A U.S. District Court Judge has ruled against a Wisconsin community college that banned a woman from campus because she was handing out Jesus-themed Valentine’s Day cards, but the ruling leaves most of the school’s restrictive speech policy in place.
According to a report by The College Fix, Polly Olsen, who was banned from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College over her decision to hand out Valentine’s Day cards that read “Jesus Loves You!” has won a judgment against the college in a U.S. District Court.
U.S. District Judge William Griesbach ruled that the college violated Olsen’s First Amendment rights when it told her that she was not permitted to distribute her cards on campus. A security video from the college showed Olsen politely offering Valentine’s Day cards to various employees and students at the college.
Breitbart News reported in February that Olsen had sued the college over their decision to ban her from campus. Olsen told reporters at the time that she hoped her case would serve as a legal precedent that would protect the speech rights of others.
In the ruling, Judge Griesbach wrote that there is “no doubt” that handing out Valentines on a public campus is a form of expression that is protected by the First Amendment.
There can be no doubt that in handing out her home-made Valentines to her fellow students, friends, and staff at NWTC, Olsen was engaged in a constitutionally protected form of expression. Olsen’s conduct bears some resemblance to “handbilling” which has been defined as “the practice of offering written material—be it handbills, pamphlets, tracts, advertisements, booklets, notices or other information—to individuals in public places for their acceptance or rejection.”
Although the judge came down in favor of Olsen, the college will still be able to enforce a revised version of its speech policy. The judgment, which strongly condemns the college’s desire to censor constitutionally protected expression, only applies to the distribution of Valentines or other notes.
Breitbart News will continue to cover court cases against restrictive campus free speech policies.