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Student in NWTC free speech lawsuit speaks at Trump event

Updated at 11 a.m. on March 22, 2019

The Brillion News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College spoke at the White House on Thursday as President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring colleges receiving federal research grants to uphold freedom of expression in concert with the requirements of the U.S. Constitution.

The student, Polly Olsen, sued NWTC in federal court after she was ordered by the technical college to stop handing out Valentines cards that were Christian in their message.

“College officials stopped her and told her she would be restricted to a so-called free speech zone because some people might find her cards offensive,” Trump said.“It is devastating that my school prevented me from handing out religious-themed valentines on Valentine’s Day,” Olsen said prior to the White House event. “Unfortunately my story is all too common. Schools all over the country are trying to put speech in a tiny box, making it as hard as possible for students to exercise their First Amendment rights on campus … Without freedom of speech, we do not have America any more.”

Accompanying Olsen in Washington was State Representative Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, chair of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.

“Our universities have become places were free expression is limited to free speech zones, in a nation built on the idea of being a free speech zone from sea to shining sea,” Murphy said.

Olsen’s federal court lawsuit is still in the federal courts. In late February, Olsen filed a motion asking for a summary judgment against NWTC. The federal court has had the case since attorneys for the public interest law Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed suit against NWTC, its governing board, and school officials in early September, 2018



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