The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Tarrant County College – The lastest university to lose in court for violating student’s 1st Amendment rights. Students also win attorney’s fees.

Posted by iusbvision on March 17, 2010

This is yet another in a long string of lawsuits that go one way, the university loses and the taxpayers end up picking up the bill.

There needs to be reforms so that incompetent administrators who break the law, know they are breaking the law and simply do not care, need to be removed.

The student club, Students for Concealed Carry, was illegally forbidden from holding constitutionally protected protests on campus. The ruling also took the university speech code and “free speech zones” on campus and tossed them out the legal window as well, as has happened in every other case.

Be sure to join FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network.


FORT WORTH, Texas, March 16, 2010Late yesterday, in a striking victory for the First Amendment on campus, a federal district court in Texas ruled that a number of restrictions on students’ speech at Tarrant County College (TCC) are unconstitutional. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means found that TCC’s reliance on a policy prohibiting “disruptive activities” to restrict students Clayton Smith and John Schwertz from holding an “empty holster” protest violated the First Amendment. Smith and Schwertz had turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.

“Yesterday’s ruling is just the latest in an unbroken string of legal victories, dating back more than twenty years, over unconstitutional campus speech codes,” FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley said. “FIRE welcomes the district court’s decision as yet another clear confirmation that restrictions on protected speechespecially core political speechsimply will not stand in a court of law.”

In addition to ruling that students are entitled to protest by wearing empty holsters in classrooms, hallways, and public areas of campus, Judge Means ruled that TCC’s sweeping prohibition on “cosponsorship,” which forbade students and faculty from holding campus events in association with any “off-campus person or organization,” prevented TCC students “from speaking on campus on issues of any social importance” and was therefore “overly broad” and “unconstitutional on its face.” Smith’s and Schwertz’s protest was designed to coincide with the efforts of a national pro-concealed carry organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC).

FIRE has defeated free speech zones similar to TCC’s on campuses across the nation, including the University of North Carolina at GreensboroWest Virginia UniversityUniversity of Nevada at RenoCitrus College in California, and Texas Tech University. FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Projectan initiative working to dismantle unconstitutional speech codes on public university campuseshas won crucial victories at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, Texas Tech University, the State University of New York at Brockport, Citrus College in California, San Francisco State University and the California State University System, and now Tarrant County College.


It gets better. Via the Star-Telegram:

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