Oh, lovely academia and its commitment to free expression:
In a stunning illustration of the attitude taken towards free speech by too many colleges across the United States, Modesto Junior College in California told a student that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on September 17, 2013—Constitution Day. Captured on video, college police and administrators demanded that Robert Van Tuinen stop passing out Constitution pamphlets and told him that he would only be allowed to pass them out in the college’s tiny free speech zone, and only after scheduling it several days or weeks ahead of time. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to Modesto, demanding that the college rescind this policy immediately.
The FIRE, in case you don’t know, are a completely awesome organization devoted to fighting for academic and personal freedom for everyone. Every year, some idiot liberal expresses shock when FIRE fights for the rights of a liberal organization. I am not shocked: this is what FIRE does. They don’t care what your political views are; they care about freedom.
The free speech zones that decorate about 15% of our college campuses are a disgrace. Colleges should be giving their students more freedom of expression than the government minimum, not less. And it should apply to everyone: from Occupy Idiots to Tea Partiers (yes, there are some on campuses) to gay rights activists to abortion activists. Colleges and universities like to claim that they aren’t exercising prior restraint; they’re acting like an employer who won’t let you engage in political activity at work. But most of them are, in fact, state institutions and almost all of them get massive portions of their budgets from state and federal agencies. When they are completely privately funded, then they can act like private agencies.
I’ve talked about all this before but I had to post this because … this really takes the cake. Telling a kid handing out Constitution pamphlets to get lost on Constitution Day? Holy crap, that’s bad.