Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Speaking Truth to Power at Modesto Junior College ^ | October 20, 2013 | Debra J. Saunders

Posted on 10/20/2013 5:50:02 AM PDT by Kaslin

On Sept. 17, Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen decided to celebrate U.S. Constitution Day by handing out copies of the Constitution at Modesto Junior College, where he is a student. If he were at the University of California, Berkeley or another politically correct campus, some liberal students probably would have picked an argument with him and maybe even would have accused him of hate speech.

But as this was Modesto Junior College, Van Tuinen didn't attract a lot of notice. Until, that is, a security guard told Van Tuinen that he couldn't hand out the Constitution. Or "The Communist Manifesto," for that matter. On an edited video, Van Tuinen captured the guard explaining that "passing out anything whatsoever, you have to have permission through the student development office."

An administrative aide at that office explained the school's policies for a "time-place-and-manner free speech area." Students have to sign up in a binder to use a small designated space, and because two students already were protesting, Van Tuinen would have to wait his turn to speak freely and pass out literature.

When Van Tuinen told her he just wanted to pass out copies of the Constitution, she asked, "Um, why?"

Van Tuinen was appalled. When he served in Kuwait, he learned that the military doesn't put a high premium on free speech. Soldiers don't have the same rights as students, and the brass had little interest in his pontificating on the Framers' intent. "That's when I figured out the service wasn't the best place for me," he confided. But who knew that college life would be equally casual about stifling his self-expression?

Yes, Virginia, there is a California college campus where protest is not a major.

Let me confess. In this job, I've observed campus protest at its best, that is to say, worst -- Berkeley students throwing incendiary objects at the chancellor's home, tree-sitters camped in a campus grove for 20 interminable months and UC Davis paying a $1 million settlement to pepper-sprayed students. I can't help it; I find Van Tuinen's story cute as a button.

But it's not. It's not because campus personnel told a student he cannot give out copies of the U.S. Constitution. In a statement, college President Jill Stearns asserted, "There is absolutely no requirement that a student register weeks in advance and hand out his literature only in a small marked area." But a security guard and staff binder suggest otherwise.

The very fact that a campus has a two-person free speech zone troubles Robert Shibley, senior vice president for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has aided Van Tuinen in the free speech lawsuit he filed against the college.

"We're seeing a lack of a sense of proportion," quoth Shibley, "and frankly a fundamental fear of free speech that is very disturbing to see in higher education."

At community colleges, Shibley added, many students have to balance an academic workload and jobs; they don't have time to occupy the quad or save the trees. That makes Van Tuinen unique.

And it makes the Modesto Junior College policy all that much harder to understand. It's 2013; college staff members should understand the sanctity of free speech. Instead, they only saw procedures set out in overly nuanced language that was burped out of committee and based on bland advice from an academic league. Oddly, it seems the policy's goal was to avoid controversy, not accommodate the exchange of ideas.

Amazingly, college administrators still haven't figured out that they cannot win this case because their policies step on First Amendment rights. And yes, they are running a college.

Van Tuinen told me he found out about the free speech zone about a week before U.S. Constitution Day. He said he had hoped he would be able to distribute copies of the Constitution, provided by The Heritage Foundation, without interference but brought along a camera just in case.

You could say that Van Tuinen was trolling for trouble. But if handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution without intruding on the liberty of others attracts school security, this country is in trouble.

As the woman in student development succinctly put it: Um, why?

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: California

1 posted on 10/20/2013 5:50:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
I've come to dispise that saying ever since Cynthia McKinney and other libs began to throw it around. It makes zero sense.
2 posted on 10/20/2013 5:55:32 AM PDT by ealgeone (obama, border)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ealgeone
I have no idea what it's supposed to mean.
3 posted on 10/20/2013 6:05:15 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks; ealgeone

—Nixon had a pithy paragraph in one of his books about slogans that fit a t-shirt but really make little sense—”make love, not war”, IIRC, was used as an example-—

4 posted on 10/20/2013 6:14:58 AM PDT by rellimpank (--don't believe anything the media or government says about firearms or explosives--)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin


Because its the foundation of this country and our laws, yet this so called “institution of higher learning” doesn’t teach it or examine it, except by the practice of violating it’s every principal and precept.

5 posted on 10/20/2013 6:45:27 AM PDT by G Larry (Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Psalms 109:8)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Good for him and may he continue to “spread the word” to the brainwashed masses who have been subjected to government schools that teach the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” written by old slaveholders — or it should be discarded as outdated in this “new” day and age.

The “man in the street” interviews are the ones that crack me up (funny and SAD) when the interviewer asks young people where the phrase: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” comes from and 90% of them say “The United States Constitution.”

6 posted on 10/20/2013 7:34:25 AM PDT by Bon of Babble (Don't want to brag...but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Instead of northern California seceding, why don't don't we just fence off the liberal parts of the state, complete with a no-man's-land of Machine gun towers, minefields, and mean, German-speaking German shepherd dogs.

We would have Disneyland, Biola University, Knott's Berry Farm, and the Reagan Presidential Library.

They'd have Mann's Chinese, the porn industry, Haight-Ashbury, Barbra Streisand, the Los Angeles municipal sewage system and the washing machine that does Susan Sarandon's dirty laundry.
7 posted on 10/20/2013 8:25:04 AM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
He can't pass out copies of the Constitution, but the college will allow ads posted everywhere looking to pay young women thousands of dollars to fork over the eggs tucked inside their ovaries.

It is a world gone mad.

8 posted on 10/20/2013 9:23:45 AM PDT by Slyfox (Satan's goal is to rub out the image of God he sees in the face of every human.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson