Free Speech Battle Over Protests Looming at Seattle Colleges

| April 12, 2012 | 0 Comments
Mark Taylor-Canfield

Mark Taylor-Canfield is a Seattle musician, activist and writer.

Entire Article at Huffingtonpost.com

A major battle over free speech is being waged on local college campuses in Seattle. The Seattle Community College District Board of Trustees wants to revise the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) for Seattle colleges. The district is proposing new rules that would regulate protests on all three of the city’s state funded community college campuses.

Organizations opposed to the board’s proposals include the ACLU, the Seattle chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, student councils at all three of the district’s colleges, and Occupy Seattle.

About a hundred Occupy Seattle participants set up camp at Seattle Central Community College last fall after being pushed out of Westlake Park by police. SCCC president Paul Kilpatrick and the school administration went to court to evict the demonstrators from the campus, and on December 10, 2011, the occupiers were forced to leave. A Thurston County Superior Court judge has allowed the college to impose new rules which prohibit camping on the campus, on an “emergency” basis.

Prior to this ruling, there had been no rules regulating encampments on state college campuses in the state of Washington.

Among other proposals, the new set of rules would:
-restrict the size of protest signs to a maximum of 3 feet by 5 feet
-impose a limit of one sign per person.
-place restrictions on where protests can take place and how long they can last. Student groups would be forced to end their demonstrations after eight hours, whereas off-campus organizations like Occupy Seattle would only be allowed to rally for five hours at a time.
-prohibit protests outside of designated “free speech zones” on campus
-require non-student groups to notify the college 24 hours in advance of demonstrations.

Entire Article at Huffingtonpost.com

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Category: aclu, Free Speech, Freedom of the Press

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