Students collecting signatures for a free speech petition at an Illinois public college were threatened Friday with arrest if they did not cease their activities and obtain a permit for their activity on campus.
Two students, accompanied by an advisor from conservative organization Turning Point USA, were handing out free copies of the U.S. Constitution and collecting signatures urging the College of DuPage to adopt less-restrictive free speech policies, college news website Campus Reform reported.
A campus police officer soon confronted the students — one proudly holding up an American flag — informing them that they needed to stop.
"You go to the Student Life office, and they give you a permit to do so," the officer told them.
[sharequote align="right"]"But you can’t do it out here, otherwise I’m going to have to lock you up."[/sharequote]
After the Turning Point USA representative referenced their right to free speech on a public university campus, the officer said the issue did not have to do with their First Amendment rights.
"It’s not free speech, ma’am," the officer said. "Nobody’s stopping you from free speech, but you can’t solicit out here, and basically you are — you’re soliciting your opinions. Okay? And you need to go get a permit."
When pressed on if they were violating a law, the officer referred the students to student life and threatened to arrest them.
"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. Like I said, I want you to go in to Student Life," he said.
One of the students involved told Campus Reform he has "had some problems" in the past trying to start a conservative student group.
"They told us that we need three members and a full-time faculty advisor, but they wouldn’t let us clipboard.” the student, Joseph Enders, told Campus Reform.
The school has maintained that it never received the proper paperwork from Enders and, thus, couldn't approve the club.
TheBlaze has reached out to the College of DuPage and will update this story with new information if it should become available.
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