Macomb Community College has suspended its unconstitutional free speech policy following a lawsuit brought by a campus conservative group. The school recently stopped conservative students – including one dressed in a T-Rex costume – from advocating for the use of fossil fuels on campus.
The campus police disbanded the group, telling the students that they had not “obtained prior permission from MCC to express themselves on campus” and could not openly advocate their cause on the campus.
The pro-fossil fuel students filed a First Amendment complaint against MCC and Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization, took on the case.
“Students at a public college shouldn’t have to request permission to exercise their First Amendment freedoms,” Caleb Dalton, an attorney for ADF, shared.
As part of the settlement, MCC agreed to suspend its free speech policy. Under the old policy, students had to seek approval from the vice president of student services in order to protest, promote, petition and engage in “protected expressive activity.” Additionally, individuals and organizations had to also have their material approved before distribution.
The new policy, which will become permanent after a Board of Trustees vote, will uphold the free speech rights of students.
“The new policy will no longer require students, in most cases, to seek prior approval for engaging in expressive activity on the college’s campuses,” the college announced in a statement. “Circumstances that require advance notification include activity that involves more than 50 people in attendance or reservation of a specific area on campus.”
Dalton praised MCC for their recognition of the First Amendment rights of their students.
“We commend the college for acting quickly to suspend these unconstitutional speech restrictions and vote on policies that ensure every student will be able to speak freely and peacefully,” he said.
Casey Mattox, another ADF attorney, expressed the importance of free speech in today’s society.
“Today’s college students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, educators and voters,” Mattox said. “That’s why it’s so important that public colleges and universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”
Aubree Poole is a contributor for Red Alert Politics who enjoys traveling and composing music.