Learn about the legal cases brought against community colleges, who allegedly have been violating students' rights to freedom of speech.
Although the United States Constitution asserts that all Americans have the freedom of speech, a handful of community college campuses may be silencing some voices. During classroom debates that focus on controversial topics, ranging from gay marriage to sexism in the workforce, tensions arise – but does this give community colleges the right to silence certain voices?
Legal Actions Against Limited Speech in Community Colleges
While there have been several cases brought against community colleges, Los Angeles Community College
(LACC), located in California, has garnered the most controversial attention. As the Los Angeles Times
reports, LACC student Jonathan Lopez filed a lawsuit against the college after his professor allegedly did not allow Lopez to complete his prepared speech on Proposition 8. According to court documents, Lopez asserts that the professor asked him to shorten his presentation due to the professor's own beliefs regarding gay marriage. As the LA Times specifically recounts, “The student said that the professor cut his presentation short, called him a 'fascist bastard' and told him to 'ask God' for his grade.”
Despite the shocking words, Lopez's professor was technically abiding to the sexual harassment policy set forth by LACC. Lopez's professor believed that the student's anti-gay marriage presentation was sexually offensive, and subsequently, by banning Lopez from giving the speech, the professor was indeed adhering to the subjective nature of the sexual harassment school policy.
Due to the offensive remarks allegedly made by Lopez's professor, Lopez filed a suit to enact a ban on the enforcement of LACC's