Campus police threaten to 'lock up' conservatives for asking people to sign petition

"Congress shall make no law" abridging free speech, but that doesn't apply to college campuses.

Some anti-big government conservatives wanted to start a campuis chapter of Turning Point, USA but campus police threatened to put them in jail unless they got all the proper permits and permissions from school officials.

Ironically, the activists were circulating a petition to reform the school's free speech policies.

Campus Reform:

Joseph Enders, a student at the college, told Campus Reform that he has been attempting to start a TPUSA club for some time, but has had difficulty meeting the school’s requirements for an official student organization. For its part, the College recounts instructing him on the process for starting a new club, but says it has never received the necessary documents from him.

“I’ve had some problems starting the club,” he said. “They told us that we need three members and a full-time faculty advisor, but they wouldn’t let us clipboard.” Enders also claims he has had difficulty finding a willing faculty advisor, primarily due to the need for a full-time advisor, and called the political science department “very liberal.”

Most of Friday’s altercation was caught on video and shared with Campus Reform. The video begins with the conversation already in progress, as the group is questioning the officer about why they are not allowed to do what they are doing.

Enders asks the officer, "[w]hat are the rules for doing this kind of stuff on campus?"

"You go to the Student Life office, and they give you a permit to do so," the officer replies.

"So you need a permit to ..."

"Yeah, because you can’t have everybody out here doing this," the officer tells him. "Otherwise you’d have stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point, so you can’t do that."

Kara Hamilton, the TPUSA representative, then presses the point, asking, "So, like, free speech ...?"

"It’s not free speech, ma’am," the officer informs her. "Nobody’s stopping you from free speech, but you can’t solicit out here, and basically you are—you’re soliciting your opinions. Okay? And you need to go get a permit."

"Is it a commodity in any way?" Enders interjects. "Is speech a commodity?"

"Well, you’re handing out pamphlets and stuff like that, so that’s exactly what it would mean," the officer responds.

When asked for more info about the permit process, the officer then appears to become somewhat exasperated, and exclaims, "[w]hy don’t you go talk to Student Life? But you can’t do it out here, otherwise I’m going to have to lock you up. I don’t want it to come to that; like I said, I want you to go in to Student Life."

Thanks for clearing that up, officer. We can't have "stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point." That would come dangerously close to freedom of speech, and then where would we be? 

Chaos! Everybody must agree or we run the risk of allowing people to think for themselves. That cannot be allowed at college. You must either keep your mouth shut or embrace the politics of the administration.

I'm trying to imagine if something like this had happened during my time at university.  On any day of the year, there would be dozens of people standing in front of the administration building trying to get people to sign petitions. If someone had come up to me and told me I needed a permit, I would have looked at him as if he came from the far side of the moon. 

I get a similar feeling reading this story.

"Congress shall make no law" abridging free speech, but that doesn't apply to college campuses.

Some anti-big government conservatives wanted to start a campuis chapter of Turning Point, USA but campus police threatened to put them in jail unless they got all the proper permits and permissions from school officials.

Ironically, the activists were circulating a petition to reform the school's free speech policies.

Campus Reform:

Joseph Enders, a student at the college, told Campus Reform that he has been attempting to start a TPUSA club for some time, but has had difficulty meeting the school’s requirements for an official student organization. For its part, the College recounts instructing him on the process for starting a new club, but says it has never received the necessary documents from him.

“I’ve had some problems starting the club,” he said. “They told us that we need three members and a full-time faculty advisor, but they wouldn’t let us clipboard.” Enders also claims he has had difficulty finding a willing faculty advisor, primarily due to the need for a full-time advisor, and called the political science department “very liberal.”

Most of Friday’s altercation was caught on video and shared with Campus Reform. The video begins with the conversation already in progress, as the group is questioning the officer about why they are not allowed to do what they are doing.

Enders asks the officer, "[w]hat are the rules for doing this kind of stuff on campus?"

"You go to the Student Life office, and they give you a permit to do so," the officer replies.

"So you need a permit to ..."

"Yeah, because you can’t have everybody out here doing this," the officer tells him. "Otherwise you’d have stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point, so you can’t do that."

Kara Hamilton, the TPUSA representative, then presses the point, asking, "So, like, free speech ...?"

"It’s not free speech, ma’am," the officer informs her. "Nobody’s stopping you from free speech, but you can’t solicit out here, and basically you are—you’re soliciting your opinions. Okay? And you need to go get a permit."

"Is it a commodity in any way?" Enders interjects. "Is speech a commodity?"

"Well, you’re handing out pamphlets and stuff like that, so that’s exactly what it would mean," the officer responds.

When asked for more info about the permit process, the officer then appears to become somewhat exasperated, and exclaims, "[w]hy don’t you go talk to Student Life? But you can’t do it out here, otherwise I’m going to have to lock you up. I don’t want it to come to that; like I said, I want you to go in to Student Life."

Thanks for clearing that up, officer. We can't have "stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point." That would come dangerously close to freedom of speech, and then where would we be? 

Chaos! Everybody must agree or we run the risk of allowing people to think for themselves. That cannot be allowed at college. You must either keep your mouth shut or embrace the politics of the administration.

I'm trying to imagine if something like this had happened during my time at university.  On any day of the year, there would be dozens of people standing in front of the administration building trying to get people to sign petitions. If someone had come up to me and told me I needed a permit, I would have looked at him as if he came from the far side of the moon. 

I get a similar feeling reading this story.