A student at Pierce College in Los Angeles got in trouble for passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution outside of the small “free speech zone” designated on campus.
“When I attempted to hand out copies of the Constitution that day, my only intention was to get students thinking about our founding principles and to inspire discussion of liberty and free speech,” Kevin Shaw, 27, said. “I had no idea I would be called upon to defend those very ideals against Pierce’s unconstitutional campus policies.”
Like many colleges across the nation, Pierce has designated a small strip of concrete as a “free speech zone” and insists all political communications among students happen in roughly 600 square feet. Apparently that includes handing out the law of our land.
Fox News explains:
It was just before the general election in November 2016 when Shaw had attempted to distribute Spanish-language copies of the Constitution during a recruiting drive for his student group, a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty on the main quad. A Pierce administrator told him he could not distribute literature outside the designated zone. Shaw says he was also told that he would have to fill out a permit application to use the free speech zone and would be asked to leave campus if he refused to comply.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is now representing Shaw in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Community College District for violating students’ free speech. FIRE’s Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon stated, “Students like Kevin go to college to learn and grow in conversation with their peers, but a free speech quarantine like Pierce’s threatens to punish students who speak their minds in the wrong place. The law is clear: Public colleges like Pierce can’t force students into tiny slices of campus to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
A spokesman for the college district assured they are “behind every student’s right to free expression” — as long as it happens WAY over there. It’s weird how a public institution’s rules trumps national law.
Of course, there are those colleges who will take your pocket Constitution and shred it for you right in the administrative offices if you find it “triggering,” as James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas found out at Vasser College. Perhaps there's a bright side to every story.