Lauren Cooley, a 22-year-old journalist and conservative activist, canvassed Broward College last week asking students there whether they agreed that "big government sucks." The question soon answered itself: Campus police officers interrupted Cooley, told her that she had to restrict her activities to the designated "free speech zone," and threatened to arrest her unless she left the campus.
Broward is a Miami-area community college and public institution that hosted a debate between Florida gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott and Charlie Crist last week.
According to The College Fix:
She spent nearly 90 minutes there asking students "Hey, do you think big government sucks?" as she worked to find students interested in signing a petition to launch a Turning Point student club on campus, she said in an interview with The College Fix.
As Cooley was leaving the Davie, Florida campus she saw a male student and asked him if he thought big government sucked, and at that point she was told by a campus security guard that she needed to go to the "free-speech area," she said in an interview Friday with The College Fix.
Cooley recorded the incident. The cops insisted that she was not allowed to speak to students about a political topic outside the free speech zone, even though many students—having just attended a political debate—were actively discussing politics out in the open (how shocking!). Cooley was wise enough to ask whether she was being detained and declined to hand over her ID. Eventually, an officer told her to leave the campus at once or be arrested for trespassing.
"Alright," Cooley said as she walked away. "Remember, big government sucks."
"Yeah, I know," the officer can be heard saying in the background.
After being told in absolute terms by a police officer that she was not permitted to speak to students and would be arrested if she remained any longer, Cooley left the campus.
According to The College Fix, Cooley is a resident of Broward County. "It's literally the college my taxdollars go to partially fund," she said.
Free speech zones are pernicious and manifestly unconstitutional staples of many campuses. That a public institution of higher learning would want to prevent a young person from discussing politics with students is inexcusable.
That the cops would aggressively enforce this restrictive policy is even worse.