Higher Education vs. The Constitution

Colleges to students: don’t use your 1st Amendment rights to distribute the 1st Amendment. From Hilo, HI:

The complaint alleges that on January 16, 2014, plaintiff Merritt Burch, who is president of the UH Hilo chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), and a fellow student YAL member were participating in an outdoor event where student groups set up tables to distribute literature. Observing other students walking around and handing out items, Burch and her friend walked out from behind YAL’s table to likewise hand out Constitutions and YAL information cards. A UH Hilo administrator ordered Burch and her companion to stop approaching students and get back behind their table, dismissing Burch’s protest about her constitutional rights.

A week later, in an orientation meeting for student organizations, another administrator reiterated the rule against passing out literature. Burch and Vizzone were told that if they wanted to protest, the proper place to do so would be in UH Hilo’s “free speech zone,” a sloping, one-third acre area on the edge of campus. The “free speech zone” represents approximately 0.26% of UH Hilo’s total area and is muddy and prone to flooding in Hilo’s frequent rain. The administrator further observed, “This isn’t really the ’60s anymore” and “people can’t really protest like that anymore.”

The students are suing the school with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). This isn’t FIRE’s first tango with college administrators censoring the Constitution:

Last September 17—the 226th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing—MJC (Modesto Junior College) 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 Van Tuinen’s behalf. On December 17, MJC agreed to suspend enforcement of the policies in question while settlement talks took place.

Mr. Van Tuinen’s introduction to college censorship was captured on camera:

Unfortunately, college and censorship goes hand-in-hand (just like college athletics and hypocrisy). With “political correctness” firmly ensconced on college campuses, look for these battles to continue indefinitely.

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One Response to “Higher Education vs. The Constitution”

  1. Politically Incorrect Mandated Speech | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] recently commented that political correctness is “ensconced” on college campuses, and this often leads to censorship. Here you have political incorrectness trying to FORCE speech […]

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