Gateway Green Alliance

Green Party Seeks Apology from College

For immediate release: April 22, 2003

The Green Party of St. Louis has joined the leaders of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, the St. Louis Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums in criticizing the behavior of a Forest Park Community College Police Officer Dixon, who ejected Dave Sladky from campus on April 13, 2003 during a talk by Ralph Nader.

The Green Party has called for Officer Dixon to be dismissed and for Forest Park Community College to apologize and recognize the right to free speech on campus.

Officer Dixon's stated reason for his action was that Sladky was seeking signatures on a petition for a ballot item. The Green Party says that this is unconstitutional and a violation of the Community College's own policy. The ballot item would prevent county funds from going towards a new baseball stadium. Since several organizations were collecting names of interested people at the same time Sladky was, the action of Officer Dixon was a more blatant violation.

Carl Stelzer saw what Officer Dixon was doing, identified himself as a reporter, and asked why Sladky was being ejected. At that point, an already rude officer in violation of principles of petition, speech, and assembly revealed himself to be abusive and not worthy of the trust that is placed in campus security officers. He used offensive language and shoved the reporter, urged both of them to defy him, and showed his handcuffs. Carl Stelzer's statement is also included below. Stelzer recorded the conversation, showing that Officer Dixon was way out of bounds. Two witnesses have since come forward.

If Dixon acted this way once for no reason, the Green Party believes that he is a security threat to students on campus.

Since the event, Chief Richard Banahan has given no indication that Dixon will be disciplined in any way. He has also shown that he does not understand the College's own policy. Banahan had said that the College has no policy against, but "discourages" petitioning. The policy, which is enclosed states that "Expressive activity may occur during regular campus hours and/or during the hours in which an event, activity, or class is being conducted."


According to Jason Murphy, a recent candidate of the Green Party of St. Louis, "Too many people view petitioning as something like panhandling when it is an essential component of democracy here in Missouri. Singling out Dave Sladky, who wasn't chasing anyone but simply offering them a chance to sign if they wished, reveals a contempt for democracy."

Dave Sladky, a co-coordinator of the Green Party of St. Louis observed: "There were other groups getting names. Why I was singled out I can only guess. It may have been my Green Party shirt. Or was it the content of my petition?"

Chief Banahan recently stated that it was the Friends of the St. Louis Public Library that asked campus security to selectively eject Sladky.

Last updated 11 January 2004. Contact: