Groups Support Student Free Speech Case Before SCOTUS

Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance will be one of four conservative groups to file amicus briefs supporting college students’ free speech in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski.

In 2016, Georgia Gwinnett College officials stopped student Chike Uzuegbunam not once, but twice, from peacefully sharing his Christian faith with fellow students on campus. Officials required him to get advance permission to use one of two tiny speech zones that made up far less than one percent of the campus, and those areas were only open 10 percent of the week. Despite following these policies, Chike was again prevented from speaking. College administrators often allowed other students to engage in similar activities without punishment. Thus, the administrators were treating Chike’s religious speech unfairly and violating the First Amendment.

After Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) challenged the unconstitutional policies, Georgia Gwinnett argued that Chike’s speech should receive no constitutional protection. Then the college changed its policy and claimed it should get a free pass for violating Chike’s free speech rights. Two courts agreed, but this past summer the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Chike’s case.

“Government officials must be held responsible for enacting and enforcing policies that trample students’ constitutionally protected freedoms,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of Appellate Advocacy John Bursch. “Otherwise, it sends a clear message that students’ rights do not matter and that the government can ignore those freedoms with impunity. Sadly, the district court and the appeals court sent that wrong message here, but now the Supreme Court has an opportunity to remind Georgia Gwinnett College and all government officials that they must protect and respect our freedoms.”

Dr. Corey Miller is President/CEO of Ratio Christi (RC), a Christian student ministry with chapters at many colleges and universities. RC exists to teach students how to explain and defend the Christian faith through history, science, and philosophy. Although the chapters allow access to all students, numerous schools have attempted to deny their chapter members the right to choose leaders in accordance with RC’s Christian beliefs. Thus, protecting free speech and religious freedom on campus is vital to Ratio Christi. Dr. Miller says,

“It is not as if we are asking for prayer to be put back in schools. Indeed, we have moved past even the salient constitutional right of free speech to the cliff’s edge of cognitive liberty and free thinking. Government and university officials must be held responsible when they violate students’ priceless freedoms. Public universities have become places of ideological orthodoxy, fully accompanied by consequences for violating what appear to be their self-devised doctrines.”

In March 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order expanding the rights of free speech on college campuses, having been made aware of conservative students’ freedom of speech being stifled at campuses all over the country.

(SOURCE: Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance via Christian Newswire)

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