Students Sue Clovis Community College President, Alleging He Invented Rules to Ban Conservative Flyers
“Public colleges cannot ban students’ flyers because administrators subjectively deem their political viewpoints inappropriate or offensive.”
Once again, a free speech issue goes in the same direction. This never seems to happen to the left.
From the FIRE newsdesk:
Students sue college president who invented rules to ban conservative flyers
Three conservative college students wanted to criticize authoritarianism. But when administrators deemed their opinions inappropriate and offensive, the students found themselves facing an oppressive regime right on campus.
Today, students from a campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, represented by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, sued California’s Clovis Community College, delivering a simple message: Public colleges cannot ban students’ flyers because administrators subjectively deem their political viewpoints inappropriate or offensive.
“Clovis tried to put up barriers against our ideas because administrators didn’t like them,” said YAF-Clovis founder Alejandro Flores. “But that’s the opposite of what a college should do. Our college should encourage us to discuss and sharpen our ideas, not shut down the conversation.”
In November 2021, Alejandro and fellow club members Daniel Flores and Juliette Colunga received permission from administrators to hang three flyers on bulletin boards inside Clovis’ academic buildings. The flyers advocated for freedom and listed the death tolls of communist regimes.
Emails obtained via a public records request reveal that soon after the flyers went up, a Clovis administrator wrote that he would “gladly” take the flyers down, following complaints about their content. The administrator also wrote that approving the flyers in the first place may have been a “mistake,” and that Clovis instead should have censored them under a policy that states: “Posters with inappropriate or offense [sic] language or themes are not permitted and will not be approved.”
On Nov. 12, Clovis President Lori Bennett personally ordered the flyers removed. After doing so, she searched for a reason to justify the viewpoint discrimination, inventing a brand new rule requiring flyers to double as club announcements.
“If you need a reason, you can let them know that [we] agreed they aren’t club announcements,” Bennett wrote. Clovis does not have a policy on the books that requires flyers to be club announcements. But with this excuse in hand, Clovis employees told student workers to remove the flyers.
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