BLOGWhen Free Speech Becomes “Disorderly Conduct”: ADF Sues GA Gwinnett College

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | December 20, 2016

This past year has been a rough one for free speech on public university campuses.

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed lawsuits in California, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan against universities that are favoring certain viewpoints over others and silencing free speech on campus. And it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

On Monday, ADF filed suit against Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) on behalf of one of its students, Chike Uzuegbunam.

Chike is passionate about sharing the Gospel with his peers on campus. So, in July, he stood outside the library handing out religious literature and talking one-on-one with interested students. Within a short time, school officials approached him and told him that he could not distribute materials or talk to other students about his beliefs unless he had reserved a time in the campus “speech zone.”

Now, to say that GGC’s speech zones are tiny would be an understatement. Combined, the two separate areas make up about 0.0015 percent of campus. If that’s not bad enough, they are only open for student use 18 hours during the week—between two to four hours per day—and closed on the weekends.

On top of that, when Chike reserved a time in the speech zone to share the Gospel, a campus police officer told him to stop speaking publicly because people had complained. The officer even went so far as to say that these complaints converted Chike’s peaceful public speaking into “disorderly conduct.” Why did he say this? Well, because GGC’s speech code, a part of its Student Code of Conduct, defines “disorderly conduct” as any expression “which disturbs the peace and/or comfort of person(s).”

This takes “safe spaces” to a whole new level – a campus-wide level.

Here’s the kicker (just in case you aren’t already astonished): Georgia Gwinnett College claims to be a place that encourages free discourse and debate on campus.

But is it really free discourse and debate when students can only speak in a tiny percentage of campus, have to receive a permit to speak there, and can only say things that do not make anyone uncomfortable? 


Universities Should Be a Place Where Ideas Are Freely Shared, Not Silenced

To keep up with the latest cases regarding free speech on public university campuses, sign up for our newsletter.


Sign Me Up

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

More from ADF View All

Supporters of Religious Freedom Must Act, Not Simply Resolve to Act

Religious Freedom

Supporters of Religious Freedom Must Act, Not Simply Resolve to Act

Those who seek to put an end to religious freedom are not just targeting the ...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/16/2019 22:00:00 Read More

Why This Christian School Is Taking an 8-Year Legal Battle to the U.S. Supreme Court

Religious Freedom

Why This Christian School Is Taking an 8-Year Legal Battle to the U.S. Supreme Court

For eight long years, the City has blocked this Christian school from using i...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/16/2019 17:35:22 Read More

A Court Has Rejected This Planned Parenthood Talking Point as Completely False

Sanctity of Life

A Court Has Rejected This Planned Parenthood Talking Point as Completely False

Planned Parenthood's one defense has been to say that the films were deceptiv...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/19/2019 14:02:13 Read More

News You Should Know: Christians Fight to Keep Art Studio, Atheist Group Meets Its Match, and More

Culture

News You Should Know: Christians Fight to Keep Art Studio, Atheist Group Meets Its Match, and More

Did you see these news stories from the past week?

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 01/18/2019 21:22:06 Read More