Kennesaw State University Removes Restrictive “Speech Zones” for Ratio Christi Chapter
INDIAN TRAIL, N.C., October 22, 2018 – Through a lawsuit last February, the Kennesaw State University chapter of Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance has prompted KSU to change its “speech zones” policies. On several occasions, KSU had relegated Ratio Christi’s pro-life displays to be presented in a “speech zone” that made up less than 0.08 percent of the 405-acre campus, stating the subject was “controversial,” and denying the use of other available space on campus.
School administrators had told the group’s students that they could only use the space they originally requested if the posters displaying the pro-life message were removed from the presentation. The university had often allowed student groups with other messages to use any space available on campus for presentations and to pass out materials.
Ratio Christi Campus Apologetics Alliance has nearly 200 chapters at colleges and universities in the U.S and abroad. These chapters – many of which meet weekly – 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. Ratio Christi’s mission is to equip students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific evidence for following Jesus Christ. The organization also has an outreach to high school students.
Today, the KSU chapter of Ratio Christi and the University finalized a settlement agreement that will bring the case to a close. In this agreement, KSU has agreed to update two policies, eliminating the speech zone and making it easier for students to hold spontaneous activities on campus. In the settlement, the school also agreed to pay $20,100 to the Ratio Christi chapter for attorney fees and damages.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Travis Barham, an attorney representing Ratio Christi, issued this statement:
“Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, where all ideas are welcome, not just those that university officials consider acceptable. Kennesaw State has done the right thing in ending the ability of officials to quarantine any student speech they deemed ‘controversial’ to a tiny, difficult-to-access part of campus. We hope that this settlement will prompt other public universities to eliminate similar unconstitutional policies. The First Amendment prohibits universities from restricting where students can speak, whether that restriction is based on what students intend to say or simply based on sparing the feelings of others who may disagree.”
Ratio Christi is currently engaged in legal proceedings regarding religious liberty in universities across the United States. The President and CEO of Ratio Christi, Dr. Corey Miller, has previously stated: “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.” (UPDATE: Hear an interview at A Clear Lens Apologetics with both Dr. Miller and attorney Barham regarding this case settlement and what it means for students' free speech.)
Media representatives interested in more information about the settled case of Ratio Christi of Kennesaw State University v. Olens can contact ADF Media Relations at (480) 444–0020 or ADFmedia.org.
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