Seminole Community College: Refusal to Allow Student to Distribute Literature

Category: Due Process, Free Speech
Schools: Seminole State College

Florida’s Seminole Community College censored student Eliana Campos when she tried to pass out flyers expressing disapproval with slaughterhouse practices. The flyers, which were produced by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was censored when an administrator proclaimed that Campos’ documents, “instill[ed] a feeling” in her that she did not like. Approximately one week after FIRE’s David French sent a letter to SCC, Ms. Campos’ free speech rights were restored. SCC also agreed to create a committee to review all of its policies regarding speech.

  • Group Defends Campus Free-Speech Rights

    August 27, 2005

    PHILADELPHIA — When part-time college student Jihad Daniel received a campuswide e-mail invitation to see a movie about lesbians, he balked.”These are perversions,” he replied to the e-mail’s sender, asking that he no longer be sent information about “Connie and Sally” or “Adam and Steve.” The next thing he knew, the 68-year-old student at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., was accused of violating the state school’s anti-discrimination policy.A letter of reprimand followed in June, describing his brief comments to the sender—the head of the women’s studies program—as “derogatory or demeaning.” He took his case to a Philadelphia organization that […]

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  • Philly group takes national lead in fighting campus censorship

    August 21, 2005

    An organization inspired by a campus fight over whether “water buffalo” was a racist slur has become the go-to group for college students and professors of all stripes who believe their rights to free speech have been violated.Since its founding in 1999, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has battled pro bono for evangelicals and atheists, animal rights activists and campus conservatives, and others who say they have been silenced by school administrators because of their points of view. With 11 employees in Philadelphia and a network of dozens of volunteer attorneys nationwide, the organization has grown from an […]

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  • Fla. College Student Successfully Fights Campus ‘Free Speech Zone’

    June 28, 2005

    Seminole Community College student Eliana Campos will be allowed to hand out pamphlets describing the conditions of animals in slaughterhouses in more locations on campus after the college had previously relegated her to a “free speech zone” on campus. Campos was told on March 23 that she was not allowed to distribute the pamphlets where she wanted near a café on campus. Campos spoke to an administrator, Gail Agor, who said Campos would not be allowed to set up the table because she did not like the organization that sponsored the material, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Agor […]

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  • Student Activist Wins ‘Free-Speech’ Battle

    June 23, 2005

    A Seminole Community College student has won the right to set up a table in the campus cafeteria and distribute literature on slaughterhouses after being told she couldn’t because it would cause “exceptional controversy.” When Eliana Campos, a 2003 graduate of Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, requested the spot inside the student cafeteria, she instead was referred to the Oviedo campus’ “free-speech zone,” a remote area near the Clock Tower. Higher-ups at the college later reversed the decision, saying they intend to form a committee to rewrite the policy that limits such expressions to “free-speech zones.” Such zones — […]

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  • SCC Reverses Speech Decision

    June 19, 2005

    Seminole Community College did an about-face last week in a dispute over free speech. It originally refused to let a student hand out animal-rights brochures in the café at its Oviedo campus. The student could do that, but only in a designated “free-speech zone,” administrators had said. They changed their position after a national group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, took them on. The school says it will now re-evaluate its free-speech policies.

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  • Victory for Animals and Free Speech!

    June 17, 2005

    Most colleges won’t give you any trouble at all if you ask to table or distribute literature, but if they do, don’t worry, ’cause we’ve got your back. The situation of college student and peta2 Leadership Program member Eliana Campos is a case in point. She attends Seminole Community College near Orlando, Fla., and when she asked college administrators if she could table and distribute peta2 literature on campus, they flat-out denied her permission. Eliana, die-hard animal advocate that she is, was not deterred. She gathered support from a number of professors and contacted her friends at peta2 and the […]

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  • A Knuckleheaded Dad’s Vow to Do Better

    June 17, 2005

    [This is the second section of the column.] The president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has said that not even a cure for AIDS could justify the use of animals in research. So I have no respect for this organization, which is clearly comprised of confused souls who don’t understand that human beings have more worth than beasts. But in the spirit of 18th-century French philosopher Voltaire (who is widely credited with saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”), I must now come […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at Seminole Community College

    June 16, 2005

    ORLANDO, Fla., June 16, 2005—In a quick yet important victory for freedom of speech, Florida’s Seminole Community College (SCC) is allowing a student to distribute literature on slaughterhouse brutality on equal terms with other students and student groups. The college, which had initially insisted that student Eliana Campos distribute literature only within the college’s so-called “free speech zone,” reversed this decision only a few hours after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) took the case public yesterday.  SCC has also promised to review and recommend changes to its speech policies to ensure students’ constitutional rights are respected. “FIRE […]

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  • Florida College Slaughters PETA Member’s Constitutional Rights

    June 15, 2005

    ORLANDO, Fla., June 15, 2005—Florida’s Seminole Community College (SCC) has forbidden student Eliana Campos to distribute literature protesting slaughterhouse brutality at a table in the public area of the campus’ café. An administrator at the Oviedo campus refused to honor Campos’ constitutional rights because the source of the literature (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA) “instill[ed] a feeling” in her that she did not like. SCC’s decision comes despite allowing other groups to set up tables exactly where Campos wanted to do so. When Campos protested this differential treatment, administrators referred her to a policy that would […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Seminole Community College Vice President James D. Henningsen, June 7, 2005

    June 7, 2005

    June 7, 2005 James D. Henningsen Vice President for Student Success Seminole Community College 100 Weldon Boulevard Sanford, Florida  32773 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (407-328-2331) Dear Vice President Henningsen: Thank you for your response to FIRE’s April 18, 2005, letter to Seminole Community College President E. Ann McGee.  While we appreciate your attempt to explain Seminole Community College’s (SCC’s) refusal to allow student Eliana Campos to distribute literature at a table in the Little Bean Café on SCC’s Oviedo campus, SCC’s continuing insistence that Ms. Campos distribute literature only in the campus’s “free speech zone” constitutes a violation […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Seminole Community College President E. Ann McGee, April 18, 2005

    April 18, 2005

    April 18, 2005 President E. Ann McGee Seminole Community College 100 Weldon Boulevard Sanford, Florida  32773 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (407-328-2011) Dear President McGee: As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, freedom of religion, academic freedom, due process, and, in this case, freedom of speech and expression on America’s college campuses.  Our website,, will give you a […]

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