Northern Kentucky student creates petition to change orientation speech policy

KENTUCKY — A Northern Kentucky University student plansto petition NKU administrators to apologize and revise a policy restricting thedistribution of certain materials during student orientation after the studenthanded out condoms as a form of protest and landed in jail.

Dennis Chaney, a junior at Northern Kentucky University, in HighlandHeights, Ky., is president of Students for Change, which describes itself as agroup dedicated to working democratically to insure NKU educates well-roundedstudents. He was arrested after distributing condoms on campus as part of hisorganization’s anti-war campaign.

Chaney has not been in contact with the administrators who initiated hisarrest, but he has been in touch with Jeffrey Waple, NKU dean of students.Chaney said Waple was willing to revise the policy without a petition, butafter being arrested in public, Chaney, who claims NKU’s orientationdistribution policy violated his First Amendment rights, says he wants to provea point.

So far, Chaney says he has collected 200 signatures to revise theorientation guidelines and is hoping to collect 150 more before taking hispetition to NKU administrators.

Chaney says he set up a table for Students for Change at a July 31new-student orientation event where he offered passing students PlannedParenthood pamphlets and condoms, and posted signs that read, “bombing forpeace is like fucking for virginity.”

An hour later, Holly Caudill-Grote, new-student orientation coordinator andAmy Arbino-Wylie, assistant dean of students approached Chaney. Chaney saysthey told him his material violated student orientation guidelines, whichprohibits handouts or giveaways involving alcohol, drug or sexualinnuendo.

“Wylie took the condoms and said we couldn’t pass themout,” Chaney said.

Chaney said Wylie later returned with a campus police officer, whoarrested him for disorderly conduct.

A police report filed said that Chaney was asked to leave campus and beganto cause a scene while trying to incite a crowd by yelling that his right tofreedom of speech was being violated.

Unable to post a $1,000 bond, Chaney was held in jail overnight. He wasreleased the next morning after he agreed to perform 15 hours of communityservice. After completing the community service, Chaney says his record will beexpunged.

Chris Cole, NKU spokesperson, said that Waple is reviewing various schoolpolicies as the new dean of students. None of the NKU officials involved in thisstory returned phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.