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April 5, 2012 at 5:22 PM

ACLU questions proposed protest rules at community colleges

The American Civil Liberties Union raised questions Wednesday about the constitutionality of proposed new rules that would regulate protests on Seattle Community College campuses.

The Seattle Community College District held the second of two public hearings on the proposal Wednesday. It was preceded by a campus protest.

According to the ACLU, the regulations impose prior restraint on people who wish to engage in free speech by requiring non-students to register with campus police 24 hours in advance.

“Washington courts have been very clear this violates the Constitution,” said Doug Honig, spokesman for the ACLU.

The proposal would also prohibit protesters from carrying more than one sign, and restrict the number of hours that a protest can take place.  Both restrictions are “completely arbitrary,” Honig said.

The  rules also would restrict non-student access to a very small area of campus, and ban protesters from distributing materials that advocate unlawful conduct.

“Under the restrictions they have written, Martin Luther King himself would have been prevented from handing out flyers that promote a peaceful sit-in on campus,” Honig said.

The district’s Board of Trustees will take up the rules later in the year.

Comments | More in Education, General news | Topics: ACLU, Community colleges, protests

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