An unidentified man was recently praying with student Kyra Palange on the campus of Clemson University in South Carolina when they were confronted by a school official (video below).
Palange filmed part of the incident, which was posted on YouTube by the conservative Young America's Foundation.
The man had set up two chairs on campus and placed a small sign that said, "Prayers," on one of them; Palange joined him to pray for a few minutes.
"We have designated areas on campus, with him not being a student or faculty or staff, he has to go through the proper procedures," the Clemson official tells the man and Palange on the video. "This is not a designated free speech area. So you are more than welcome to take a look at the facility use policies."
"And by that, you mean that there are free speech areas on campus and the entire campus is not a free speech area?" Palange replies.
"That is correct," the Clemson official adds.
Mark Land, vice president of University Relations at the school, told WYFF: "With people outside of the campus community, we're trying to maintain a basic set of standards and procedures for calling any sort of gathering, regardless of what the topic is. This really isn't about prayer as much as it is about us being consistent in how we let the external community use our facilities."
Palange countered: "Anytime you say we have a designated area where you can express your opinions and express free speech, by default you're saying that there are other areas where you can't. It's unconstitutional. It's a violation of the First Amendment, particularly on the campus of a public university."
The university has insisted that if the man had not used a "prayer" sign, which is considered an invite or solicitation, he could have stayed.
Clemson University released a statement to WSPA: Clemson University supports the rights of students, faculty and staff of all religious faiths to express their beliefs on our campuses. Religious expression occurs regularly at Clemson, including in the many religious-based student organizations recognized by the university.