Jan 23, 2017 05:49 AM EST
College Sued By Students After They Were Arrested for Distributing Free Copies of U.S. Constitution On Campus
A student group is suing a Michigan community college after its members were arrested and jailed for distributing pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus, news reports say.
Two student members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Kellogg Community College in Michigan, along with other members of the group, were distributing free copies of the Constitution in an open area in front of the college's Binda Performing Arts Center on Sept. 20, 2016, Watchdog reported. They allege in their lawsuit that school administrators reprimanded them for violating the school's Solicitation Policy and then had them arrested by campus police.
Michelle Gregoire and Brandon Withers, both from KCC, allege in the lawsuit that the administrator told them they violated the policy because they were giving copies of the Constitution without prior approval. Additionally, the administrator told them that holding such activity in the said location inside the campus was also a violation.
The students also allege that the administrator said they were an "obstruction to [the] education" of students passing in the said area, because they were asking passersby if they "like freedom and liberty."
Prior to the incident, Gregoire alleged that she did give efforts to establishing YAL's KCC chapter, but was prohibited from approaching students with the intention of recruiting members. Seeing that she won't succeed in doing so, she asked help from the Leadership Institute, an organization that trains young conservative activists, to recruit students.
After that, Gregoire and Withers, along with YAL - Michigan State University chapter vice president Isaac Edikaukas, proceeded to distribute the copies.
They were initially approached by an administrator who, after listening to Gregoire's explanation as to why they proceeded to hold the activity without prior approval, left them and gave them enough time to continue. Another administrator, however, appeared and tried to stop what they were doing.
Withers left the area, but Gregoire, Edikaukas, and Nathan Berning from the Leadership Institute, were arrested and jailed (see video below). The three were released after posting bond seven hours later, but the administrator prohibited Gregoire from returning to school without his permission. Ten days after the arrest, the charges against them were dropped.
The students, who received help from Alliance Defending Freedom, allege in their lawsuit that KCC violated their rights of freedom of speech, due process, and equal protection under the law. KCC, for its part, is a public institution and is therefore bound by the First Amendment.
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