EXCLUSIVE: Laredo College stopped students from passing out political surveys, violating its own policy
Two individuals affiliated with The Leadership Institute were recently stopped from handing out political surveys at Laredo College, despite school policy appearing to permit such activity.
In a video posted to YouTube by Jacob Meyer on Mar. 21, a school employee can be seen telling Meyer and Regional Field Coordinator Christina Zavala to cease handing out surveys.
Two individuals affiliated with The Leadership Institute were recently stopped from handing out political surveys at Laredo College (LC) in Texas, despite official school policy appearing to permit such activity.
LC policy allows “members of the university community to assemble or distribute written material without a permit or other permission from the institution” in “common outdoor areas.” However, in a video posted to YouTube by Leadership Institute Field Representative Jacob Meyer on Mar. 21, a school employee can be seen telling Meyer and Regional Field Coordinator Christina Zavala to cease handing out surveys, telling them they need to obtain prior permission to do so.
The survey asked questions about students’ positions on Israel, abortion, and the Second Amendment.
Footage shows the LC employee approaching the group and telling them they “can’t be giving out flyers,” and that the students would have to “go to the Office of Student Life” to get the political surveys approved.
The students can then be seen being led by the employee over to the Office of Student Life.
A “political activities policy” document, obtained by Campus Reform, says, “Laredo College reserves the right and responsibility to reasonably regulate on-campus political activities. The college will exercise appropriate authority to prevent the disruption of the educational process, to prevent interference with the rights of other individuals, and to prevent placing persons or property in danger.”
In order to perform any political activity, such as handing out the surveys, the school requires students to receive approval from the Director of Student Life, Pedro Rivera.
However, while LC’s official Board Policy Manual does permit the university to enact reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on political speech, it nevertheless must “[a]llow members of the university community to assemble or distribute written material without a permit or other permission from the institution.”
Graham Piro, Program Office for The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), told Campus Reform, “Subjecting student speech to administrative approval raises concerns about potentials for prior restraint, which as the Supreme Court has held, constitute ‘the most serious and the least tolerable infringement’ on freedom of expression.”
The LI representatives were subsequently questioned by administrators about their activities, asserting again that the LI reps allegedly had no right to be taking politically-oriented surveys on campus.
Campus Reform has covered the rising rate at which censorship is taking place on college campuses across the United States, and summarized FIRE’s findings on the top 10 worst colleges for free speech in 2022.
All relevant parties have been contacted for comment by Campus Reform; this article will be updated as needed.