Constitution Day was established to recognize the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and is observed on September 17, the day the Constitutional Convention signed the document in 1787 in Philadelphia.
Handing out pocket-size copies of the Constitution is a natural action on this day of observance, but don’t tell that to officials at Modesto Junior College in California.
A student at the school who tried to pass out copies of the document that guarantees our basic rights as citizens got shut down Tuesday, the day we celebrate that very document.
Campus authorities at Modesta told student Robert Van Tuinen he could only hand out the Constitution at a tiny designated “cement area” on campus, and only then if he scheduled it several days in advance, as reported by Fox News.
Tuinen captured the whole incident on videotape:
A spokeswoman for the school told Fox News that students are permitted to pass out materials in areas on campus that are generally available to the public, as long as they do not disrupt the orderly operations of the college.
“In the case of the YouTube video, it does not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operations of the college and therefore we are looking into the incident,” Modesto Junior College Marketing and Public Relations officer Linda Hoile said.
Tuinen went to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education with the video – the foundation has taken on campus speech codes around the nation, Fox News noted.
“Watching the video is a combination of depressing and nauseating, to see what rigamarole students have to go through just to express themselves on campus,” said Robert Shibley, the foundation’s senior vice president.
“One of the revealing things about this particular case is what students have to go through just to express themselves on campus,” Shibley added.