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University censors student handing out “Jesus loves you” valentines

Fascist academia: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has blocked a student from handing out “Jesus loves you” valentines, calling her actions “disruptive.”

A Wisconsin student sued her school on Tuesday after the administration labeled her a “disruptive student” for handing out Valentine’s Day cards reading “Jesus loves you.” Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) student Polly Olsen sued her school for what she termed an “unconstitutional” Public Assembly Policy, according to a lawsuit obtained by Campus Reform. “Ms. Olsen was not selling the Valentines, soliciting donations, or asking the recipients for anything. Everyone was free to decline them.”

NWTC restricts what it deems as “disruptive” free expression and free speech, as protected by the First Amendment, to a tiny box on campus that makes up less than one percent of the campus. Olsen described the school’s “free speech zone” as “about the size of two buses next to each other,” highlighting the fact that no one “congregates there, they just walk through,” something she suggested prohibited her from having meaningful conversations with others.

The school’s restrictive speech policy appears blatantly unconstitutional. At the minimum it is oppressive and unreasonable, preventing individuals from exercising their first amendment rights. I hope she wins, costing the school both money and reputation. It is not a place I’d send my kids.


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  • Don Juan

    She came into my office and left a valentine. She did not have permission to. I was not there. I had student records on my desk, which are illegal to show to other students. I could be sued six ways to Sunday! for FIRPA violations. This is the problem; has nothing to do with this kind-hearted woman handing out valentines. She put me at considerable risk. Get the whole story, please.

  • Cotour

    These kinds of activities IMO are contrived by religious activists / zealots and designed to cause chaos and attention which is what the woman has accomplished. She will lose her case, contrived inappropriate religious based actions in an inappropriate venue.

    “Free speech”? I think not.

    The same goes for Muslims, Christians, Bhudists, Satanists, what ever.

    Don Juan: Lock your damn office.

  • Cotour

    Here’s another rock solid law suit related to free speech and freedom of association:

    Read it, have a good out loud laugh. BEEP!

  • commodude

    Don Juan, it’s FERPA….which tosses some doubt on the veracity of your story, as a professor should be meticulous when making accusations. If you’re leaving records with PII out on your desk in an unlocked office, you have issues that go far beyond someone leaving a valentine on your desk.

    PII should never be left in the open, it violates more than FERPA.

  • wayne

    — have no problem with this young lady.

    I’m responsible under Hipaa for health/psychological records; we’re primarily electronic -90% (and not everyone who can log-in can look at everything) but I’m only allowed to have hard copy records inside my (locked) work-office (inside a locked work area), and I always actually see people in an alternate public facing-office which has no computer or any records whatsoever.

  • Cotour

    Yes, we all agree, Don Juan is a knucklehead (Im sure the ladies love him), and once again we are distracted from the point of the article, when is free speech not free speech and just a purposeful and calculated distraction in an inappropriate venue?

  • Cotour

    Q: Could the people who attempted to disrupt the Kavanaugh hearings sue the Senate for having them removed from the Senate chamber because they denied them their free speech?

    A: Of course not, their free speech does not imply that when and where ever they choose to exercise it they reign supreme (No pun intended).

    The same is true of the religious “Jesus Love You” card fairy at this college. Free speech ain’t free and there comes with it consequences at times.

  • commodude

    Lets compare apples to apples…..disrupting confirmation hearings isn’t free speech, its disruptive behavior. Handing out valentines on campus is disrupting nothing.

  • Cotour

    Disrupted the hell out of Don Juan, violated his un-secure office’s security. Yes that is a paradoxical statement.

    (There is no difference between the spoken word in an inappropriate venue and a religious card in an inappropriate venue. Both are forms of free speech and are both disruptive by design. No one said that free speech would have no consequences.)

  • commodude

    The card disrupted nothing. The protesters in the Senate hearing room were disrupting the function of government. “Free speech” zones on a public campus are an Orwellian farce which shouldn’t exist.

  • wayne

    good stuff.

    Personally, I have no trouble with this lady. She was in a public place, and Valentine’s Day is one of our hybrid secular-religious “holiday’s.” (given I’m not Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran.)
    Have no problem with proselytizing in a public setting.

  • Cotour

    “She came into my office and left a valentine. She did not have permission to. I was not there. I had student records on my desk, which are illegal to show to other students. I could be sued six ways to Sunday! for FIRPA violations. This is the problem; has nothing to do with this kind-hearted woman handing out valentines. She put me at considerable risk. Get the whole story, please.”

    Don Juan by his own words admits the reason for him being “disturbed”, his own incompetence in not properly securing his office when he was not there and sensitive documents were on his desk. And still this young lady insists that she be able to execute her own form of proselytizing and roam around the campus to prove her point and / or establish her law suit.

    So like Corey Booker (tool), Polly Olsen does not like the rules. She wants things changed. What she proposes is that the university loses its ability to run the campus in a reasonable and orderly manner. She is out of order and is making herself a disruptive entity on the campus.

  • OM

    I’m religious too and what I want to know is why was this young lady “celebrating” a pagan holiday with her religious literature? Does she also celebrate Halloween too?

    There’s something fishy here.

  • Cotour: You are making a grave mistake in taking anything Don Juan says at face value. As far as I can tell, it is completely made-up, and has nothing to do with what happened. The woman was handing out Valentine’s Cards in a public place, on the sidewalk, and that is what the university objected to. From the lawsuit [pdf]:

    On February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, Ms. Olsen walked through freely accessible areas on NWTC’s Green Bay campus – areas that are open to students – and handed out religiously-themed Valentine’s Day cards to friends and NWTC staff.

    The university objected because she was not doing so with their permission, and within the tiny area they reserve for free speech, should they give permission. Since her speech is not contingent on their permission, and since it is unconstitutional for the university to limit free speech to tiny selected regions, they are in the wrong, both morally and legally, and hopefully will lose badly in court.

    What Don Juan says however is essentially a lie to distract from the facts of the case. In the future, could people please read the articles I link to before commenting?

  • OM: Who cares if her religious practice is rational or consistent? She has the right to practice it. Period. For a university to try to stop her from doing so, in a public place, is simply wrong, morally and legally.

  • Edward

    Don Juan wrote: “She came into my office and … did not have permission to. I was not there. I had student records on my desk, which are illegal to show to other students. I could be sued six ways to Sunday! for FIRPA violations. This is the problem; …

    The problem is an unlocked office with private records easily accessible, not leaving notes. Don Juan implies that the school has not been vigilant about training its faculty and staff how to protect confidential information. Fortunately, the government and its contractors do a much better job at training those with security clearances (Hillary Clinton being either an exception or having been grossly negligent).

    I suspect that dropping off notes to faculty and staff, even if they are not in their unlocked offices, is not usually considered a disruptive act. Apparently, however, having an opinion contrary to the administration’s opinion is. That is why universities increasingly are “safe zones” (safe from opinions contradictory to leftists) and teeny, tiny, squares in out of the way places for actual free speech.

    From the article: “NWTC is ‘committed to the free exchange of ideas and to maintaining a welcoming and safe environment that promotes student success’

    Apparently the university considers only its own ideas and opinions as the only ones that promote student success, so they make sure that the environment is not safe or welcoming to those who disagree.

    It used to be that universities were free speech zones — the entire university — so that alternate and contradicting points of view could be freely and openly discussed among people mature enough to tolerate those who have different opinions. That is what learning is all about. That is what tenure is all about.

    Now, however, universities are filled with people too immature to cope with any opinion that does not fit in with their own — people who need spaces that are safe from such conflict of information or opinion. These immature people consider any alternate opinions or facts to be hate speech, so they need safe zones that are safe from such “hatred.” This has turned into the entire university, except for that less than 1% in some out of the way place, because how can anyone be safe if they have to listen to an opinion that they hate?

    Safe zones are unsafe for the U.S. Constitution and for the American way.

    (Where is Superman when you need him to protect the American way? Oh, that’s right, now he only stands for “truth, justice, and all that stuff.“)

  • Max

    Speech is free, just ask any newborn child. But to be heard you must pay advertising costs.
    There are places a crying child is tolerated, or the bedroom door is shut to let the child cry it self to sleep because no one wants to listen to that terrible noise.
    If it interferes with other peoples expensive dinner, The child and the parents are quickly expelled unless the parents pay extra.
    If the parents don’t pay it then the restaurant pays it with lost business.

    Someone always pays when the message that is heard is unwanted and undesired.

    Same with the 49ers quarterback, his message was heard but it was costing the NFL money. He was unable to pay the advertising costs and the NFL was unwilling to subsidize him any further. Nike somehow was talked into subsidizing his message and it cost them $3 billion in stock.

    That college campus is a different format but the same rules apply. Young adults can get their information from books or the Internet for free, but they pay a large sum of advertising money for a teacher with knowledge to hear there questions and to be educated.
    The students are not forbidden to ask questions of each other and learn additional knowledge from each other’s experiences, as limited as that may be. Another students perspective and language skills are often very informative.
    Anyone who comes on campus to disrupt what others have paid to learn must reimburse the students, or pay them for their time to hear you out.
    Students may volunteer their time, but cannot be forced to listen to subjects that they disagree with or to spend their parents money wisely.
    Every college campus has rules to govern this practice. Clubs, affiliations, and religions pay for their right to be available to the students.
    As Wayne’s Jordan Peterson would say; “there is no right not to be offended”, the world is full of things and people who are offensive.
    In short, deal with the Valentine card and get over it. Making a mountain out of a mole hill benefits no one.

  • Cotour

    Wayne, can I be someone who has access to your facility and come into your facility and freely hand out my religious material? I did not think so. What is the difference?

    Zman, A grave mistake? I suspect that here are some new participants here on B To B that are tongue in cheek participants and are intent on running a foul of you.

    Without some parameters of behavior rationally being able to be laid by any institution public or otherwise then you endorse chaos? Freedom of speech is not absolute.

    OM, I have previously attempted to make you aware of the danger of running a foul of the powers that be on B to B, but you persist. So I must ask, why?

  • Cotour

    “In short, deal with the Valentine card and get over it. Making a mountain out of a mole hill benefits no one.”

    She is making the the mountain out of the mole hill, she needs to get over it. She forces her religion on her university and then wants to sue because of her rights being violated? She is changing the norm not the university.

  • commodude

    Cotour, she’s not forcing her religion on anyone, she’s merely using the public space to hand out cards. The entity creating the issue here is the college attempting to limit free speech to a small space in a public area. Once you limit free speech to a small zone, it’s no longer free.

    Your hatred of religion is clouding your judgement.

  • OM

    Cotour, it is only okay to hate some religions, not all of them.

  • Cotour

    Commodude: “she’s merely using the public space to hand out cards. “, “Merely”. I have no hatred for religion, But. If someone comes into my establishment and “merely” hands out their very religiously specific cards that promote Jesus on a Valentines card, which in itself is interesting enough, I would invite them to remove themselves. I have actually had this happen on my property and did exactly what I proposed. No real difference between private and a public institution. What anyone does outside of my door or the perimeter of the university is none of my business, do what you please.

    I do not post political placards and I do not post religious placards or allow their distribution, and if you want to have that conversation about it do so outside. My space is relatively neutral so as not to promote any polarization or uncomfortability, its detrimental to my goals and so they also become detrimental to the universities goals.

    The young woman has the opportunity to share her religious beliefs in a specifically designated public area within the university. I also found interesting this observation of hers “The university only puts aside 1% of their foot print for “free speech” (How many square acres does this university sit upon?). What would the percentage of area of the total foot print be now that she apparently runs the institution? 10%?, 80 %? 100%? This is a slippery slope where now no one has the ability to control anything be it religion, Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, The Nazi Party, where does it end?

    Without some reasonable parameters set by those who reasonably run the university then there is chaos, your perception of your free speech does not cancel reasonably established rules and order within specific places. The young woman can violate these rules with her free speech but that does not mean that her dismissal of the rules does not mean that there will not be consequences. The woman has no First Amendment case against the university IMO. As a matter of fact they should sue her if she does not desist.

    OM: I have not indicated that I hate anything including religion here or anywhere else (Except possibly hyphenated names). You once again establish your half truth line of convenient logic in your debate style, its not appealing. As a matter of fact it is outright dishonest and deceptive, you are not long for B To B.

  • commodude

    Cotour, what you’re missing here is that there is a vast difference between your property, which is privately owned, and subject to the rules of the owner, and the public space which is the grounds of a public university. The claim at the beginning of this discussion is a red herring, meaningless and utterly false. This was NOT in an office.

    You state you tell people to distribute them outside which is exactly what this young lady was doing. Outside at a public university is a common area, which should be able to be used by all, and free speech cannot be placed in a box on public grounds and cordoned off from the rest of the public space. I disagreed vehemently when they do it around political conventions, and disagree with it in this case. Free speech “zones” should be the entirety of the public space, so long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities. I don’t care if you want to hand out poppies or the Koran.

  • Cotour

    You unknowingly promote chaos under the title of free speech. The young lady and her free speech has been accommodated by the setting aside of a common area, a public area. The entire university is not her area where she can do as she or anyone else pleases.

    The university, a private business, a hospital, an office building, the Social security office, what ever, must have a reasonable control of what is able to occur within the perimeter of their property. Very simple. Her “free speech” does not cancel their rights to control their property, she can do what ever she likes on the other side of that line.

    Want to test those reasonable standards? Go right ahead, but there will be and should be consequences.

  • commodude

    There’s where you are intentionally being completely ignorant of the point. The grounds of a PUBLIC university are the PUBLIC space, and as such subject to the Constitution. An office, hospital, or other PRIVATE spaces are subject to the rules of the owner of the PRIVATE space.

    As an aside, speech isn’t chaos. rioting is chaos. ANTIFA and their ilk are NOT exercising free speech, they’re inciting riots.

  • Cotour

    The university has set aside a public space in order that individuals can have THEIR free speech, what is the point then of the two “public spaces” that you propose? Why is there a 1% of the foot print of the university space set aside for free speech then?

    “Free speech” where ever and when ever without reasonable parameters of exercise on any property certainly can lead to chaos by those other listed entities.

    Your logic is incomplete and not contiguous, In your interpretation A + B = A

  • commodude

    A “free speech zone” is an Orwellian nightmare, if you can’t see the Constitutional issues with something like that through your willful ignorance, then any further discussion with you on this and many other points is pointless.

    “Free speech zones” controlled by the college aren’t free speech.

  • Cotour

    Fine, let her set up a religious “Jesus loves you” kissing booth in the administrations offices so she can exercise her free speech because thats how she is feeling today, which would be equal to not just her speech but her handing out a physical card. Where is reasonable behavior in a civilized country? In your reality who is able to draw a reasonable line? Apparently no one.

    Orwellian nightmare? Really? I think not, just behave reasonably, no one in hampering anyones free speech.

  • Max

    Whom did she harm? Did the school harm her? Was she in essence harmless or did she truly represent a disruptive influence? Or was it merely a case of someone being offended and complain?

    “This is a slippery slope where now no one has the ability to control anything be it religion, Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, The Nazi Party, where does it end?”

    The Zman has demonstrated that most of these groups run amok on the east and west coasts. Political correctness has tolerated far worse than a woman with a valentine. If the rules were evenly applied and inforced, we would not be having this conversation. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.
    This appears to be a case of going after a harmless person because they can bully her without fears of reprisal. Had this woman been wearing a Burka, no one would dare to oppose her. Nor would they oppose a man dressed like a hooker.
    Both examples are distractive advertising for their beliefs, not any different than a Christian wearing a cross and handing out “Jesus loves you” cards.
    I sometimes wonder how long I would last on a college campus. I am religious, but I live it, not wear it.
    What a person is is defined by what they do, not by what they say. (I wish this standard was applied to every politician)
    As a seeker of truth, (my hobby) I usually don’t hold back when I hear someone speaking science religious dogma that isn’t true. Recently in a inneraction with engineers in a group setting, we were told certain instructions to reduce our carbon footprint for the company. (ISO1401 compliant or whatever)
    Someone asked why? (Because the actions that were necessary will burn twice as much fuel in the name of clean air)
    The tired argument/mantra “that carbon dioxide is warming the planet” (and management said so). I raised my hand, and pointed out that carbon dioxide is one molecule out of every 2,500 molecules in the air. For carbon dioxide molecule to warm the air 30° above nighttime temperature by mid morning, The molecule would need to be between 70,000 to 80,000° and maintain that temperature throughout the afternoon. (that is 7 to 8 times hotter than the photosphere of the sun)
    He admited none of this makes sense but these are the mandated goals by an international commission who are progressively coming up with new demands constantly that we must conform too to do International business.

    Point is, schools and colleges are designed to create a knowledgeable workforce that is compliant and productive without asking why?
    All people demonstrating non-conformist actions in school must be set as an example to teach the other children what proper behavior is for the workplace. (it is a necessary educational tool)
    Sometimes people fight back and refuse to be culled from the herd. People fighting back happen so rarely, it is the only reason it made the news.
    Maintaining your rights are worth fighting for. This way you shape the future. For good or ill, depending on who is in power.

  • I must add that the courts have repeatedly ruled that a “free speech zone” on a public campus is unconstitutional. There is no argument about this in legal circles. Whenever FIRE takes universities to court over their restrictive free speech zones, it wins.

  • Cotour

    I am only asking for reasonable behavior in the context of the university and the well understood convention of behavior, including Left, Right and everything in between.

    And if anyone has a need or compulsion to push the limits of the reasonably set parameters of behavior then they may do that and there should be reasonable consequences. Who runs this university? My interpretation of who opposes me here is that in their interpretation anything must be accepted if the young lady prevails.

    And in that model we have both proselytizing and extreme political activities that must be somehow reasonably controlled so as to accomplish the stated goals of the entity in question, a business, a university, the Social Security office etc. Without reasonable rules and expectations of behavior respect for others deteriorates. And it does not limit the young ladies free speech or her religion.

    Does anyone have to be “harmed”? Neither physical or intellectual harm is a consideration here, the young lady has set up the potential for something that can fast descend into chaos. If she were to win her law suit, then what? Who determines reasonable and proper behavior within the confines of the university? The students?

    To me those who oppose me here defacto support what has been going on on the campuses in the country and call it “free speech”, the administration accepts bad behavior and even encourages it. That is a recipe for chaos and that is in deed what we have.

    In my little world I have reasonable expectations for behavior for those who choose to enter it, not much different for universities. They know and understand the rules before they enter. And when they chose to have low expectations within the confines of their property their goals are set by others and that is not what education should be about.

    No one is stepping on anyone’s free speech by reasonably enforcing known and agreed upon rules of behavior.

  • Cotour: You are being intellectually dishonest. The whole point here is that the university was not establishing “reasonable parameters of behavior.” This is quite clear. It has also been established in court, repeatedly, that free speech zones are unreasonable and unconstitutional. That you wish to make believe these facts don’t exist only weakens your argument and makes you look like you are fooling yourself.

  • wodun

    The problem is that the rules are only enforced against those the schools dislike, just like requiring permits, toilets, and security are only things required of non-Democrat protests off campuses. We all know that any Democrat affiliated group could hand out whatever they wanted wherever they wanted, or performed any other act of protest, on that campus.

    The rules are meant to create a two tiered society and used to prevent non-Democrats from enjoying the same rights and privileges as Democrats. Its Jim Crow hiding behind Social Justice.

  • Edward

    commodude wrote: “Cotour, what you’re missing here is that there is a vast difference between your property, which is privately owned, and subject to the rules of the owner, and the public space which is the grounds of a public university.

    There are cases in which private property has been deemed to be public access for free speech and begging. At least in my state, shopping malls and stores, not on the public-easement sidewalk, are not allowed to turn away those who are asserting their own free speech on those private properties. I see storesfronts with signs either requesting that such harassment of customers not take place on the premises or informing customers that such acts, opinion, or solicitations are not condoned by the store owner or manager.

    For some reason, the Supreme Court ruled that certain private properties were to be treated as public spaces — treated like government-owned public parks — despite the owners not receiving just compensation. The Fifth Amendment has been violated.

    Max asked: “Was she in essence harmless or did she truly represent a disruptive influence? Or was it merely a case of someone being offended and complain?

    Even if she offended someone, there is no right to not be offended. Such a right would violate the First Amendment and tremendously complicate our lives.

    Max wrote: “Political correctness has tolerated far worse than a woman with a valentine.

    Indeed, political correctness has been used to rationalize the heckler’s veto. It is bad enough when it happens in another (supposedly) free country, such as Britain, but it is worse in the U.S. because the First Amendment is explicitly intended to prevent such mistreatment of a person’s freedom of expression.

    Rather than punish those students, the administration has opted to extend free-speech restrictions to the student groups targeted by the unrest.

    In the case of NWTC, the administration did not wait for a real problem before violating the rights of a student whose opinion they disagreed with, they merely pretended to be victims of her free expression rights and took them away.

    wodun wrote: “Its Jim Crow hiding behind Social Justice.

    Good point.

  • Cotour

    “Intellectually dishonest”? Why would one come to that conclusion? I am arguing a point of view, your position is that the university was absolutely being unreasonable. Do you really know that? (NO, you do not) You have gotten on board with the plaintiffs narrative.

    How about this part of the plaintiffs narrative:

    “Olsen said that her inspiration to hand out valentines came from her mother, who, before her passing, gave them out to provide hope to those who most needed it, when speaking with Campus Reform. The student said that the past few years have been hard, as her mom died and her brother broke his neck, while Olsen, herself, has been homeless. Since my mother’s passing, I have carried on the tradition in her memory,” the student said.”

    Do you think the writers of this piece are seeking sympathy? (From you?) Anyone who’s mother has died and their brother has broken his neck needs to share her religious beliefs where ever SHE deems appropriate? Why did they need to include these juicy emotional tid bits if not for the sympathy element rather than supporting her free speech being unreasonably violated?

    Q: Free speech is about speech and placards or posters or artwork that might communicate a thought or concept. This young woman was handing her religious “Jesus Loves You” cards out for free on the universities property. Is the physical act of handing out her proselytizing cards still strictly classified as free speech or is she now doing something that goes too far? She may well prevail, but she is at least being obnoxious and is out of order IMO. We will see.

    Intellectually dishonest? I think not.

    Wodun is more on the track that I am on.

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