by WorldTribune Staff, July 20, 2020
In open but legal defiance of Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown order, Hillsdale College on Saturday held an in-person graduation ceremony.
A standing order from Whitmer bans gatherings of more than 100 people.
Along with the graduation ceremony, the college held three days of celebratory activities including dinners and music recitals. Participants took safety precautions such as social distancing, temperature checks and mandatory masks, which were given out at entrances, The Detroit News reported.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office “reiterated Thursday organized gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited in the part of the state where Hillsdale College is located under an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” according to The Detroit News.
Hillsdale County Sheriff Tim Parker told The News that his department would not enforce Whitmer’s order in this case and has not done so for the entirety of the pandemic.
Hillsdale College’s vice president and general counsel, Robert Norton, reportedly referred to a phrase in the governor’s order that states, “Nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution under these emergency circumstances.”
“Since the beginning, Norton said, Whitmer has made it clear that ‘outdoor, first amendment expressive activities,’ like spontaneous protests, were exempt from the order,” The Detroit News reported.