‘Ask God What Your Grade Is’ District Vows to Keep Fighting for Its Unconstitutional Speech Code

By on September 24, 2009

The Alliance Defense Fund’s David Hacker reports today on the Los Angeles Community College District’s (LACCD’s) weird new argument as it seeks to keep appealing on behalf of its unconstitutional speech code. Yes, despite almost being laughed out of court last week, and despite nationwide public shame over a professor’s statement to a religious student to "Ask God what your grade is," LACCD is ready to go another round.

Hacker writes that according to the Student Press Law Center,

Kevin Jeter, in-house counsel for the LACCD, said the district is pursuing the case because the wording in its speech code was based on California law. The debate is about the constitutionality of the speech code suggested by the state legislature, he said.

"It has to do with whether or not the district was right in following the law," Jeter said. "The question is; ‘can you be sued for doing what the law tells you to do?’ I think the fundamental answer is no … even if the law is wrong."

The problem with this argument, Hacker notes, is that "California law does not require the District to use a particular definition of harassment in community college speech codes. In fact, immediately after the preliminary injunction hearing, the District filed papers with the Court notifying it of a ‘new’ harassment policy that had allegedly been in place for a year. This policy does not use the harassment language purportedly required by California law."

Amazingly, according to Hacker, LACCD "filed a notice with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, indicating that it intends to pursue an appeal of the preliminary injunction rulingand defend policy language it believes is mandatory under California law, but which its allegedly ‘new’ policy does not contain."

Good luck, LACCD!