...On Constitution Day, of all days.
Here's the latest from FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
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.
When Van Tuinen tells the officer that he's trying to start an organization on campus called Young Americans for Liberty, the officer responds: "That's fine. But if you want to start an organization like that, you have to go through the rigmarole of rules & regulations that have already been set." Van Tuinen then is directed to the Student Center where he's told about the school's "time, place and manner free-speech area."
I feel sort of bad for the campus police officer and administration official in this case; their job is to defend and enforce the rules of the college, no matter how ridiculous those rules might be. The real here is larger than them, and even larger than Modesto Junior College: the assault on free speech at American colleges & universities across the country.
Student clubs on college campuses are no longer defined by shared beliefs or common interests. Instead, students are often required to register their group with the university in order to meet on campus. In many cases, some schools offer supplemental funding for active groups which further limits their ability to freely operate.
**This video contains the relevant portions of Van Tuinen's experience. See the three full, unedited videos taken by the students after the jump.