California Polytechnic State University-Pomona is now requiring students who engage in free speech activities on campus to apply for a permit issued weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The public university recently required student Nicolas Tomas, who was handing out flyers, to not only get a “free speech permit” but to also seek approval from school officials over the content of his hand-outs and to restrict his activity to a campus “free-speech zone.”
“Cal Poly Pomona’s campus policies impose a web of restrictions before students can distribute literature on campus: They must check in with the Office of Student Life, allow the school to copy their IDs, and wear badges signed by an administrator,” reported the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, who is helping Tomas sue the school. “Even then, would-be speakers are relegated to the so-called ‘free speech zone.’ Badges can only be issued from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, although the Office of Student Life pledges to ‘work with’ any student who wishes to engage in expressive activity on evenings or weekends.”
“Additionally, students must register in advance for outdoor events, and the Office of Student Life must approve all flyers and posters.”
As draconian as this sounds, it’s becoming quite the norm in America.
Last fall, officials at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, refused to allow libertarian students to hand out flyers poking fun at U.S. presidents because the campus “forbids” mocking.
The students responded with a lawsuit.
“Campus officials denied the flyers on the grounds that they violated school policy, which does not allow students to disparage others, according to the lawsuit,” reported Andrew Desiderio of the College Fix. “But the students, members of Young Americans for Liberty, allege their free speech rights have been infringed, and a leader of the group said in an interview administrators are ‘silencing and marginalizing’ them.”
Similarly, earlier this month a judge in Xenia, Ohio declared “there will be no mentioning of the Constitution” during a pre-trial hearing for a journalist who was cited for protesting against an anti-panhandling ordinance.
The judge said this while laughing at the journalist, Virgil Vaduva, who was arguing that his protest on a public sidewalk constituted free speech.
The prosecutor in the case also claimed that mentioning the Constitution during the trial would “confuse the jury,” despite the fact it’s the supreme law of the land.