For years, Wisconsin college student Polly Olsen has been handing out Valentine's Day cards with biblically themed messages to students and staff on campus. That goodwill gesture, however, has often been met with resistance in the form of the school's public assembly policy, which places strict limits on such activities.
Olsen's frustration with that policy finally bubbled over in February when security workers at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) stopped the 29-year-old from distributing the inspirational messages at the school's student center.
"Security forces were dispatched to apprehend her and tell her that she was speaking outside of the approved area, an area which she could only speak in if she got advanced permission," Rick Esenberg, with Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, the law firm representing Olsen, told Action 2 News.
The designated area, Olsen noted, constitutes less than 0.5 percent of the campus.
The security personnel also suggested that some may find the messages displayed on the heart-shaped cards off-putting.
The so-called offensive messages included the following:
- "God is love! 1 John 4:11"
- "Jesus Loves you! Romans 5:8"
Olsen, feeling her constitutional rights had been violated, decided to sue NWTC.
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