Pierce College student’s free-speech lawsuit can proceed, judge rules

Jan 21, 2018 by

WOODLAND HILLS — A Pierce College student who drew national attention with his claim that a campus “free speech zone” policy infringes on his First Amendment rights may proceed with his lawsuit, a U.S. District Court judge said this week.

Rejecting a motion by Pierce and the Los Angeles Community College District to dismiss the suit, Judge Otis D. Wright II of the United States District Court for the Central District of California cited previous court decisions upholding people’s right to express their opinions in public places and the role of colleges in encouraging the exchange of ideas.

The district court did grant one motion from the defense, dismissing student Kevin Shaw’s claim for monetary damages against college administrators based on public officials’ immunity from liability for decisions made in their official roles.

But overall, the order issued Monday was an incremental victory for Shaw and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), whose attorneys helped to bring the lawsuit.

It also should gladden the U.S. Department of Justice, which has supported the suit.

The suit challenges a Pierce College policy that prevented Shaw from distributing Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution and recruit members for the a chapter of the libertarian-conservative group Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) outside the 616-square-foot “free speech zone” on the 426-acre campus in the San Fernando Valley community of Woodland Hills.

The lawsuit now moves to the discovery phase. It’s not known when it will go back to court.

Source: Pierce College student’s free-speech lawsuit can proceed, judge rules – Daily News

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