Missouri Community College Upholds the First Amendment (June 27, 2019)

A Missouri community college has reaffirmed its responsibility to uphold First Amendment rights after FFRF intervened.

A concerned Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City employee reported to FFRF that Chancellor Kimberly Beatty’s inauguration ceremony, held on Aug. 24, was rife with preaching and prayer. Attendance at this event was apparently mandatory for all staff. The complainant reported that several speeches were highly religiously charged, including two long sermons delivered by Southern Baptist preachers. One of these preachers reportedly instructed the audience to join in prayer. Additionally, Betty also reportedly stated that she’d been selected as chancellor by “divine providence.”

FFRF Legal Fellow Colin McNamara wrote to the college’s legal representation detailing the liability associated with injecting staff events with religion.

Metropolitan Community College Chief Legal Officer Sandra Garcia responded with assurances that the “office is working with institutional leadership to assure that future events include prayer only to the limited extent that such prayer is constitutionally permissible.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation