California Student Banned from Handing Out Constitutions on Campus

While this story is a few days old, I didn’t have a chance to watch the video until last night. It is pretty disturbing. First of all, this student merely wanted to hand out copies of the Constitution to fellow students on Constitution Day, on public grounds at a public university in which he is enrolled. The most ridiculous part of the saga emerges when he engages in a conversation with an administrator at the Office of Student Development and Campus Life. Here the lady instructs him that he “needs to represented by a club” to hand things out. Then she informs him of a “free speech area,” which is preposterous to begin with, but it gets worse. This is what the “free speech area” looks like (the orange circle):

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 8.45.19 AM

Not only that, but apparently you need to fill out an application to be permitted to engage in free speech within the free speech area itself! She informed him of some available dates.



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  1. Dumb… the student is out of line.. period. And I support rights of free speech but he is really out of focus.

  2. It is the college that is out of line. I bet a 1st Amendment lawsuit would change the college’s tune.

  3. There is a massive difference between handing out The United States Constitution on a public campus than handing out club based materials (which should also not require a permit). The school IS denying him free speech plain and simple which is why he is so upset. Free speech means nothing if we let people regulate it.

  4. The entire campus, no the entire state of CA, no the entire USA is a free speech zone !

    If we let them restrict speech to such tiny areas, they they have no concept of what free speech really is.

  5. How is free speech “free,” if it requires a bunch of prior approval, prior establishment of dates, times, and places, along with a requirement for an ID?

    That’s like saying the old Soviet Union had freedom of travel. Sure you could travel anywhere you wanted, but you had to get state permission first.

    Neither of those situations are “free,” when the state sets up hurdles to prevent them.

    One has to wonder what would have happened to this young man had he simply exercised his right, i.e., ignored the officer and kept doing what he was doing.

    One suspects that he wouldn’t have been left to freely do it.

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