First Amendment v Secular Campus

Laura Brown, Staff Writer

No one should have his or her First Amendment Rights infringed on by another individual, especially at a public educational institution that is meant to be secular.

Unfortunately, it is happening here at Cerritos College.

On the first day of the semester while walking to class, a young woman stepped out in front of me, stopping me dead in my tracks. I assumed she was in need of directions and gave her my attention, but was caught off guard when she asked me if I was on my way to class because that seemed quite obvious. After answering her I tried to walk away, but she again stepped out in front of me, only this time she wanted to talk to me about Jesus.

I witnessed this happening throughout campus.

Several members of this Bible group were jumping out in front of oncoming students, forcing them to stop and listen while they gave their speech about their religion and view on God.

Without taking away freedom of speech and religion and keeping the college open to the community, should the school set ground rules for promotion of religion on a campus that is supposed to be secular?

My answer is, yes.

The school should be monitoring these groups and make them aware that they can promote their religion peacefully and respectfully, but cannot run down students and prevent the student from walking away if he or she is not interested. If boundary is broken, further action by the school should be taken.

When I get to campus, I am focused on learning and creating a better future for myself. I do not want to be bombarded by people trying to get me to join something, especially a religion.

A secular institution means that it is not affiliated with any religion, so why am I being forced to stop and talk to someone about religion?

Having a table to promote your beliefs is reasonable. Fellow students asking to talk to you about their beliefs is reasonable. However, having these people step out in front of you to get your attention and then doing it again when you try to walk away from them is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.