US College Free Speech Zone: No Room for the Constitution
On Tuesday, September 17, the 226th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States of America, officials at Modesto Junior College, California, prevented a student from passing out pocket constitutions to peers in the designated “free speech” zone on campus.
People commemorate Constitution Day across the country. In fact, the US Department of Education encourages the celebration of Constitution Day. On its website, it states that “each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year is required to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students.” The website even has a link to “Constitution Day Resources” for colleges that might need some ideas.
When faced with a barrier against his own way of commemorating, however, the student, Van Tuinen, posed the question, “Why are there rules and regulations on my free speech?”
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), advocates against these forms of censorship. FIRE’s senior vice president, Roberty Shibley, says the bureaucracy at Modesto Junior College, which limits free speech, is not uncommon. He goes on to say that research conducted by FIRE has demonstrated that “one in six of American’s 400 largest and most prestigious colleges have ‘free speech zones’ limiting where speech can take place.”
Modesto Junior College has received local media attention and feedback on their Facebook page from citizens who are appalled by their free speech regulations. Administrators released this public statement in defense:
The Yosemite Community College District’s (YCCD) colleges have free speech areas on campus for activities such as distributing materials on campus. . . . people can distribute materials in the areas generally available to students and the community as long as they don’t “disrupt the orderly operation of the college.” In the case of the YouTube video, it did not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operation of the college. Therefore, we are looking into the matter.
Source: The Blaze. Read More »