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Sep 01 2016
by Jenna Ciccotelli

A Man Was Stopped From Praying On Clemson's Campus And People Are Upset

By Jenna Ciccotelli - Sep 01 2016
Clemson University is defending their solicitation policy after controversy began to brew this week over a man who was praying on campus.

According to The Charlotte Observer, the man, who is not a student at the school, was sitting in a folding chair beside a similar, empty chair on which a sign rested saying "prayer." A Clemson grad student, Kyra Palange, joined the man in prayer. 

“When we finished, a man from the university approached us and said he could not be praying there because it was not a ‘designated free speech area’ and presented the person who was praying with a form for the procedures for applying for ‘solicitation’ on campus. He told him he had to leave," Palange told Young America's Foundation.

A portion of their interaction can be seen in this video.

According to The Charlotte Observer, Mark Land, vice president of University Relations, said that anyone who does not attend Clemson must fill out paperwork if they intend to speak or assemble a group. 

Clemson released a statement defending their actions. "Clemson does not prohibit prayer," the statement read. "If he wanted to erect a sign and invite a gathering he would need to reserve one of the areas of campus designated as available to the public for this type of activity."

WeRoar Clemson, a campus free speech group, plans to hold a rally this week.  A spokeswoman for Clemson says the university will not interfere with the rally.

Many people took to Twitter to share their reactions, including Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who created a Twitter poll in response to the article. 83 percent of respondents felt that Clemson should "allow people to gather and pray in any public space."

Some angry individuals called for a boycott of Clemson. Scott Sterling referenced San Francisco 49'ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem when he suggested that people forgo a Clemson education.

While Clemson is claiming this man was soliciting, some view the university's action as limiting freedom of expression and assembly. What do you think?

Lead Image Credit: Clemson Tigers

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Jenna Ciccotelli - Northeastern University

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