Modesto Junior College (MJC) in Modesto, Calif. recently told a student that he could not hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus without first getting permission to be in a "free speech area."
MJC student Robert Van Tuinen was confronted by an unidentified campus police officer on Tuesday (video below).
Van Tuinen asked the officer several times why it was illegal to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution on the public campus, which is paid for by taxpayers.
Van Tuinen and the campus police officer then walked into a campus administration building where the officer seemed to miss the painful irony that the U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech.
Van Tuinen told the officer, "It’s a public school on a public ground and the First Amendment says I have a right to free speech and free assembly."
However, that was a warning sign to which the officer replied: “The way that you are acting right now towards me shows me that you obviously came here to already cause a problem on campus you’re shaking, you’re upset, your facial features tell me otherwise, you’re trying to get me into an argument. I’m not here to have an argument.”
Van Tuinen then met with an unidentified school administrator who told him: “Anybody that’s going to be on campus [soliciting] they would need to come through my office and fill out an application and I would need to have a photo of your ID you can read these guidelines and procedures.”
On Wednesday, MJC spokeswoman Linda Hoile told Campus Reform in a statement:
People can distribute material in the areas generally available to students and the community as long as they don't disrupt the orderly operation of the college. In the case of the YouTube video, it does not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operation of the college. Therefore, we are looking into the matter.
The administration of the YCCD supports the peaceful distribution of the Constitution and other materials on campus, which is why our colleges support Constitution Day with activities each year.
However, that statement contradicts the campus police officer and the school administrator, who were both told numerous times by Van Tuinen that he was distributing the U.S. Constitution.
Source: Campus Reform