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Wisconsin woman hopes to create non-profit after winning First Amendment lawsuit

Posted at 6:56 AM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 11:33:44-04

GREEN BAY — A student who passed out Valentine's hearts with Christian Scripture written on them shared how she was treated on campus. The lawsuit she filed even caught the attention of President Donald Trump.

"Who knew a little valentine would take me to the White House," said Polly Anna Olsen.

The paralegal student explained she was handing out cut-out cards with messages that include 'Jesus Loves You! Romans 5:8' in memory of her mother who had recently died of pancreatic cancer. It was a tradition they shared together, giving out similar notes in nursing homes.

She says the reception she received at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay was appalling. "Within 15 minutes of being on campus, I was stopped by security. I was told I was soliciting and disrupting the learning environment by handing out valentines."

She filed a lawsuit last year, arguing freedom of speech adding, "I found life in these messages, and I knew other people would, too."

A Wisconsin judge sided with Olsen, and in March of this year, she was invited to the White House to speak and witness President Trump sign an executive order to protect freedom of speech on campuses.

"It puts actual penalties on campuses that are not allowing freedom of speech."

We reached out to NWTC for comment.

The campus president sent us this statement:
“We fully support freedom of speech and we promote the respectful exchange of ideas. We also have a responsibility to protect the privacy of students and the integrity of the learning environment. The College will continue to ensure that it meets its legal obligations."
-NWTC President Dr. Jeff Rafn

Olsen is now moving to the Milwaukee area with hopes to start a non-profit to protect other student's freedom of speech on campuses, no matter what their belief is. "It's worth the fight because you're defending our freedom for the next generation."