A nonprofit group has demanded that university employees who repeatedly wiped away pro-life sidewalk chalk messages on National Pro-Life Chalk Day apologize, uphold free speech, and teach its staff to do so.
The Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom delivered a letter to Kutztown University, which is a public school, insisting that it revise its speech policies to embrace free speech, apologize to the Students for Life group that had done the chalking, and train its staff on First Amendment rights, as reported by Campus Reform.
“Many of the drawings featured helplines,” claimed Jackie Foran, the Students for Life president at Kurtztown. “So it makes me wonder how much the University actually cares about women.”
“Chalking is permitted only on sidewalks and other uncovered walkways,” reads a Kutztown policy. The university prohibits messages “incompatible with the University’s Statement on Non-Discrimination” or those that “have a clear and present potential hazard of interfering with the process of the University, infringing upon the rights of others, or endangering the health or safety of the University community or their guests.”
“[Kutztown’s policies] violate a myriad of clearly established constitutional doctrines, thereby exposing you and all other officials involved to personal liability,” said the Alliance Defending Freedom in a letter sent to Kutztown president Kenneth S. Hawkinson.
ADF went on to state that the school had unconstitutional content-based speech restrictions which are vague and discriminate by viewpoint. Furthermore, Kutztown’s policies require student groups to sign their chalked messages, which infringes upon the First Amendment’s protection of anonymous speech.
“University officials can’t chalk up their censorship to ‘following orders’ to enforce an unconstitutional campus policy,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham in a press release obtained by Campus Reform. “The university’s chalking policy only permits messages the university agrees with. Nothing could more clearly violate the First Amendment than a policy that silences students based on whether university officials like or don’t like what the students are saying.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life America agreed that Kurtztown discriminating based on viewpoint.
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