Students Sue University of Hawaii to Hand Out U.S. Constitution on Campus
Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, have filed a lawsuit against the college because school officials told them that they couldn't hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution to other students on campus.
Burch and Vizzone say they were told to go to the school's college's tiny “free speech zone” on the edge of campus.
The University of Hawaii handbook reportedly says that student groups may not directly approach people to solicit them in public.
"So far this academic year, students have twice been prohibited from distributing the Constitution on a public campus, less than four months apart," said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), notes Fox News. "That is absolutely unacceptable.”
FIRE says the "free speech zone" is less than one percent of the college campus, is muddy and often floods.
According to Reuters, the students' lawsuit also claims the school policy "unconstitutionally restricts access to open areas on campus by requiring students to seek permission to speak at least seven business days in advance."
“The First Amendment is not optional at public colleges, it’s the law," added Lukianoff. "Enforcing restrictive ‘free speech zone’ policies that prevent students from passing out copies of the Constitution is impossible to justify."