VIDEO: lawsuit filed over conservative activists' arrest

Anthony Gockowski
Investigative Reporter

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  • A lawsuit is proceeding against Kellogg Community College for its arrest of three conservative activists who were distributing pocket Constitutions on campus last year.
  • Video released in conjunction with the announcement shows an administrator telling the activists that they cannot ask students whether they support liberty, because those who "don't have Wi-Fi" wouldn't know they could ignore the question.
  • A lawsuit is proceeding against Kellogg Community College for its arrest of three conservative activists who were distributing pocket Constitutions on campus last year.

    As Campus Reform reported in January, student Shelly Gregoire and two conservative activists, Nathan Berning and Isaac Edikauskas, spent two to three hours handing out Constitutions and recruiting for a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter on campus in September before they were accosted by administrators and ultimately arrested for trespassing.

    “Students who come from rural farm areas...might not feel like they have the choice to ignore the question.”   

    They were first stopped by Drew Hutchinson, the manager of Student Life, who told them they couldn’t approach students outside or engage them in conversation because it could “obstruct the student’s ability to get an education.”

    [RELATED: Administrators literally shred constitution after reporter calls it ‘oppressive’]

    “We ask that you don’t do it in the middle of everything, and part of that is because if we obstruct the student’s ability to get an education then it kind of becomes counterintuitive to the whole, um, right to speak, kind of Second Amendment rights [sic],” Hutchinson explained, intending to cite the First Amendment.

    Hutchinson went on to assert that the questions they were asking students—specifically, whether they “like freedom and liberty”—were too “provocative,” even suggesting that the interactions broke the Student Code of Conduct because they prevented students from reaching their “educational places.”

    [RELATED: App State: Constitution not ‘absolute,’ speech bans OK]

    “You’re asking them a provocative question in which you are instigating whether they are American or not. It’s a very powerful question,” Hutchinson said, arguing that the “social pressures” of such a question would compel the students to stop.

    Now, a new video released along with the announcement of legal action against the school by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) shows Hutchison saying that since a lot of students come from “rural farm areas” they “might not feel like they have the choice” to simply ignore the activists and continue about their business.

    “A lot of these students who come from rural farm areas who, like, are, you know, they’re grown up—they’re—they’ve grown up to be ultra polite and to not just, like, ignore people or whatever else they might not feel like they have the choice to ignore the question,” he stammered, explaining that a lot students grew up without access to Wi-Fi.

    “If you’re talking about Calhoun County, where a lot of these students are, like, growing up on the farm or they’re growing up where they don’t have Wi-Fi, they don’t have Internet you know it’s a very different situation,” he continued, saying that’s who he’s “trying to protect.”

    [RELATED: Students threatened with arrest for handing out constitutions]

    Ultimately, all three conservative activists were arrested and brought to jail after they refused to leave the premises, prompting ADF to sue the school for violating their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

    "Free speech is a right, not a privilege that can be censored by university officials on a public campus," ADF commented in a press release. "If public universities silence free speech on campus, they deny their students opportunities for engagement and learning. If public universities stifle these learning opportunities on campus, they impair a student's ability to function in the real world."

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    Anthony Gockowski

    Anthony Gockowski

    Investigative Reporter

    Anthony Gockowski is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He has previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, and The Catholic Spirit.

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