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DOJ: ‘College Campuses Should Not Be Mini Police States’
Townhall.com ^ | December 11, 2019 | Lindsey Marie

Posted on 12/11/2019 9:50:52 AM PST by Kaslin

The Department of Justice sided with college students reprimanded for promoting free speech by slamming Jones County Junior College’s “Orwellian,” “draconian,” and “unconstitutional” treatment of them in a Statement of Interest filed on Monday. The DOJ made explicitly clear that public colleges cannot “trample” on their students’ First Amendment rights.

In a news release from the DOJ announcing the Statement of Interest filing, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division clearly stated, “Repressive speech codes are the indecent hallmark of despotic, totalitarian regimes. They have absolutely no place in our country, and the First Amendment outlaws all tyrannical policies, practices, and acts that abridge the freedom of speech.”

The DOJ filed the Statement of Interest in a federal civil lawsuit in Mississippi, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 517. The federal code authorizes the Attorney General to send his officers “to any…district in the United States to attend to the interests of the United States in a suit pending in a court of the United States.” According to the filing, the DOJ intervened in the civil suit because the United States has a strong interest in “ensuring that the First Amendment freedoms to speak and assemble are recognized by public institutions of higher education.”

Initially filed in September by J. Michael Brown and libertarian student activist group Young Americans for Liberty, the lawsuit alleges JCJC’s Student Handbook, practices, and policies violate students’ First Amendment rights. More specifically, the suit details JCJC’s multiple attempts to censor Brown and YAL.

The first incident allegedly occurred when Brown and a YAL activist were speaking to students about free speech in February. While engaging with them, they allowed students to write messages of their choice on a YAL “free speech” beach ball.

A JCJC staff person approached the two and asked if they had obtained prior permission to engage in “expressive activity.” They had not. JCJC staff informed Brown that he wasn’t allowed on campus with the free speech ball until he filed the appropriate paperwork and received administrative approval.

Instead of letting Brown and the YAL activist go, JCJC staff called campus police. The campus police chief ordered them into his office where he reprimanded them for their “expressive behavior,” and allegedly threatened to arrest the YAL activist.

Less than two months later, Brown, his girlfriend, and another YAL activist engaged with other students about marijuana legalization and handed out pocket-sized versions of the United States Constitution. A JCJC official asked Brown if he was the same person who had previously been on campus with a beach ball. When Brown said yes, the official called campus police.

The officer allegedly told Brown, his girlfriend, and the YAL activist that their expressive activity was “illegal” and demanded their names, phone numbers, addresses, and student identification numbers. Shortly after that, the campus police chief arrived and once again allegedly threatened to arrest the activist accompanying Brown.

After being intimidated and distressed by JCJC staff and campus police, Brown stopped using his First Amendment rights on campus for fear of “disciplinary action, removal from campus, or arrest.” Subsequently, Brown and YAL filed suit against JCJC.

Less than two months later, Brown, his girlfriend, and another YAL activist engaged with other students about marijuana legalization and handed out pocket-sized versions of the United States Constitution. A JCJC official asked Brown if he was the same person who had previously been on campus with a beach ball. When Brown said yes, the official called campus police.

The officer allegedly told Brown, his girlfriend, and the YAL activist that their expressive activity was “illegal” and demanded their names, phone numbers, addresses, and student identification numbers. Shortly after that, the campus police chief arrived and once again allegedly threatened to arrest the activist accompanying Brown.

After being intimidated and distressed by JCJC staff and campus police, Brown stopped using his First Amendment rights on campus for fear of “disciplinary action, removal from campus, or arrest.” Subsequently, Brown and YAL filed suit against JCJC.

JCJC filed a Motion to Dismiss Brown’s lawsuit for lack of standing and appreciable damages. The DOJ stated that regardless of if the case proceeds, JCJC “has a freestanding obligation to comply with the First Amendment.”

The DOJ’s Statement of Interest concluded with a not-so-subtle piece of advice; “JCJC need not— and should not— wait for a court with jurisdiction to steamroll it into compliance. It should comply voluntarily with the First Amendment, and—and soon.”

YAL President Cliff Maloney praised the DOJ’s action by saying, “The Response from the Department of Justice and Education should be an encouraging sign for defenders of free speech – a sign that the American people’s patience with censorship on college campuses is running thin. The only permission slip anyone should need to speak on campus is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: collegesandunis; doj; freespeech; leftismoncampus; liberalfascism; speechcodes; trumpdoj
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1 posted on 12/11/2019 9:50:52 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

OMG #TRIGGERED!


2 posted on 12/11/2019 9:54:31 AM PST by IllumiNaughtyByNature (Elections have consequences. get over it, we won! ~ Barack Obama)
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To: Kaslin

Democrats hate free speech and that’s the next thing they’re set to eliminate after free elections.


3 posted on 12/11/2019 9:54:40 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Kaslin

Intellectually the Left always fails. Their ideas and beliefs cannot withstand scrutiny. One of many reasons they have attempted to destroy secondary and higher education


4 posted on 12/11/2019 10:05:18 AM PST by mo ("If you understand, no explanation is needed; if you don't understand, no explanation is possible")
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To: Kaslin

In a way, the colleges are doing us a favor. Because they are showing us what the United States would be like if the liberals took over everything.

Any non-PC speech would be more than just frowned upon. It would be classified as “hate speech”, punishable by criminal sanctions.

Nobody would get shot (yet). But step out of line just an inch, and you life would be ruined.


5 posted on 12/11/2019 10:05:38 AM PST by Leaning Right ( I have already previewed or do not wish to preview this composition.)
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To: Kaslin

Nice early Christmas present:

“After being intimidated and distressed by JCJC staff and campus police, Brown stopped using his First Amendment rights on campus for fear of “disciplinary action, removal from campus, or arrest.” Subsequently, Brown and YAL filed suit against JCJC.”

JCJC filed a Motion to Dismiss Brown’s lawsuit for lack of standing and appreciable damages. The DOJ stated that regardless of if the case proceeds, JCJC “has a freestanding obligation to comply with the First Amendment.”

The DOJ’s Statement of Interest concluded with a not-so-subtle piece of advice; “JCJC need not— and should not— wait for a court with jurisdiction to steamroll it into compliance. It should comply voluntarily with the First Amendment, and—and soon.”

“YAL President Cliff Maloney praised the DOJ’s action by saying, “The Response from the Department of Justice and Education should be an encouraging sign for defenders of free speech – a sign that the American people’s patience with censorship on college campuses is running thin. The only permission slip anyone should need to speak on campus is the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”


6 posted on 12/11/2019 10:08:34 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Lincoln: "The Founders did not make America racist or slaver. They inherited it, that way!")
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To: Kaslin
'expressive activity and behavior'

WTH?
7 posted on 12/11/2019 10:09:22 AM PST by Jamestown1630 ("A Republic, if you can keep it")
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To: Kaslin

Just getting the kiddies ready for life in the “fundamentally changed” America.


8 posted on 12/11/2019 10:10:24 AM PST by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrats' John Dean])
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To: Kaslin

Universities have evolved into leftist political bastions due to the non-stop flow of cheap money to them, and to students.

Cut off all Federal student loans.
Cut off all Federal grants and money to universities that raise tuition rates


9 posted on 12/11/2019 10:14:44 AM PST by PGR88
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To: Kaslin

Jews beware. Academia is becoming a breeding ground for anti-Israel activists.


10 posted on 12/11/2019 10:34:06 AM PST by Huskrrrr
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To: Kaslin

I’m OK with putting college presidents in jail for creating places where the US Constitution does not apply.


11 posted on 12/11/2019 10:34:23 AM PST by I want the USA back (If free speech is taken away, dumb and silent we are led, like sheep to the slaughter: G Washington)
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To: Kaslin

Two words: Hillsdale College


12 posted on 12/11/2019 10:37:27 AM PST by MeganC (There is nothing feminine about feminism.)
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To: Huskrrrr

“Jews beware. Academia is becoming a breeding ground for anti-Israel activists.”

Sadly, many of those anti-Israel activists are themselves Jewish.


13 posted on 12/11/2019 10:39:19 AM PST by MeganC (There is nothing feminine about feminism.)
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To: Kaslin
JCJC, I'm guessing, stands for Jones County Junior College.

Jones County Junior College is a junior college accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools located in Ellisville, Mississippi. JCJC serves its eight-county district consisting of Clarke, Covington, Greene, Jasper, Jones, Perry, Smith and Wayne counties.

In case others were wondering too. 8>)

14 posted on 12/11/2019 10:43:51 AM PST by Robert DeLong
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To: MeganC

Yes, amazing isn’t it.


15 posted on 12/11/2019 10:47:00 AM PST by Huskrrrr
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To: Kaslin

To all:

I can’t remember the college campus site or the speaker but I do remember a recent FOX video showing the crowd screaming “FREE SPEECH!” so loudly and continuously that the speaker just left. Anybody have a link?

Kind of ironic ...


16 posted on 12/11/2019 10:56:58 AM PST by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: Grampa Dave

Been wondering why the DOJ hasn’t gone to these colleges sooner with all the Anifta and other groups attacking pro-trump, pro-republican, pro-life students.


17 posted on 12/11/2019 11:18:38 AM PST by Engedi (ui)
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To: MeganC

In Michigan, where I live. Awesome College.


18 posted on 12/11/2019 11:20:10 AM PST by Engedi (ui)
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To: Kaslin

Well this is all very nice but its a junior college in Mississippi.

Let’s see the DoJ do this at Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley and Stanford.

I could make a much longer list.


19 posted on 12/11/2019 11:53:40 AM PST by malach (We live in interesting times.)
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To: malach
this is all very nice but its a junior college in Mississippi.

Let’s see the DoJ do this at Harvard, Columbia, Berkeley and Stanford.

There’s something to be said for starting small. Get a consent decree from Podunk U., which puts Harvard on notice as to what is coming down the pike. If Harvard wants to go amicus curiae, with the junior college in Mississippi, that is their choice.

20 posted on 12/11/2019 12:07:22 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Socialism is cynicism directed towards society and - correspondingly - naivete towards government.)
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