Clemson Administration Returns to Decade-old, Restrictive Speech Policy – Alexander Cullen

On Thursday afternoon, August 25th, Robby was relaxing in a chair in Trustee Park on campus with a sign reading “Prayer” resting next to him. Most weekend nights, the evangelist can be found downtown, praying with those who approach him, but on this afternoon he decided to do his work near the founder’s house at Fort Hill. It was there that Kyra Palange, YAF member and a Tiger Town Observer contributor, found him and approached him to accept his offer for prayer. Shortly after they had finished, an administrator approached and told Robby that he hadn’t followed Clemson’s policy for solicitation as a non-student and had to leave, citing that it wasn’t a “Free Speech Zone.”

robby
Robby, a longtime member of the Clemson community who can often be found on weekends praying with anyone who needs prayer in downtown Clemson, speaks with TTO staff about the University’s attempts to censor religious practice on campus.

Only a decade ago, in 2006, Clemson Students had to follow illegal speech codes. A law suit over turned the policy, which restricted the practice of first Amendment rights to designated “Free Speech Zones”. Any non-student organizations or individuals, however, were still forced to jump through the administrative hoops for approval in order to speak on the public campus.

The end result is the Thursday conversation in which Kyra recorded Clemson administrator Shawn Jones, assistant director for client services. Jones explained on record that the area where Robby had set up his display was not a “designated free speech area.” When Kyra prodded with the question. “By that you mean there are free speech areas on campus, and that the entire campus is not a free speech area?” Jones responded, “Yes, that is correct.”

TTO’s exclusive interview with Robby

In addition to denoting the designated speech quarantines, Jones, citing the facility use policy, informed Kyra that the preacher hadn’t gone through the proper procedure for the reservation process of said areas. An article, published by Young America’s Foundation, claims Robby was forced to leave since he hadn’t received approval for solicitation in the area. This statement begs the question: what good are free speech zones when they’re not available without approved reservation?

Clemson’s Facility Use Policy does include the clauses referenced by Jones which detail guidelines for solicitation and free speech by non-university affiliated groups and individuals. But solicitation is defined by the University as, “activity whose purpose is to inform, induce or encourage individuals or groups to purchase, rent, lease, or use (or not purchase, rent, lease, or use) any goods or services.” Labeling silent prayer with interested individuals as solicitation is a laughable stance for an institution of higher learning. However, the University, as Jones said, has strict policies on Assembly and Speech which can be seen in the policy below.

3.2 Speech and Assembly for Non-Affiliated Individuals and Groups:

The freedom to engage in free speech is protected by federal law, state law and University policy. Clemson University enforces its right to place reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner that free speech activities shall occur on its facilities. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or his or her designee) will designate areas on campus for free speech activities by non-affiliated individuals or groups. The description of the free speech zones will be available at the Hendrix Student Center Information Desk. Non-affiliated individuals or groups wishing to engage in free speech activities in these areas must submit a reservation form (Appendix B) to the Hendrix Student Center at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the activity to reserve these spaces. Reservations will be approved on a space available basis. Priority will be given to Clemson University affiliated individuals and groups including departments, recognized student organizations, students, faculty and staff that submit requests to reserve these locations. The University reserves the right to have appropriate security present to preserve order and protect the safety of its students, employees and property. Speech and assembly shall be confined to the designated area and must not disrupt the normal or previously scheduled activities of the University or University affiliated entities, violate the free speech, assembly or movement of other individuals or organizations, damage property or create an unsafe situation for any individual, group or organization. The use of public address systems or loudspeakers must comply with the requirements of section 7.0 below.

Violations of section 3.2 of this policy could result in revocation of an approved reservation and the non-affiliated individual or group may be required to leave campus.

Nothing in this policy is intended to infringe upon any legal rights regarding freedom of speech. Application of the policy shall not be arbitrary or capricious and shall not be based upon the content of the proposed speech and nothing in this policy shall be interpreted in such a way as to discriminate on the basis of political, religious, social or other content.

Some of the harsh measures include: arbitrated time restrictions, a limited selection of pre-designated areas, and 72 hours’ prior notice including a submitted reservation form. FIRE, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, makes a note on these sorts of policies in their online guide, “unfortunately, time, place, and manner restrictions are often abused on campus.” For locations which are generally regarded as traditional public forums, such as public parks, FIRE makes the following claim, “Once a place has been deemed to be a public forum, the government’s power to limit speech there is extremely narrow.”

This hasn’t been the case at all at Clemson University, whose administration has clearly become determined to violate the first Amendment protections of both speech and religion. A lone soul, who was simply sitting in a public park and praying, his sign next to him, was illegally told to leave.

 

The Tiger Town Observer reached out to Mr. Jones but he was unavailable for comment.

 

Zach Talley, the Editor-In-Chief of the Tiger Town Observer along with Alexander Cullen, Clayton Warne, and Jack Timmerman (who are members of the affiliate coalition WeRoar) sat down with Robby for an exclusive interview along. Click below to watch the full interview as well as a condensed version of highlights.

(Additional Footage coming Tuesday)

Highlights

 

#praywithrobby #prayforclemson

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  66. moon.jbnu.ac.kr says:

    Clemson Administration Returns to Decade-old, Restrictive Speech Policy – Alexander Cullen

    On Thursday afternoon, August 25th, Robby was relaxing in a chair in Trustee Park on campus with a sign reading “Prayer” resting next to him. Most weekend nights, the evangelist can be found downtown, praying with those who approach him, but on this afternoon he decided to do his work near the founder’s house at Fort Hill. It was there that Kyra Palange, YAF member and a Tiger Town Observer contributor, found him and approached him to accept his offer for prayer. Shortly after they had finished, an administrator approached and told Robby that he hadn’t followed Clemson’s policy for solicitation as a non-student and had to leave, citing that it wasn’t a “Free Speech Zone.”

    robby
    Robby, a longtime member of the Clemson community who can often be found on weekends praying with anyone who needs prayer in downtown Clemson, speaks with TTO staff about the University’s attempts to censor religious practice on campus.

    Only a decade ago, in 2006, Clemson Students had to follow illegal speech codes. A law suit over turned the policy, which restricted the practice of first Amendment rights to designated “Free Speech Zones”. Any non-student organizations or individuals, however, were still forced to jump through the administrative hoops for approval in order to speak on the public campus.

    The end result is the Thursday conversation in which Kyra recorded Clemson administrator Shawn Jones, assistant director for client services. Jones explained on record that the area where Robby had set up his display was not a “designated free speech area.” When Kyra prodded with the question. “By that you mean there are free speech areas on campus, and that the entire campus is not a free speech area?” Jones responded, “Yes, that is correct.”

    TTO’s exclusive interview with Robby

    In addition to denoting the designated speech quarantines, Jones, citing the facility use policy, informed Kyra that the preacher hadn’t gone through the proper procedure for the reservation process of said areas. An article, published by Young America’s Foundation, claims Robby was forced to leave since he hadn’t received approval for solicitation in the area. This statement begs the question: what good are free speech zones when they’re not available without approved reservation?

    Clemson’s Facility Use Policy does include the clauses referenced by Jones which detail guidelines for solicitation and free speech by non-university affiliated groups and individuals. But solicitation is defined by the University as, “activity whose purpose is to inform, induce or encourage individuals or groups to purchase, rent, lease, or use (or not purchase, rent, lease, or use) any goods or services.” Labeling silent prayer with interested individuals as solicitation is a laughable stance for an institution of higher learning. However, the University, as Jones said, has strict policies on Assembly and Speech which can be seen in the policy below.

    3.2 Speech and Assembly for Non-Affiliated Individuals and Groups:

    The freedom to engage in free speech is protected by federal law, state law and University policy. Clemson University enforces its right to place reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner that free speech activities shall occur on its facilities. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or his or her designee) will designate areas on campus for free speech activities by non-affiliated individuals or groups. The description of the free speech zones will be available at the Hendrix Student Center Information Desk. Non-affiliated individuals or groups wishing to engage in free speech activities in these areas must submit a reservation form (Appendix B) to the Hendrix Student Center at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the activity to reserve these spaces. Reservations will be approved on a space available basis. Priority will be given to Clemson University affiliated individuals and groups including departments, recognized student organizations, students, faculty and staff that submit requests to reserve these locations. The University reserves the right to have appropriate security present to preserve order and protect the safety of its students, employees and property. Speech and assembly shall be confined to the designated area and must not disrupt the normal or previously scheduled activities of the University or University affiliated entities, violate the free speech, assembly or movement of other individuals or organizations, damage property or create an unsafe situation for any individual, group or organization. The use of public address systems or loudspeakers must comply with the requirements of section 7.0 below.

    Violations of section 3.2 of this policy could result in revocation of an approved reservation and the non-affiliated individual or group may be required to leave campus.

    Nothing in this policy is intended to infringe upon any legal rights regarding freedom of speech. Application of the policy shall not be arbitrary or capricious and shall not be based upon the content of the proposed speech and nothing in this policy shall be interpreted in such a way as to discriminate on the basis of political, religious, social or other content.

    Some of the harsh measures include: arbitrated time restrictions, a limited selection of pre-designated areas, and 72 hours’ prior notice including a submitted reservation form. FIRE, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, makes a note on these sorts of policies in their online guide, “unfortunately, time, place, and manner restrictions are often abused on campus.” For locations which are generally regarded as traditional public forums, such as public parks, FIRE makes the following claim, “Once a place has been deemed to be a public forum, the government’s power to limit speech there is extremely narrow.”

    This hasn’t been the case at all at Clemson University, whose administration has clearly become determined to violate the first Amendment protections of both speech and religion. A lone soul, who was simply sitting in a public park and praying, his sign next to him, was illegally told to leave.

     

    The Tiger Town Observer reached out to Mr. Jones but he was unavailable for comment.

     

    Zach Talley, the Editor-In-Chief of the Tiger Town Observer along with Alexander Cullen, Clayton Warne, and Jack Timmerman (who are members of the affiliate coalition WeRoar) sat down with Robby for an exclusive interview along. Click below to watch the full interview as well as a condensed version of highlights.

    (Additional Footage coming Tuesday)

    Highlights

     

    #praywithrobby #prayforclemson