The Hard Truth

Journal of Political News & Constitutionalism

Free Speech Under Attack; Permitted 2 Hours Per Week

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Posted: January 27, 2009
10:22 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

 

 

A college’s ban on free speech – except for two selected hours per week – has been eliminated in a settlement with the Alliance Defense Fund, which took up the cause on behalf of a student threatened with arrest and expulsion for sharing the story of Jesus.

“Christian students shouldn’t have to face jail and expulsion for expressing their beliefs on a public college campus,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Heather Gebelin Hacker.

“We are pleased that Yuba College officials have finally agreed to recognize that its campus policies cannot strip away the free speech rights of students with religious viewpoints,” she said in a statement released yesterday.

As WND reported, a court told Yuba Community College officials to halt their enforcement of rules banning a student’s Christian testimony while the case was being adjudicated.

The dispute arose when student Ryan Dozier brought a lawsuit after he was cited for speaking on the California campus without a permit. He was warned that a second offense could result in his expulsion.

The ADF lawsuit challenged the school’s policies that limited student free speech activities to just two hours per week and required a permit to be obtained two weeks in advance.

It was Feb. 27 of last year when Dozier arrived on campus in Marysville, north of Sacramento, to go to class and share a Christian message with fellow students.

The ADF said Dozier “was approached by a campus police officer, who told him he needed a permit for such activity and that he would be arrested and face expulsion if he continued. The college allows ‘free speech’ only on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., with permission required two weeks in advance.”

A few weeks later, Dozier received a certified letter from the school’s chief officer, Paul Mendoza, with a copy forwarded to the chief of police.

“I will, at this point, issue you a written warning to not violate the ‘Student Code of Conduct’ or any rule or college policy pertaining to student conduct, time, place, and manner or other requirements of the college,” the letter said. “Should you violate my directive, you will face further discipline up to and including expulsion from the college. Do not let this happen!

“I trust you will adhere to my directive,” Mendoza wrote.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of such directives.

“A student peacefully exercising his First Amendment right to speak on campus is committing no crime,” Hacker explained. “Yuba College is the one running afoul of the law by unlawfully censoring Christian student speech on campus.”

The ADF noted Dozier’s case was on the “Academia’s Top 10 Abuses of 2008” list published by Young America’s Foundation.

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Written by bkl1

January 28, 2009 at 9:50 am

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