Free Speech Smack-Down Victory: California College Student Teaches School $50,000 Lesson on ConstitutionPosted: February 25, 2014
“What are the rules? Why are the rules tied to my free speech?”
— Student Robert Van Tuinen
“… if you’re going to start an organization like that you have to go through the rigamarole.”
— Campus Police Officer
It’s impossible to watch this video without getting mad. It’s a priceless document, capturing the most offensive and absurd violation of free speech perhaps ever recorded on the campus of a public University. The bureaucratic run-around given to this student by a Campus Law Enforcement Official, and an unidentified University official, is spectacularly, breathtakingly stupid. It’s heartbreaking to listen to their justifications, false objections, and rationalizations. More common than you might think. Blatantly illegal. Is this America? Welcome to modern Academia. Watch the whole thing:
Do these public servants realize they’re exposing the University to a lawsuit? This footage could be preserved as a training video for University staff members. Explicitly demonstrating how to violate a student’s constitutional rights. They couldn’t have performed a more perfectly-worded constitutional rights violation if they had a script written for them by a KGB public relations expert. Example, telling the student that there’s a ‘designated place..”
“…in front of the student center, in that little cement area,” where free expression is allowed…”
— University official
Here’s the legal victory story from Fox News:
A California college student who was blocked last year from handing out copies of the Constitution gave his school a lesson in civics and the law, winning a $50,000 settlement and an agreement to revise its speech codes.
Robert Van Tuinen, 26, settled with Modesto Junior College just five months after his run-in with school officials on Sept. 17 – National Constitution Day. Van Tuinen said he’s more excited about getting the school to revise its speech codes, which previously confined the First Amendment to a small area students had to sign up to use.
“They were maintaining an unconstitutional speech code, and now any of my fellow students can go out and exercise their right to free speech,” Van Tuinen, an Army veteran who grew up in Modesto and now studies photography, told FoxNews.com.
Back in September, FoxNews.com aired the video Van Tuinen took of his confrontation with school officials.
In the video, Van Tuinen is confronted by an unidentified campus police officer within minutes of passing out the pamphlets. When he protests, he is told “there are rules.”
“But do you know what this is?” he asks. “What are the rules? Why are the rules tied to my free speech?”
Van Tuinen explains that he wants to start an organization called Young Americans for Liberty.
“That’s fine, but if you’re going to start an organization like that you have to go through the rigamarole,” the police officer tells him.
“It was a tense situation,” Van Tuinen told FoxNews.com. “To be told I can’t do something as basic as handing out the Constitution was frustrating.”
Eventually, the police officer escorts Van Tuinen into an administrative office, where an unidentified woman shows him a binder with rules she says govern free speech on campus. She explains that there is a designated place “in front of the student center, in that little cement area,” where free expression is allowed, but then notes that two people are already using it.
The episode caught the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which, together with a Washington law firm, took his case to federal court in the Eastern District of California. But by then, school officials had already started backpedaling….