Campus Tells Hawaii Students They Cannot Hand Out Copies of the Constitution; Students Sue — Greg Lukianoff

 

Less than four months after a student in California was told that he could not hand out copies of the Constitution—on Constitution Day (September 17), no less—two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo were told by a campus official that they could not hand out copies of the Constitution  to their fellow students at UH Hilo’s student organization fair in January.

When one of the students protested that they were acting within their rights, the official replied, “It’s not about your rights in this case, it’s about the University policy that you can’t approach people.”

One of the same students and a different companion were told a week later that political protests should be contained within the school’s “free speech zone,” which covers only 0.26% of campus, lies outside of where most student congregate (I’ve seen the zone in person), and occupies a muddy, sloping plain prone to flooding.

It is perhaps better described as a “censorship swamp.”

After the students commented on how little attention they would likely receive given the isolated nature of the “free speech zone,” another administrator told them that “people can’t really protest like that anymore,” and that “this isn’t really the 60s anymore.” 

Fortunately, the student plaintiffs, Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, know their rights. Yesterday, with the help of my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and with Robert Corn-Revere, Ronald London, and Lisa Zycherman of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, they filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that their public university’s behavior violated their basic First Amendment rights.

Campus speech zones apologists, what few there are, will argue that First Amendment law allows for public campuses to restrict speech as long as the policy is viewpoint neutral and it is limited to what are known as “reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.” It does not take a First Amendment expert, however, to know that declaring 99.7% of a public college campus not open to freedom of speech, and telling students that they cannot hand out copies of the Constitution to their fellow students, is anything but reasonable.

 

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hmm.  Seems like the authorities don’t want the little darlings attending the University to get badthink ideas.  They might get uppity.

    Maybe it is time for the students to take what is theirs with FIRE and BLOOD.  Or at least FIRE.

    • #1
  2. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Did we figure out what BLOOD stands for, yet?

    • #2
  3. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    I confess, I am drawing a blank on what “BLOOD” should stand for.

    BiLlOfOurrights…um…D?

    This calls for a specialist! :-)

    • #3
  4. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Beer Lords Of Our Democracy.

    • #4
  5. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    By the way, good job on filing the lawsuit!

    • #5
  6. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Albert Arthur:

    By the way, good job on filing the lawsuit!

     Thank you!

    • #6
  7. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Albert Arthur:

    By the way, good job on filing the lawsuit!

     You did it!

    • #7
  8. user_158368 Inactive
    user_158368
    @PaulErickson

    After the students commented on how little attention they would likely receive given the isolated nature of the “free speech zone,” another administrator told them that “people can’t really protest like that anymore,” and that “this isn’t really the 60s anymore.”

    This quote gave me a laugh.  When we stopped in Hilo a couple of years ago, I sensed a definite 1960s progressive vibe.  It is more like Piscataway, NJ than Honolulu shown in the accompanying photo.

    • #8
  9. A Beleaguered Conservative Member
    A Beleaguered Conservative
    @

    Any possibility that we could get a link to the lawsuit that you filed?  I would love to read the complaint.

    • #9
  10. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Good for them and good for you!  I’m curious, how many such suits have been filed nationwide?

    • #10
  11. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    A Beleaguered Conservative:

    Any possibility that we could get a link to the lawsuit that you filed? I would love to read the complaint.

    Actually, the complaint is posted in the very first line of the of the press release (which is the huge link in the first paragraph). 

    • #11
  12. A Beleaguered Conservative Member
    A Beleaguered Conservative
    @

    Greg Lukianoff:

    A Beleaguered Conservative:

    Any possibility that we could get a link to the lawsuit that you filed? I would love to read the complaint.

    Actually, the complaint is posted in the very first line of the of the press release (which is the huge link in the first paragraph).

     Thanks.  Just finished reading the complaint.   Excellent work!  Kudos to FIRE and to Davis Wright Tremaine. 

    • #12
  13. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Albert Arthur:

    Did we figure out what BLOOD stands for, yet?

     Building Liberty Over Official Despotism.

    Would that work?

    • #13

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