By Amy Alkon
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.
Curtailed Speech Is Not Free Speech
On Constitution Day, a Modesto Junior College student was banned from handing out copies of the Constitution. View through to the administrator telling him he can’t have a date to exercise his free speech for many weeks, and even then, he will have to do it in a tiny spot outside the student center — and only there.
Video from theFIRE.org:
Published on Sep 19, 2013
Modesto Junior College in California told a student that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on September 17, 2013–Constitution Day. Captured on video, college police and administrators demanded that Robert Van Tuinen stop passing out Constitution pamphlets and told him that he would only be allowed to pass them out in the college’s tiny free speech zone, and only after scheduling it several days or weeks ahead of time.
And the good news — another victory for free speech by campus free speech defenders, FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
FRESNO, Calif., February 25, 2014–Yesterday evening, California’s Modesto Junior College (MJC) agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed last October by student Robert Van Tuinen, whom the college prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day. The videotaped incident drew national media attention.
As part of the settlement, MJC has revised its policies to allow free speech in open areas across campus and has agreed to pay Van Tuinen $50,000. Van Tuinen was represented by the firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Washington, D.C., and assisted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
“FIRE is very pleased that Robert Van Tuinen and Modesto Junior College have reached this settlement–and that Modesto Junior College students will now be able to exercise their First Amendment rights across campus,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “But because 59% of colleges nationwide maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict student speech, there’s much more work to be done.”
Last September 17–the 226th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing–MJC prevented Van Tuinen from handing out copies of the Constitution in a grassy area by the student center. Van Tuinen notified FIRE about the situation, and FIRE promptly wrote MJC, asking the college to rescind its unconstitutional policies. With no satisfactory response forthcoming, on October 10, with FIRE’s assistance, Bob Corn-Revere, Ronald London, and Lisa Zycherman of Davis Wright Tremaine filed a federal lawsuit on …read more