Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confusion on California College Campuses About the First Amendment

The following story posted on OneNewsNow raises eyebrows and curiosity about the quality of leadership at Yuba Community College District in Marysville, CA, and just how badly students may be misinformed by attending the school.

Court to decide whether campus evangelism a crime

The so-called "free-speech code" of Yuba Community College District is under federal court scrutiny.

California student, Ryan Dozier, decided to spend some time on campus sharing his faith and handing out tracts to fellow students, generating conversations about Christianity. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Heather Hacker comments on the situation.

"A campus police officer came over and told him that if he continued to do so without a permit that he would be possibly expelled or arrested, and so Ryan stopped immediately," she explains.

Hacker says Dozier thought the case was closed, but he was apparently mistaken. "Three weeks later he got a certified letter from the president of the college stating that his actions were the subject of a campus crime report," she adds. "Last time I checked, sharing your faith on a public college campus was not a crime."

But the letter informed him he could face expulsion if he shared his faith on campus again. ADF filed suit, and a federal judge has ordered the college to suspend enforcement of its highly restricted free speech policies until the lawsuit is resolved.

The President of Yuba Community College District is Mr. Paul V. Mendoza. Mr. Mendoza might ought to review what the United States Constitution says about freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For those who need a refresher, here’s the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Unless Yuba is not subject to the U.S. Constitution or the Bill of Rights, it’s pretty clear that Mr. Dozier has broken no legitimate law.

What part of the First Amendment do you not understand, Mr. Mendez?

And, what about the Federal Court? Can the judges there be confused on this issue?

It is California, after all.

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