A student group at Clemson University is planning a rally to protest a controversial rule that prohibits praying on campus outside of designated “free speech zones.”
The issue came to the forefront last week after a Clemson campus official stopped a local man from praying with a student on campus. Kyra Palange, a Clemson grad student related her experience to Young Americans for Freedom, a national conservative student group.
“I was walking across the grassy area near Fort Hill after class at about 3:15 when I saw someone sitting in a folding chair. Next to him was another folding chair with an 8×10 sign that said PRAYER. I approached him and we sat down to pray for a few minutes. When we finished, a man from the university approached us and said he could not be praying there because it was not a “designated free speech area” and presented the person who was praying with a form for the procedures for applying for “solicitation” on campus. He told him he had to leave.”
Palange challenged the campus official about the rule, recording the interaction in a cell phone video. Shawn Jones, the Assistant Director for Client Services at Clemson, repeated to Palange that “This is not a free speech zone.”
Palange pressed him further: “And by that you mean there are free speech areas on campus and the entire campus is not a free speech area?”
“That is right,” Jones replied.
Now, the student group WeRoar Clemson is organizing a free speech rally to challenge the university officials and bring awareness to the situation. Dubbed “Rally With Robby” after Robby Roberts, the man who was removed from the campus for praying with students, the event will be held this Friday.
“This Clemson Administration has deemed prayer on campus a form of offensive solicitation,” WeRoar said in a press release. “If you are a Clemson student or parent of a student, this should concern you. If you are Alumni, this should concern you. Regardless of your religious affiliation, this should concern you. We are all united as believers in the rights of the individual.”