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Community College in Texas Clarifies ‘Free Speech Zone’ Policy After Pressure

Community College in Texas Clarifies ‘Free Speech Zone’ Policy After Pressure

“unclear whether students needed to physically be inside the Free Speech Zones to use their First Amendment Rights”

Free speech zones are a joke. Why are colleges even allowed to use them?

Campus Reform reports:

College clarifies free speech zone policy amid mounting pressure

A community college in Texas clarified its policy on free speech zones after more than three months of questioning from concerned students and Campus Reform.

Lone Star College-Tomball, a community college in Texas, first came to Campus Reform’s attention in April after the school punished a conservative student for voicing support for the Second Amendment in the wake of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Following the conservative student’s punishment, Campus Reform brought to light that the school promised “freedom of thought” to students, but nowhere did it commit to freedom of speech. Five days later, the school created a page touting its new Free Speech Zones, confined for undergraduates to two walkways on campus.

The school’s response prompted concern by students, activists, and free speech organizations, such as the Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE).

Under the new policy, it was unclear whether students needed to physically be inside the Free Speech Zones to use their First Amendment Rights. Those who called the school seeking clarification were redirected to voicemail, or, in many cases, their calls were disconnected.

Quade Lancaster, the conservative student who was punished for expressing conservative views on guns, was one of the students who told Campus Reform his call was disconnected.

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Comments

Free speech zones are a joke. Why are colleges even allowed to use them?

Because properly understood they are not a joke at all. A free speech zone is an area where people are free at all times to exercise their freedom of expression, without the reasonable content-neutral regulation of time, place, and manner that apply in other parts of campus. The only problem arises when uninformed functionaries think that since they’ve provided such a space, the first amendment doesn’t exist anywhere else. They need to understand that on the rest of campus, even though they are allowed to regulate expression, the first amendment still applies, and strictly limits how they may do so.

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