Christianity once again under attack on college campus.
Two students were threatened with suspension at the College of Alameda after one of them prayed with an ailing teacher in a faculty office. The students, Kandy Kyriacou and Ojoma Omaga said college officials threatened to suspend them for “disruptive behavior”, holding disciplinary hearings and sending them letters warning that they would be punished if they prayed in the teacher’s office again.
The women sued, citing the violation of their freedom of speech, and a federal judge ruled that the two can go ahead and sue the college, saying a college student has the right to pray in private outside a classroom.
While studying fashion design and merchandising at the two year college the two students took breaks from class to pray with each other and other students on a balcony. On two occasions the students prayed with teacher Sharon Bell at an office Bell shared with other teachers. The second time another teacher entered the office and told Kyriacou, “You can’t be doing that in here,” and the student stopped praying and left.
Ten days later Kyriacou and Omaga received suspension notices, being accused of praying disruptively in class, although the two never prayed in class or during class. In seeking dismissal of the suit, lawyers for the Peralta Community College District argued that the school was entitled to designate faculty offices as “places for teaching and learning and working,” and not for “protests, demonstrations, prayer or other activities” that would be disruptive.
The students countered that they were being punished for the content of their speech, not its disruptiveness. I do not see how you can lump prayer with demonstrations and protests. How is praying in a private office disruptive? Disruptive to who? The teacher who was praying did not complain and there were no other students in the office.
This is clearly a case of discrimination against Christians on campus. I will bet that Muslims are allowed to pray on campus where ever and whenever they want. Yet when two Christians get together to pray in a private office it is deemed “disruptive” by college officials. A two-faced spokesman for the college said its leaders “respect freedom of speech and the First Amendment.” But that respect obviously does not include Christians at the College of Alameda. I don’t think that one teacher bowing her head in prayer is an endorsement for a particular religion.
As Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute said,
It is alarming that a publicly funded college would seek to suspend and expel students for praying on campus, then dig in its heels to defend an untenable, unconstitutional position.
Amen to that.