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Christian College’s Police Force Ruled Unconstitutional

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Davidson College, a small private Presbyterian school in North Carolina, can’t have police officers with the power to arrest suspects and enforce state law — because of its religious affiliation, the state Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. From the Associated Press story:

Allowing the school’s security officers to carry out laws on behalf of the state violates the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against laws establishing religion by creating “an excessive government entanglement with religion,” Judge Jim Wynn wrote in the unanimous opinion.

The Greenboro News & Record reveals that this stems from a dispute over a student’s drunk driving arrest. Interesting.

No word yet on how this will impact other private colleges with religious affiliations, including Duke University, which has ties to the United Methodist Church. Check out Religion Clause blog for more of the legal details.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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jestrfyl

posted August 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm


My understanding is that the Security Personnel on ANY campus has only the right to detain misbehaving or disorderly people until duly authorized local authorities can arrive, assess the situation, and take control of the miscreant. It has nothing to do with Church and State issues at all. Campus Security is on a par with Mall or Store Security. Campus Security are often students there by benefit of work study or simply as a part time job. They are not trained or prepared for all of the many ways students (and professors and staff) can get themselves in difficulty. At best they are the eyes and ears for the local police, extended into the campus setting. Anything more will open a whole host of problems. Lets not try to hide this behind any of the Ammendments. It is an opportunity to think cautiously and decide carefully.



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Your Name

posted August 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm


It’s fascinating that at a Christian college they’d have need for so much authority to keep people in line morally and legally!
I’m glad they were shut down on this. This is the first seed in this regard, to the Theocratic Fundy agenda that seeks to rule the country overall. Starting on a Christian campus, is just an easy first step to see how far they can get and if not, why not. So they can regroup and assimilate a new plan.
In the 90’s “The Moral Majority” tried to install their ideal Christian America by running zealot Pat Robertson for President. They lost of course. But from that lesson emerged a grass roots plan that was discussed at length at a “Revival” shortly after. The plan consisted of installing those with Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Values (The Moral Majority) into every grass roots enterprise in the secular community. From school boards, on up. This way they could slowly grow their numbers and eventually obtain leverage to work the whole system across the board, from the inside out.
And it worked to the point that today you have schools allowed to teach “Intelligent Design” along with Evolution. It is even an elective in some Public Schools. You have zero tolerance policies at the work place, PCism which is Christian Fundamentalist Fascism, mimicking what exists in the Middle East as Islamic Fascism. Wherein someone is punished for speaking freely, acting freely, thinking freely.
There’s even a movement in some States by TMM and other Fundy groups, to secede the entire State or part of it, from the U.S. so as to manifest a wholly Bible based Christian “Nation”.
This latest is great news, it’s not surprising, but it is a warning.
They believe they can do this because they’re afforded freedom of religion. However, their anthem with respect to that liberty includes, the rest of secular America is not free FROM their religion.
Critics have it right in many respects. These are the Western version of a Christian Taliban.



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pagansister

posted August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm


My daughter and son called the security on campus “rent a cops”. I never thought that any security on any college campus was authorized to arrest someone anyhow, whether a private or public college. Guess it has been brought to a head now with this ruling.



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Robert C

posted August 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm


Just another reason for off duty municipal police officers to get extra money moonlighting for private security firms.



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Henrietta22

posted August 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm


The first paragraph describes the law as Police Officers on campus. Then they jump to Security Police. Security Police can’t enforce state laws, etc. they can as Jest says hold them for the real Police until they come and turn them over to them. I think what this article is saying is that Police cannot be hired to work on their campus because real deputies cannot mix government with a Religious College. Security police can because they are not Police Graduates.



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kenneth

posted August 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm


If it’s not a state-owned or operated entity, they shouldn’t have police powers under state law, religion or no. Nor should such a university want to get involved in the law enforcement business. Without specific protections afforded only to real police, they are risking astronomical liability by making traffic stops etc.



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Dinko

posted August 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm


Your Name,,,,Should be “hater of Christians or Ignorant of the truth”. So much is wrong with your comment it defies belief.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted August 18, 2010 at 9:52 pm


What’s a good Christian kid gonna do on a Christian campus to get in trouble with the law? Have a same-sex marriage? Come out? Think dirty thoughts? Or, worse, swear at a professor? Smoke cigarettes? Dance? Go to movies? Wear makeup? Or, GASP!!! drink alcohol?



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Drunker

posted August 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm


Now I am going to get drunk in private college. I like these stupid Judges, they have been bought by muslims.



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Some poor college student

posted August 19, 2010 at 1:34 am


Hmmm…those campus security police probably have the same authority as i have as a campus security officer at the baptist college i work at as a security guard. A citizens arrest. That’s the same arrest a 70 year old grandmother can do. They may have gotten into trouble in some way of use or restraints, but over all, this argument is stupid.



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nnmns

posted August 19, 2010 at 1:40 am


“Now I am going to get drunk in private college. I like these stupid Judges, they have been bought by muslims.”
There’s no limit to the stupidity people are willing to express in public. Fox News just makes people dumber and dumber.



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Bill

posted August 19, 2010 at 7:48 am


So if a student were committing murder on the campus, the campus security force should sit in the guardshack and wait on police to arrive? And if the campus has no authority to enforce state and federal law on campus because of the church/state misinterpretation, how can the state or local police come onto campus and make an arrest because of the same church/state separation? This whole situation lacks ANY common sense at all!!



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nnmns

posted August 19, 2010 at 9:03 am


Any citizen can try to stop a murder, Bill, and should. And the police’s authority doesn’t stop at a church’s door; should police let someone slaughter people in a church because it’s a church? I don’t think so.
I’m afraid it’s you, Bill, lacking the common sense.



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joe gonzalez

posted August 19, 2010 at 11:11 am


i think that’s fine. cops have enough of a bad time already. i wouldn’t want to be a cop if it was the last job in the land. the things they have to put up with !!!! Marital disputes…stopping sociopaths for speeding…never mind dealing with the real EVIL crowd. so no, – being a cop is a vocation, they carry it out as best they can…no ‘ religious-cops ‘ will do the trick. they’re bound to arrest you ’cause your crucifix is upside down ! ( and i just got a ticket day before yesterday – i might fight it in court, but the LADY
( in this case not the MAN ) was just doing her tough job.



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Jack West

posted August 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm


No!No!No! You don’t get it! The First Ammendment says simply that Congress shall not endorse any specific religion of the country, not make any one religion superior in the country to any other. How we can go from that point to an interpretation that a religious college’s police force would have no authority to govern their own campass is totally insane and beyond me. Common sense left the United States years ago and I predict shall not return.



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nnmns

posted August 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm


Why would they even want their own police force when the city cops can deal with real crime on campus?



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Tony

posted August 23, 2010 at 9:47 pm


As a former university police officer, I will tell you why “nnmns”…the local police are busy with domestic calls and concerns in the cities or county. A department on campus provides a department and officers that are more educated on the needs of the campus and the people that work and attend there. They are also more aware of problems on campus and have a better knowledge of the layout of the area and make for a faster response to problems than the locals – i.e. active shooters.



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Appalachian Prof

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm


I once applied to Davidson for a job. They never once mentioned they were a “Christian” college. I’m finding this whole thing sort of amusing.



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