Ratio Christi Chapter Sues Kennesaw State for Relegating Pro-life Display to Tiny 'Speech Zone'
Contact: ADF Media Relations, 480-444–0020, www.adfmedia.org/home/connect
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C., Feb. 22, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ -- Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance's chapter at Kennesaw State University filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to challenge policies that officials used to relegate its pro-life display to a "speech zone" that makes up less than 0.08 percent of the 405-acre campus.
"Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, where all ideas are welcome, not just those that university bureaucrats consider acceptable," said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Travis Barham, one of the attorneys representing Ratio Christi. "Kennesaw State allows officials to quarantine any student speech they deem 'controversial'—including a pro-life display—to a tiny, difficult-to-access part of campus. But the First Amendment prohibits universities from restricting where students can speak."
Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance has over 185 chapters at colleges and universities in the U.S and abroad. Its mission is to equip students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ. These chapters provide a friendly venue for atheists, skeptics, and adherents to any religion to investigate the claims of Christianity, discuss religious beliefs, and seek truth without fearing reprisal.
Kennesaw State University requires registered student organizations to submit reservation requests between three and thirty days in advance—depending on the type of event and without clearly indicating which deadline applies. Its policies provide no guidelines for KSU officials to follow, which gives them unrestricted discretion to grant, deny, or modify a student organization's reservation request even for unconstitutional reasons. Using this discretion, officials relegate any activities they deem "controversial" to the small, less-accessible speech zone.
On at least one previous occasion, KSU university officials assigned Ratio Christi to the speech zone because they determined that its message was "controversial," even though no one was using the location the group originally requested. This year, officials once again moved Ratio Christi's pro-life display to the undesirable location due to its content.
Ratio Christi's President and CEO, Dr. Corey Miller, states: "In today's academic environment, Christian students and educators must not only defend our faith, but we must also defend our right to defend our faith."
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, adds: "Because today's students will be tomorrow's leaders and voters, universities should live by example in demonstrating the importance of our freedoms protected by the First Amendment instead of communicating to an entire generation that the Constitution doesn't matter."
Media representatives interested in Ratio Christi of Kennesaw State University v. Olens, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, can contact ADF Media Relations at (480) 444–0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/connect.