Published On: Sat, Oct 12th, 2013

Army vet, college student Robert Van Tuinen files lawsuit: school stopped him from handing out copies of Constitution

A California student who was ordered by college administrators to stop handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day—filed suit October 10 in federal court. (Emphasis added, BBJ – The Dispatch)

Photo of the US Constitution taken in the rotunda of the National Archives photo Mr. T in DC via Flickr

Photo of the US Constitution taken in the rotunda of the National Archives photo Mr. T in DC via Flickr

Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen and Modesto Junior College (MJC) student has filed a lawsuit against Yosemite Community College District and MJC administrators for violating his First Amendment rights.

“Last month, Robert Van Tuinen caught on camera administrators who were so unfamiliar with the basic principles of free speech that they prevented him from passing out the Constitution to his fellow students on Constitution Day,” said Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) President Greg Lukianoff.

“Even in the face of national shock and outrage, the college has failed to reform its absurd ‘free speech zone.’ Now it will have to defend that policy in federal court.”

A campus police officer informed him that he could not pass out any materials without first registering with the student development office. After unsuccessfully attempting to convince the officer that this would violate his right to free speech, Van Tuinen went into the student center at the officer’s request.

Van Tuinen then spoke with MJC administrator Christine Serrano, who told him that he could only pass out literature inside the “free speech area,” which she informed him was “in front of the student center, in that little cement area.”

FIRE details more of the incident here

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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