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Cameron University faces lawsuit over flyers

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LAWTON, Okla._Which comes first: school rules, or the U.S. Bill of Rights? It's a question that's now sending Cameron University to court.

The 'Alliance Defending Freedom' group is suing the school after allegations that an official confronted Daniel Harper, a student, about religious flyers that he was passing out. When Harper told the school he was within his First Amendment rights, school officials replied that he had to abide by school policy regarding flyers of any type, despite what the U.S. Constitution states.

The problem started when another student complained about the flyer he handed out. That prompted university official, Thomas Russell, to tell Harper that he was in violation of the Equal Opportunity policy in the school's handbook and that policy comes before the Constitution. That's prompted an international organization to step in.

Harper's lawyer, David Hacker, says Cameron University needs to take another look at policies designed to protect students.

"The flyers talked about his beliefs of some other religious groups and what they believed and explained what Mr. Harper believes as a Christian and what he believes the bible says," explained Hacker.

In the official complaint to the school, Daniel Harper says when he tried to fight back, university representative Thomas Russell told him "I like those amendments to the Constitution. They're foundations to democracy. But that's all they are, foundations."

"Cameron University has turned its Equal Opportunity policy on its head. It's there to protect students from the university saying their religion isn't welcome on campus. And that's exactly what the university has told Mr. Harper, that he can't share his faith on campus while others can," said Hacker.

Cameron University won't comment on the particulars of the federal case saying, “Cameron University recently learned of a federal lawsuit alleging the university limited speech on its campus. While the university does not comment on the specifics of any given case, it remains committed to ensuring that every individual has an opportunity for free expression. Cameron prides itself on fostering an atmosphere where an open exchange and debate can occur.”

The ADF stands by their suit with the school, saying their fight is about more than just policy.

"If we start saying that some people can speak and some people can't, then we're entering a very dangerous arrangement in society where the government is basically telling people what they can or can not believe. And I don't think anybody in America wants that," said Hacker.

David Hacker says the lawsuit has already been filed in a federal court in Oklahoma City. He says now his team waits while Cameron University is officially served with the case.

No timeline yet on when court proceedings are expected to start.

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