Grand Valley State University Sued for Discriminating Against Conservative Students


Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a conservative student group at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) filed a federal lawsuit against the school last Wednesday after the students faced discrimination and threats of arrest from campus administrators.

University officials told members of the Turning Point USA chapter at the school that they could not hand out pocket constitutions and talk to students about the First Amendment because the members were not standing in one of the university’s two Orwellian “free speech zones.”

GVSU police and administrators told club founder Tim McKeeby and member Joe Tucker that they would be arrested for trespassing if they didn’t cease their pro-free speech activism. In one incident, campus police told the students “if you continue to stay here, then we’ll need to arrest you.”

Tim McKeeby and Joe Tucker weren’t the first students to face this kind of discrimination from campus administrators.

In March of 2005, the College Republicans at GVSU held a so-called “affirmative action bake sale” – a bake sale where cookies and cupcakes were sold at different prices to whites and minorities, men and women, etc. This bake sale was, of course, a parody meant to highlight how affirmative action devalues individuals as a mere product of their identity.

When campus administrators caught wind of what the College Republicans did, the university charged them with a violation of the student code and threatened sanctions against the club. Fearing repercussions, the College Republicans folded under pressure and apologized for the bake sale.

Mary Lyon, GVSU’s associate vice president for university communications, told Campus Reform that “free speech” zones and other speech restrictions at GVSU exist “not to regulate content, but rather time, manner, and place so that the educational mission is not disrupted.”

These allegedly content-free speech codes have not been enforced equally.

The Grand Valley Lanthorn, a far-left student-run paper at GVSU, described a demonstration outside of the “free speech” zones held by the NAACP and Black Lives Matter in September:

A march starting at Kleiner Commons kicked the GVSU event off. “No justice, no peace, racism must cease,” participants chanted. “Our people united will never be defeated.” The march went through the Mary Idema Pew Library and into Kirkhof Center, where the demonstrators linked arms and stood in silence for 10 minutes. When the demonstration went outside to the Cook Carillon Tower, different student organizations took turns speaking about why people of color and the colored community at GVSU matter.

Other left-wing groups were also allowed to violate the allegedly content-neutral speech codes.

On Nov. 16, Joe Tucker observed a large crowd of students holding signs and marching around campus outside of the two small speech zones as they protested the recent election of Donald Trump. The student protesters stood directly outside of the Student Services Building, shouted slogans, and even went inside of the Student Services Building for a period of time.

Tucker did not observe any GVSU administrator or campus police officer approach the students or order them to stop engaging in their activities as had occurred with the Turning Point USA students.

The lawsuit, Turning Point USA at Grand Valley State University v. The Trustees of Grand Valley State University, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, asks the court to prohibit enforcement of the GVSU Speech Zone Policy and declare it to be a violation of the students’ freedoms protected under the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.


  1. The original action / behavior by the university really points to the troubled and unstable minds of what we call the “left”, of which instability is greatly amplified in the educational setting, especially in the so-called higher education environment.

    Ottawa County in West Michigan (where this school is located), is probably the most conservative county in the nation. This area has a has an amazing history of stability and success based on its strong biblical, moral and religious roots.

    This truth has been the topic of numerous articles written on the West Michigan area based on the investigation by “experts” into why we are more stable than most other communities in Michigan and around the U.S.

    We are speaking of a stable foundation that was laid specifically by those who knew where they stood in life, based on the truth of Biblical principles.

    Not all that live in this are now, or even then were are/were called Christian, but still most stood and many still stand on that kind of foundation.

    There is a specific reason why Ottawa County stands where it is as a civilization as compared to the rest if the state, nation and world.
    It is the foundation on which its society was “built”.

    It is a foundation that is now crumbling due to weak and unbiblical churches, even among the Dutch Reformed folks who were the majority of the early settlers here, yet some still stand sure.

    2Ti 2:19, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

    God’s truth does not change with time.

    1Pe 1:22-25, Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

    Growing up in this area, I was surprised to find that the West Michigan Dutch Reformed work ethic was included in the Psychology Book / class I was taking in the mid 80’s while in Illinois at Joliet Jr College.

    For Grand Valley to take such and ignorant and foolish path as indicated in the original post, does truly reveal the Godless state in the administration and facility of most public education.

    The very sad part is that much of the so-called Christian education is following blindly along this path into this pit of despair.

    Links for two articles on this subject are included below.
    Robert P. Swierenga, “The Dutch Imprint in West Michigan”
    Robert P. Swierenga, “Fruits of the Reformation in West Michigan”

  2. I have had communication with the President and Chair over the dismissal of Coach Berger.Coach Berger made the statement that he would like to have lunch with Adolf Hitler, John Kennedy, Chirstopher Columbus. He attributed to all as being great leaders. He added that Hitler was also a terrible man.
    For this, he was fired!
    Grand Valley State University needs new leadership. Would Hitler have taken the same approach with people he disagreed with? This is the question!

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