The Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, but don’t try to pass out copies of it at Modesto Junior College in California.
A student at the school who tried to pass out pocket-size pamphlets of the very document that memorializes our rights got shut down on Sept. 17 – a date also known as Constitution Day.
Campus authorities told 25-year-old Robert Van Tuinen, who caught the whole thing on videotape, he could only pass out the free documents at a tiny designated spot on campus, and only then if he scheduled it several days in advance.
“Watching the video is a combination of depressing and nauseating, to see what rigamarole students have to go through just to express themselves on campus,” said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has taken on campus speech codes around the nation.
Van Tuinen, who said he’d read up on the school’s regulations and expected to get chased away from outside the student center, went to FIRE with the video. The foundation penned an email letter to the school’s administration on Van Tuinen’s behalf early Thursday, but Shibley said there had been no response later in the day.