Occupiers to Board of Trustees: “Stop Infringing On Free Speech!”

By Ian Finkenbinder

On March 22, 2012, the New City Collegian reported that SCCC’s Board of Trustees has quietly scheduled a meeting in order to enact new provisions in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) that would prevent certain methods of expression from taking place on community college campuses, with the Board of Trustees seeking to do the following:

•    To define first amendment rights to “includes, but is not necessarily limited to, informational picketing, petition circulation, the distribution of informational leaflets or pamphlets, speech-making, demonstrations, rallies, appearances of speakers in outdoor areas, protests, meetings to display group feelings or sentiments, and/or other types of constitutionally protected assemblies to share information, perspective or viewpoints.”

•    Limitation of expression of these rights to the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

•    Limitation of expression of these rights to a span of 8 hours for college groups and 5 hours for non-college groups.

•    Limitation of people to carrying only one sign and limiting signs to no larger that 3’ x 5’ (this would preclude banners).

•    Prescription of locations at which expressions of first amendment rights may occur.

•    Creation of obstacles that may dissuade groups from expressing first amendment rights at Seattle Community College campuses.

Many believe that this action is being taken in the aftermath of the controversial occupation of Seattle Central’s campus by Occupy Seattle, which was asked to leave campus this winter after emergency rules were passed prohibiting camping on SCCC grounds. The group of activists complied with the rule and cleaned the space that they had used before departing.

Occupy Seattle has caught wind of the proposed provisions and has responded, sending out a press release promising a presence at the March 27th meeting:

During the school break, it has quietly been announced that the Board of Trustees will be meeting on Tuesday, March 27th 2012 in order to pass new rules regarding protests that take place on-campus. This meeting, contrary to the rules laid out by the Chancellor’s office requiring notification of a local newspaper, has not been widely disseminated and is taking place when the student body is out of school. This presumably is an attempt to prevent student outcry regarding the rules.

Occupy Seattle opposes the limitation of free speech and the right to assembly, and recognizes that these rules negatively affect the student body of Seattle Central Community College, a group of bright individuals with a tradition for participation in activism. We urge you to join us at the Board of Trustees meeting at the following address on Tuesday, 3PM at 1500 Harvard Ave.

A Facebook event has been started:

https://www.facebook.com/events/342214869158080/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

More updates as they come.

Comments:

AnonOccupier says:

No one should be able to define what free speech is, except for the Supreme Court. If they pass this I think they should be taken to court for infringing on people’s first amendment rights!

Anon2 says:

Imagine a yardsign:

Free Speech
at
SCCC

And then take big bites out of it (cut aways). Now put it on your lawn.

KM says:

I like your thinking.

That being said, I’m one of those people that likes to hear the rational behind decisions such as these. In general, the sign and banner point annoys me (a banner or a sign can’t distract from inside the class room), but I do understand the part about possibly limiting where protests can take place (for example, a protest from the front lawn piling into the classrooms, though unlikely, would be way too distracting for college students) and so on.

In general, I don’t like what they’re proposing, but I would like to hear what they’re interested in passing and their rational behind it.

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