aware of this policy. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    It was a great community college though. Really enjoyed it.

  20. #20
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    Would you also support the removal of a church or religious groups 501C3 status? I ask not to antagonize, but as a legit question. I have talked to several people who think as you state above and they did not support the removal of 501C3 status.
    No, we have the right to belong to church and religious groups, atheistic groups, etc. That is the point, exercising your free will including being able to talk to other students about your faith.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    A bit wordy, but still very will written.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Good evening.

    I stumbled on this forum while researching an article about Mr. Dew and the letter that was sent.

    As much as it pains me to do so, I must agree that the policy is likely technically restricting his right to free speech. And if that were the only issue at play here, I would agree.

    However, in this specific case, allow me to present the following:

    To the best of my understanding, when Mr. Dew started his proselytizing last semester, he was NOT a student at Pellissippi. It was last semester when campus security informed him that he had to be a part of a group on campus to pass out his literature.

    A few posters above have said that if he talked to them they would just ignore him. The problem is, Mr. Dew is known around the campus for following people who say no thank you and continuing to speak for him. He is also known for sitting in the cafeteria, eavesdropping on other people's conversations, and then interrupting and loudly proclaiming that the people talking are "going to hell". He is a fire and brimstone type evangelist, and he has been complained about numerous times to faculty, staff, and security.

    While the over arching issue may be his first amendment rights, the reality is that he is trying to counter the numerous complaints he has received.

    And before anyone questions it, I am currently a student at Pellissippi, and myself and numerous friends have been on the receiving end of his type of "evangelism".

  23. #23
    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    If what you say is true than what he is doing is harassment. No means no. I am not a big fan of proselytizing myself but understand that to some people that is practicing their religion.Still if you cross a certain boundary it is harassment.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    so·lic·it (s-lst)
    v. so·lic·it·ed, so·lic·it·ing, so·lic·its
    v.tr.
    1. To seek to obtain by persuasion, entreaty, or formal application: a candidate who solicited votes among the factory workers.

    Then by your very definition, and in the context of the the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, this young student IS, in fact, engaged in solicitation.

    Christians are required by the words of Yeshua Ben Joseph in Matthew 28:19 (KJV) to "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Christians are MANDATED to convert the world. Anything less is, in writings of Yeshua ben Joseph, "lukewarm"...

    He is soliciting these people--not for money, or to buy his wares--but for their very souls, because that is what his religion COMMANDS he do...

    Proselytizing IS a form of solicitation.

    He is using the threat of eternal damnation to coerce or persuade people that his particular brand of deific devotion is THE WAY. And if THAT isn't solicitation, then I'm not sure what is.

    If he wants to stand on a street corner and do it, that's one thing, but as a grad student, I can totally see why this university doesn't want people using their student body as a captive audience for religious proselytizing..

    This isn't about "free speech". It's about maintaining an environment that is conducive to learning--and having to navigate around some hormone-laden junior street preacher doesn't seem like a very friendly atmosphere to me...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 03-16-2011 at 09:40 PM.
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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    I see your point, I would say that the many, "teaching" wouldn't be soliciting, and that it is voluntary to become a "christian". Yeshua also said when not accepted to shake the dust off your feet and 'move on'.

    This kid isn't moving on and you are right at that point it is coercive, beyond sharing and could be considered soliciting.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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