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Lost Liberties: No Free Speech

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Ryan Arneson started visiting South Mountain Community College in 2009 to hand out tracts and talk to students about Jesus. The busy urban campus, in southern Phoenix, was a perfect venue for sidewalk evangelism. Campus administrators approved Arneson’s visits ahead of time and even escorted him to a patio table in front of the school’s library where he could easily interact with students and visitors making their way across campus.

For the next 18 months, Arneson came back to the campus regularly and never had any problems with the students or school officials. But in January 2011, when Arneson again requested permission to visit the school during the upcoming semester, administrators told him the school had a new solicitation policy.

If Arneson wanted to continue visiting campus, he would have to pay $50 a day or $125 a week for the privilege of expressing his views in public. Click to read the rest.

18 Comments

  1. You really, really need to take some basic courses in a variety of areas. That is not a lost liberty. Try again.

  2. This article appears he was on campus of a community college. I see nothing wrong with the steps taken. If it was a random sidewalk in Phoenix, I’d have a problem with this.

  3. Biola: In addition, the following agencies, organizations, or persons will not be allowed to advertise or solicit on the Biola campus through any means:

    • day care services,
    • credit card companies (except for those offered by banks during Orientation Week),
    political groups or organizations not sponsored by a Biola department or recognized Biola student group or club,
    religious or other groups not in accord with the mission, purpose, and doctrinal statement of the University.
    • housing/rental opportunities: Due to potential liability risks, Biola does not allow any soliciting of off-campus housing by homeowners, landlords, managers, etc. Rental opportunities may be registered with the Office of Auxiliary Services at the front desk.
    (excerpt from on-line student handbook. bolding mine, as I think this would cover evangelists for other religions)

    • (that should have been attached to Jim’s comment.)

    • I believe BIOLA is a private college. We have to submit to the same rules at USC. Different rules for public and private institutions.

      Thanks!

      • They’re considered a non-profit, private institution. Quite a few public colleges have some sort of limits on solicitation and demonstrations. In general, I don’t think rules regarding distance from entrances, if sound equipment can be used (and if yes, how loud), and rules prohibiting leaving ‘handbills on private property’, ie, car windshields, are bad, but the college requiring a fee is irksome.

      • I think atheists are too scared to street preach or evangelize for thier religion.

      • Jim, you can preach on my campus anytime.

      • I think atheists are too scared to street preach or evangelize for thier religion.

        Any particular reason why you think this, carl? From my experiences, this isn’t true, *especially* in my area.

        Oh, and atheism isn’t a religion; that doesn’t make any sense.

  4. 2.4.9 Solicitation

    A. A solicitor must obtain prior approval for solicitation from the designated official at each college or center. A solicitor who would purport to sell any product or service is responsible for obtaining any necessary tax licenses and must submit to the designated official a certificate of commercial liability insurance and pay to the college or center, in consideration for the opportunity for solicitation, a fee in the amount of $50 per day or $125 per week (a week is defined as Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).

    (From South Mountain Community College. Amended July 6, 2010)

    This guy wasn’t selling anything, was he? SMCC defines solicitors as those that “purport to sell or promote any product, service, or idea.” But the fees and insurance seem to be reserved for solicitors that are actually selling something and not just promoting ideas.

    The ‘no more than 50 hours a semester’ seems to apply to all solicitors.

    • We, as evangelists, don’t sell anything. I assume he wasn’t either!

      • That’s what I thought. I have to wonder if there was some sort of misunderstanding because it seems that the fees and insurance requirement don’t apply to him (or any other solicitor of ideas).

        They do seem to try to enforce some sort of Free Speech area (with set times and dates), and those, I believe, have been challenged at other colleges and universities.

      • As I cut-and-pasted from the College Regulations (below), a “solicitor” doesn’t have to sell anything.

        A “solicitor” is any non-MCCCD-affiliated entity that would, on the premises of any Maricopa Community College or Center, purport to sell or promote any product, service, or idea

        You can (OK, we can) argue about whether you’re offering a “service” or not, but you have to admit to promoting an idea.

      • I read that. The above bolded part specifies fees and insurance for solicitors that “purport to sell product or service.” It’s the only time this qualification is added in the rules.

  5. Welcome to the idea of private property. It is truly elementary that people can control what others do on their private.

  6. South Mountain Community College Regulations

    A. DEFINITIONS
    A “solicitor” is any non-MCCCD-affiliated entity that would, on the premises of any Maricopa Community College or Center, purport to sell or promote any product, service, or idea, but does not include such an entity that would enter the premises for the purposes of promoting, opposing, or soliciting petition signatures in connection with any political candidate or initiative, or referendum ballot…

    B. REQUIREMENTS
    1. A solicitor must obtain prior approval for solicitation from the designated official at each college or center. A solicitor who would purport to sell any product or service is responsible for obtaining any necessary tax licenses and must submit to the designated official a certificate of commercial liability insurance and pay to the college or center, in consideration for the opportunity for solicitation, a fee in the amount of $50 per day or $125 per full week.
    2. Campus restrictions regarding location, time, date, and use of amplification may apply. All requests for space shall be granted on a first-come, first-served basis only upon completion of the requirements contained in this regulation.
    3. All solicitation must take place at tables in designated areas. Standard space will be one or two tables and chairs. Solicitors may be limited to no more than fifty (50) hours of solicitation activity per semester at each college or center.

    It makes me so sad that Arneson had to follow the same rules as everybody else.

    • Yes. That’s why this is being challenged.

    • Wait – what?

      Because they had to follow the same rules as everybody else – which I reprinted above, which look amazingly similar to what is described in the article – this is being challenged?

      I’m not sure what the deal was originally. As I see it, there were two likely scenarios:
      1. the rules were put into place after Arneson started (which happens), or
      2. he got a pass from a like-minded administrator, and somebody decided that maybe they should follow the rules.

      Regardless, since, either way, the rules are NOW being applied equally to this ecclesiastical Arizonian and everybody else, what’s the problem?

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