Lone Star College: Student Group Threatened with Probation and Derecognition for Posting Flyer

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Lone Star College-Tomball

The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) were among a variety of student organizations distributing flyers at Lone Star College – Tomball during an event for student groups to recruit new members. YCT’s flyer included a satirical list of “Top Ten Gun Safety Tips” including, “If your gun misfires, never look down the barrel to inspect it.” Program Manager for Student Activities Shannon Marino reportedly told the YCT Chairman that the flyer was inappropriate and confiscated the flyers. Comer appealed to Dean of Student Development E. Edward Albracht, but Albracht also said the flyer was inappropriate and invoked the prior year’s shootings at Virginia Tech. Marino informed Comer that the school’s legal department would be reviewing YCT’s flyers and that afterward, the school might disband YCT or put the group on probation for the year. FIRE contacted the Lone Star administration about its violations of YCT’s rights. Brian S. Nelson, General Counsel for the Lone Star College System. replied that any “mention of firearms and weapons” is inherently a “material interference with the operation of the school or the rights of others” because such language “brings fear and concern to students, faculty and staff.” Nevertheless, YCT was allowed to remain a student organization without any disciplinary consequences.

  • Big gun on campus

    November 10, 2008

    If you want to go to college, you’d better check your funnybone at the door. And if you think there might be even the slightest possibility that there could be something humorous about guns, don’t go anywhere near a campus. Specifically, don’t go anywhere near Lone Star College-Tomball, a public college near Houston. (Don’t worry if you’re not from Texas, most Texans never heard of this school either.) Several students, initially guilty of no offense greater than being members of a group called Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT), passed out a flyer designed to recruit new members into their club […]

    » Read More

  • College threatens students for even discussing guns

    October 26, 2008

    The Young Conservatives of Texas branch at the Houston-area Lone Star College-Tomball has been censored and threatened with campus-wide de-recognition for passing out a humorous pamphlet with gun jokes at a campus fair. The dispute is being addressed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, which has written college officials reminding them of the college’s constitutional obligation to respect the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to acknowledge the flyer’s contents are protected speech. “Distributing a joke-filled top-ten list at a student activities fair is a creative way for a student group to educate its peers […]

    » Read More

  • Top one reason to censor unfunny lists

    October 23, 2008

    When a list of “Top Ten Gun Safety Tips” begins with “Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, such as at a hippy or a Communist,” you know two things: 1) Some conservative group is involved. 2) You won’t be rolling in tears of laughter by the time you finish the list. (“Hippy”? Why, you can’t tell the boys from the girls these days, what with the long hair and all….) A third thing is now known, however: If you distribute the list at a college, you’re going to get threatened with punishment. Officials at Lone Star College-Tomball […]

    » Read More

  • FIRE Launches New Video Series With Short Film on Censorship of Gun-Related Speech

    June 30, 2010

    PHILADELPHIA, June 30, 2010—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is proud to release a new short film, “Empty Holsters: Gun Speech on America’s Campuses,” highlighting widespread campus censorship of student speech about guns. The film is the first in a new FIRE series focusing on how colleges and universities across America are preventing students and faculty members from speaking out on the weightiest political issues of the day. “In the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. Chicago, debate about the Second Amendment and gun rights is sure to be hotter than ever,” said FIRE […]

    » Read More

  • Why can’t students say ‘guns’ in school?

    April 21, 2009

    by Glenn Garvin Miami Herald   Media snicker of the day: those crazy gun nuts, worried that the government is out to snatch their constitutional rights along with their AK-47s. 60 Minutes is the latest to have a chuckle, playing a commercial for a Washington, D.C.-area firearms show that that urges viewers to “Celebrate the Second Amendment and get your guns while you still can!” My own hunch is that the sheer number of Americans who own guns (the low estimate is something over 40 million) will keep their Second Amendment rights off the endangered-species list for the foreseeable future. […]

    » Read More

  • Jefferson ‘Muzzle’ Awards for Censorship Given to Two Colleges Involved in FIRE Cases

    April 7, 2009

    Every year, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression awards the “Jefferson Muzzle” to a few of the year’s most egregious violators of free speech rights. For the second year in a row (and three out of the last four years), the Center has selected one or more of the malefactors in FIRE cases to receive this symbol of dishonor. This year, the administrations of Lone Star College–Tomball and Tarrant County College, both in Texas, received Muzzles for censoring gun-related speech in FIRE cases. As the Center reports: For suppressing on a community college campus several types […]

    » Read More

  • Speech Code of the Month: Lone Star College

    December 1, 2008

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2008: Lone Star College in Texas. FIRE recently addressed the suppression of free speech at one of the colleges in the Lone Star College System, when Lone Star College–Tomball censored a student group for distributing a jocular flyer listing “Top Ten Gun Safety Tips.” The flyer, which was obviously intended to be a humorous David-Letterman-style top-ten list, included entries such as “no matter how responsible he seems, never give your gun to a monkey” and “if your gun misfires, never look down the barrel to inspect it.” Despite the authors’ […]

    » Read More

  • Stop Invoking Virginia Tech to Punish Protected Speech

    November 24, 2008

    Of particular note in the court order in Barnes v. Zaccari, the federal civil rights lawsuit filed after former Valdosta State University (VSU) student Hayden Barnes was expelled for posting a collage on Facebook.com protesting the construction of new parking facilities at VSU, is this excerpt: For purposes of the motion to dismiss, the court determines that the inclusion of the word “memorial” by its mere utterance in a photo collage that was posted on an internet website simply cannot be rationally construed as likely to incite immediate violence, even in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy that the […]

    » Read More

  • Does Lone Star College–Tomball Really Fear the Word ‘Gun’?

    November 12, 2008

    Monday at Examiner.com, writer Garry Reed ridiculed Lone Star College–Tomball for its outlawing of any mention of “firearms” or “weapons” because of the “fear and concern” that such language apparently brings to people on campus. Here’s most of his good piece: [I]f you think there might be even the slightest possibility that there could be something humorous about guns, don’t go anywhere near a campus. Specifically, don’t go anywhere near Lone Star College-Tomball, a public college near Houston. (Don’t worry if you’re not from Texas, most Texans never heard of this school either.) Several students, initially guilty of no offense […]

    » Read More

  • Victory at Temple College Explained in Today’s Podcast

    November 10, 2008

    Last Thursday, FIRE’s press release described our latest victory for freedom of expression at Temple College (Texas), where the school’s president quickly reversed the censorship of a religiously themed cartoon and the Nietzsche quotation “God is dead” after receiving a letter from FIRE. In today’s episode of FIREside Chats, Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, discusses this case in further detail and calls on administrators at Lake Superior State University and Lone Star College–Tomball to follow Temple’s lead by undoing the censorship of controversial posted materials on campus. To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

    » Read More

  • ‘Top Ten Gun Safety Tips’ Censored at Lone Star College in Texas

    October 20, 2008

    The stifling of parody on college campuses in recent years is a sad tale of censorship, oversensitivity, and overreaction in the wake of actual incidents of violence. The latest case, as we document in today’s press release, occurred over nothing worse—be careful, and don’t be alarmed!—than a Letterman-style “top ten” list of “Gun Safety Tips.” The official student organization that published this list on a recruiting flyer, Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) at Lone Star College–Tomball, had its flyers confiscated during Lone Star College–Tomball’s “club rush,” and shortly afterward the group was told that it was under investigation and probably […]

    » Read More

  • “Top Ten Gun Safety Tips” Censored at Lone Star College in Texas

    October 20, 2008

    HOUSTON, October 20, 2008—After distributing a jocular flyer listing “Top Ten Gun Safety Tips” at the school’s “club rush,” a student group was threatened with probation and derecognition at Lone Star College–Tomball, a public college near Houston. After college officials banned the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) from distributing the flyer, the school’s general counsel invoked the specter of the Virginia Tech shootings, suggesting that even a “mention of firearms and weapons” is inherently a “material interference” with the school’s operations. The group has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “Distributing a joke-filled top-ten […]

    » Read More