There appears to be a growing war against free speech on college campuses across America, and it is a battle we as a society and culture simply cannot lose. If you recall, last fall I highlighted a case in which a student at Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from handing out Constitutions to fellow students on Constitution Day. I suggest you go back and take a read and watch the very troubling video: California Student Banned from Handing Out Constitutions on Campus.
Students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UH-Hilo, were prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution at a recruitment event in January. A week later, they were again informed by a censorship-minded administrator that their First Amendment-protected activities were in violation of school policy.
Young Americans for Liberty is a great organization by the way.
The students were told that they could only distribute literature from within UH-Hilo’s “free speech zone,” a small, muddy, frequently-flooded area on the edge of campus.
Administrators further clarified their level of respect for students’ free speech rights, making comments like, “This isn’t really the ’60s anymore,” and “people can’t really protest like that anymore,” according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Administrators also maintained that university policy took precedent over Constitutional rights, according to the complaint.
“It’s not about your rights in this case, it’s about the University policy that you can’t approach people,” said Ellen Kusano, director of Student Affairs, according to the complaint.
While the above is absolutely ridiculous, and more representative of a totalitarian state than anything remotely resembling freedom, there is some good news. The same law firm that sued on behalf of the Modesto student I mentioned earlier (who won a $50,000 settlement), is suing on behalf of the University of Hawaii student.
Fox News reports that:
Two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo are suing the school over alleged First Amendment violations after they were told by a campus official that they couldn’t approach fellow students to hand out copies of the Constitution.
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