‘Discriminatory And Indefensible’: Appeals Court Sides With Conservative Students In College Poster Policy Case

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Brandon Poulter Contributor
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Clovis Community College’s appeal Thursday to overturn a preliminary injunction against its poster policy, saying the policy was “unconstitutionally vague” and “too broad” in relation to the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Several conservative students acquired permission to post political posters on bulletin boards inside campus buildings in November of 2021 at Clovis Community College, which were taken down after complaints, with the students alleging that the action violated their rights, according to a lawsuit. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the conservative student’s right to free speech, saying that the college’s school flyer policy, which allowed for the removal of flyers deemed “offensive,” was unconstitutional, according to the memorandum. (RELATED:High School Sued After Suspending Student For Posting Memes About Principal)

The conservative students’ flyers were taken down in November 2021 by administrators under the college’s flyer policy which prohibits flyers “with inappropriate or offense [sic] language or themes,” according to the lawsuit. Administrators then preemptively did not allow the students to hang posters related to pro-life positions and forced the students to use a so-called “Free-speech kiosk” which is an outdoors board on campus far away from campus buildings and walkways.

“The district court did not err in determining that there was likely a substantial amount of protected speech that would be potentially chilled by the Flyer Policy,” the lawsuit reads.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision ensures that Clovis students’ rights will continue to be protected. Clovis Community College tried again to justify its censorship, but the panel’s decision shows what we’ve argued all along: Clovis’ flyer policy is discriminatory and indefensible in a court of law,” Daniel Ortner, lawyer for FIRE representing the conservative students told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Today’s opinion issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed a singular issue: a posting procedure that had been changed months ago by Clovis Community College (CCC). The ruling specifically addressed one sentence from CCC’s prior procedure. Concerns about that policy were resolved when CCC changed the procedure. The campus continues to respect the Free Speech rights of all students. Nothing in the opinion addresses any of the allegations against the District employees,” a spokesperson for Clovis Community College told the DCNF.

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