Unfortunately, too many colleges these days would rather infringe on freedom of speech than actually encourage it. Now one college will find out the hard way if they are indeed infringing upon the 1st Amendment due to a lawsuit filed by a student.
Pierce College is a publicly-funded local community college in the Los Angeles area of California. A student wanted to distribute *gasp* copies of the Constitution and was told he could only do so in the school-sanctioned “Free Speech Zone.” I refer to them as “free speech pens” because people who have to stay in these pens to practice free speech are treated like petting zoo animals.
Daily News has the story:
Kevin Shaw, 27, contends the Woodland Hills community college violated his civil rights when he was barred from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution because he wasn’t in the free speech zone — an outdoor area roughly the size of three parking spaces — and because he hadn’t applied in advance to use it.
According to the complaint, Shaw attempted last November to distribute Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution and recruit new members for the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the school. The group describes itself as a libertarian-conservative youth organization.
Shaw says he was approached by a Pierce administrator who told him that he could not distribute literature outside the campus free speech zone, a tiny part of the 426-acre campus. If he refused to comply, Shaw was told he would be asked to leave campus, according to his court papers.
More and more of these cases should and probably will be happening across the country as students realize their 1st Amendment rights are indeed being infringed upon, especially at publicly-funded campuses. If these colleges want to get public funds, they’d better be allowing public free speech.
Colleges and universities in the U.S. used to be THE place where ideas, discussions, and debates on topics of all kinds were shared. Suddenly they went from being the key to teaching future leaders about free speech to being teachers of fascism, where free speech isn’t allowed.