A campus police officer confronted several students on Sept. 18 at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where they were were handing out pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution and asking people to sign a petition to improve free speech rules on campus (video below).
The students were also handing pamphlets that said, “America is a free speech zone," notes Campus Reform.
A representative from Turning Point USA, a conservative organization, was with the students and trying to sign up members on campus.
"And they do have rules, but you gotta go to Student Life, and see if you get a permit to do so," the officer tells the students in the video. "You can't just do it whenever you want."
"Because you can’t have everybody out here doing this, OK?" the officer later adds. "Otherwise you’d have stuff lined up all along here, everybody having a different view and a different point, so you can’t do that."
Kara Hamilton, the Turning Point USA rep, asks about free speech.
"It’s not free speech, ma’am," the officer replies. "Nobody’s stopping you from free speech, but you can’t solicit out here and basically you are, you’re soliciting your opinions. OK? You need to go get a permit, just go inside."
Joseph Enders, one of the students, asks the officer if free speech is a commodity, and the cop says, "Well, you’re handing out pamphlets and stuff like that, so that’s exactly what it would mean."
The officer later tells the students, "Why don’t you go talk to Student Life? But you can’t do it out here, otherwise I’m going to have to lock you up. I don’t want it to come to that."
The cop claims the students were approaching people, which counts as soliciting.
Enders reportedly then tried to go to the Student Life building, which is not shown on the video, but was told he could not take his American flag with him.
“I’ve had some problems starting the club," Enders told Campus Reform. "They told us that we need three members and a full-time faculty advisor, but they wouldn’t let us clipboard.”
Enders added that he could not find a faculty advisor for the club because the political science department is “very liberal.”
The College of DuPage did not reply to questions from Campus Reform, but the school's policy manual states: "Individuals and/or organizations of the College or community at — large may distribute printed material on the campus of College of DuPage, subject to the provisions set forth in Policy 10-120."
Policy 10-120 says, "No direct solicitation of funds or distribution of campaign fund raising literature is permitted on College premises."