All Ryan Arneson wanted to do was peacefully share his faith on campus. He hoped to hand out literature and speak with willing passers-by—just like he had been doing for the previous two years without incident.
But when he sought permission from an official at South Mountain Community College to continue his gospel efforts, he was told to abide by the school’s solicitation policy, even though he is only an individual that wanted to engage in individual expression.
The policy requires private individuals and groups alike to pay a minimum $50 fee, pay for insurance, and submit a request form and proof of insurance 14 days prior to visiting campus. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys took the matter to court.
ADF attorneys asked a federal court on Tuesday to immediately halt a Maricopa, Community College policy that puts unconstitutional burdens on visitors that want to exercise their First Amendment right on Arizona campuses. The motion as filed as part of a Dec. 29 lawsuit. Attorneys argue that charging fees, requiring an insurance payment and demanding a two-week advance notice is unconstitutional.
“Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period,” says Jonathan Scruggs, ADF litigation staff counsel. “The courts have routinely ruled policies like this one unconstitutional. Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn’t be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies.”
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