UPDATE: Public college to formally change speech code after free speech lawsuit

  • Modesto Junior College student was prohibited from passing out pocket Constitutions on Constitution Day.
  • Student brought a lawsuit with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
  • Yosemite Community College District will meet to address changes in the policy.

The board of Yosemite Community College District (YCCD) will meet on Wednesday to formally discuss changes to a controversial speech policy challenged in court by a student prevented from passing out pocket Constitutions on Constitution Day.

Robert Van Tuinen, a student enrolled at Modesto Junior College (MJC), part of the YCCD, gained national media attention after videotaping administrators who claimed he could only distribute pre-approved fliers in specific areas of campus as part of their speech zone policy.

As reported on Campus Reform, Van Tuinen subsequently filed a lawsuit with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), who came to an agreement with the school to end the policy. FIRE did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

The Modesto Bee reported the drafted policy no longer includes a reference to “free speech areas,” but contains the phrase “areas of the district designated as limited public forums.”

This meeting will include a first reading of the draft and a final vote will take place at a later date.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @TimPDion



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