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Another College Bans Posters - Its President Is Sued

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California College Follows George Washington University in Censorship

WASHINGTON - eTradeWire -- Another institution of higher education - this time Clovis Community College [CCC] in California - has banned students from putting up club posters which offended a few students and, as a result, its president and several other administrators have been sued in federal court, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Yet when the president of George Washington University [GWU] recently likewise banned posters which made some students "uncomfortable," and ordered an investigation of the students who had put them up, the faculty refused a request to take any official action to object, and to possibly clarify the resulting university policy which the president announced: that posters can be removed, and those who posted them can be investigated, if he believes them to be "racist' (or presumably "sexist," "homophobic," etc.) and do not constitute legitimate "political statements."

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The Supreme Court and lower federal courts have repeatedly held that even the most blatantly racist statements are protected as free speech, regardless of whether they constitute so-called "political statements."

At CCC conservative student members of Young Americans for Freedom originally obtained permission to put up posters advocating for freedom by listing the death tolls of communist regimes.

However, when the administration received complaints about the content, it claimed that it was a mistake to grant the initial permission. It initially cited, in support, a nonexistent college policy.

Then the president cited a CCC policy that "Posters with inappropriate or offense [sic] language or themes are not permitted and will not be approved."

Subsequently, the students were prevented from putting up posters which supported the pro-life anti-abortion position, including those stating that: "Life Begins At Conception," and "Women's Rights Start in the Womb."

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Since CCC's stated policy is too vague to be constitutional, and especially because it allegedly was not employed against many other advocacy posters, the administrators have been sued for civil rights violations.  The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, monetary damages, punitive damages, and an award of attorneys' fees.

At GWU, the president's explanation of the only reason he subsequently discontinued the investigation of the students (but apparently did not re-post the posters) - is "Upon full understanding, I do not view these posters as racist; they are political statements,"

Professor Banzhaf notes that this explanation and policy is contrary to GWU's published guarantees of free speech and academic freedom, and that a recent court decision held that GWU is legally bound by its published policies.

http://banzhaf.net/   jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com   @profbanzhaf

Professor John Banzhaf

Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Education

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