Campus police stopped Tim Pollard Feb. 24 after calls were made reporting he was stopping students on Main Quad and interfering with their ability to make it to class on time.
“I was just wanting to witness and talk to people about the Lord,” said Pollard, of Livingston.
According to Sgt. Chris Russell of Tech Police, Pollard had been informed of Tech’s Tennessee Board of Regents-backed policy that requires a notification prior to demonstrating on campus. However, he refused to leave the premises, stating: “I have a right to be here.”
After briefly being placed in handcuffs by Russell, Pollard agreed to leave the area.
“The biggest issue was him coming onto campus, not necessarily just being here, but wanting to spread his religion without checking in with campus first,” said Russell. “The policy is that anyone is entitled to do that, but you have to check in with the University because students are going here for an education. With him being out there like what he was doing, I’m not saying he was doing wrong by no means, but he was stopping the students and prohibiting them from going to their classes.”
“They are trying to take away our freedom of speech,” said Pollard. “When they require someone to have a permit to speak on public property, the government is trying to put a damper on Christian peoples’ right to free speech.”
According to Sgt. Russell, who had stopped Pollard on at least one previous occasion, in order to demonstrate on campus, those involved must first obtain a permit from Tech’s Assistant to the Vice President, Diane Smith. This permit provides them with a specific time and place for the demonstration so that campus police can be present.
“This is to protect the demonstrator from the students as well as the students from him,” said Sgt. Russell. “Mr. Pollard was advised that if he has an issue, to speak with our attorney.”
When asked about his plans moving forward, Mr. Pollard said, “I’m not sure what I’m going to do.”