California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly): Use of Disruption Claim to Suppress Free Speech

Category: Free Speech
Schools: California Polytechnic State University

In a major victory for free speech on campus, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) has abandoned its attempt to punish a student for posting a flier on a public bulletin board. The flier merely announced a campus speech, but some students at the campus Multicultural Center found the flier "offensive." Cal Poly has agreed to expunge student Steve Hinkle’s disciplinary record relating to the incident, to cease interfering with his right to post fliers, and to pay significant attorney’s fees. The settlement of the lawsuit ends a victorious year-long campaign organized by FIRE and the Center for Individual Rights to restore fundamental rights and liberties to this public university.

  • Student in San Luis Obispo ‘Tribune’ Hopeful for Cal Poly’s Future with Next President

    August 10, 2010

    The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, California, recently published a guest column by Brendan Pringle, a California Polytechnic State University junior and columnist for the Mustang Daily student newspaper. The article remarks on the retirement of long-serving Cal Poly president Warren Baker and looks forward to Cal Poly’s future. Baker’s record on free speech is marred by his mishandling of a 2002 incident in which student Steve Hinkle was punished for posting a flier on a public bulletin board to advertise a campus speaker. FIRE defended Hinkle, who won a settlement from Cal Poly. Pringle recounts the Hinkle case and its […]

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  • Major Victory for Free Speech at Cal Poly

    May 6, 2004

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA—In a major victory for liberty and equal rights on campus, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) has settled a free speech lawsuit. The case involved Cal Poly student Steve Hinkle, who was punished for posting a flier on a public bulletin board announcing a College Republicans-sponsored speech by a black social critic. Some students at the campus Multicultural Center found the flier “offensive.” Cal Poly has agreed to expunge Hinkle’s disciplinary record relating to the incident, to permit him to post fliers, and to pay significant attorney’s fees. The settlement of the lawsuit ends a year-long […]

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