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GVSU restricts free speech, threatens students with arrest

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MLive file photo

The Turning Point USA chapter at Grand Valley State University says the university contains free speech activity to “two small speech zones” on campus and requires students to gain prior university permission for free-speech activities and has decided to file a lawsuit against the university with Alliance Defending Freedom.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday, Dec. 7, in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., represents the chapter and two students, Tim McKeeby and Joe Tucker.

The lawsuit names university trustees, President Thomas Haas, and two administrators as defendants.

The university said in a statement:

“Grand Valley State University embraces the First Amendment and encourages, supports and defends free speech.”

“Public universities, which are supposed to be the ultimate marketplace of ideas, shouldn’t be stifling students on more than 99.97 percent of campus,” ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer said. The case contends that the free speech zones comprise .03% of campus. He said in the lawsuit that GVSU violated his clients’ rights to free speech, equal protection under the law and due process.

“It is GVSU’s policy – as expressed in the Code of Student Conduct – that students who engage in expressive activities anywhere on GVSU’s campus outside of the two small speech zones have violated the Code of Student Conduct if a University official asks that the students stop such activity and the students do not comply with the request.”

A GVSU spokeswoman said that GVSU has not been served with the lawsuit and it does not comment on pending litigation.

What do you think about this university’s war on free speech? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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