A police officer at Modesto Junior College in California told a patriotic libertarian student that it was against college rules for him to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus.
Ironically, this flagrant violation of the student’s Constitutional rights took place on September 17th: Constitution Day.
The exchange between student Robert Van Tuinen and a campus police officer was captured on video. Tuinen told the officer that he wished to start a Young Americans for Liberty chapter on campus, and hoped that passing out copies of the Constitution would generate interest in that. The officer, however, maintained that Van Tuinen was not allowed to distribute flyers without college authorization.
“Anytime anything is being passed out it has to be… you have to go through the Student Development office,” said the officer.
The irony of being told to stop distributing copies of the Constitution was not lost on Van Tuinen.
“Do you know what this is?” he responded. “Why are their rules tied to my free speech?”
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of people to exercise free speech and peaceably assemble in public places.
Nevertheless, the officer brought Van Tuinen to the Student Development office, where administrator Christine Serrano told him that he could only hand out flyers while inside a “free speech zone” on campus.