Modesto Junior College

Location: Modesto, California
Website: http://www.mjc.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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This school does not have any speech codes at this time.
  • Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Makes Media Splash

    July 2, 2014

    Yesterday, FIRE launched our new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Within minutes of the announcement, major media outlets were spreading the word, and over the past 24 hours, the nation’s top newspapers have reported on this big step in the fight for free speech on campus. Here is some of yesterday’s and today’s news coverage of Stand Up For Speech and the four lawsuits FIRE brought yesterday with the help of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine:

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  • Go Behind the Scenes of the Struggle for Free Speech at Modesto J.C. (VIDEO)

    June 25, 2014

    Today, FIRE has released a new video chronicling the struggle for free speech at Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California, where student Robert Van Tuinen was famously prevented from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution, on Constitution Day, no less.

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  • Thomas Jefferson Center Announces 2014 ‘Muzzle’ Awards

    April 10, 2014

    Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is on Sunday, and that means it’s time for the “Jefferson Muzzle” awards, granted by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression! Torch readers won’t be surprised to see a few FIRE cases on this year’s list of “winners.”

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Colorado Mesa University

    April 7, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2014: Colorado Mesa University. Colorado Mesa’s policy on “Free Speech” limits students’ expressive activities to just one “concrete patio” on the university’s 86-acre campus. While the university has the right to enact reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, courts have held time and again that onerous restrictions like this one are not reasonable.

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  • Speech Code at Modesto Junior College Fixed. Who’s Next?

    March 17, 2014

    Six months ago today, Modesto Junior College officials stopped student Robert Van Tuinen from distributing copies of the Constitution on campus, prompting him to file suit for violation of his First Amendment rights. Last Friday, Van Tuinen’s lawyers filed a stipulation for dismissal of his lawsuit in federal court, the final step in implementing the settlement that resulted in a complete overhaul of Modesto Junior College’s (MJC’s) speech policies and expectations as well as a $50,000 payment.

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  • Victory: Modesto Junior College Settles Student’s First Amendment Lawsuit

    February 25, 2014

    Yesterday evening, California’s Modesto Junior College (MJC) agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed last October by student Robert Van Tuinen, whom the college prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day. The videotaped incident drew national media attention.

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  • 2013 in Review: Threats from Washington, Victories in the States

    December 30, 2013

    As 2013 comes to a close, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) looks back on a year that was headlined by dire threats to free speech and student rights on campus.

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  • Support FIRE’s Fight Against Free Speech Zones

    December 24, 2013

    The free speech gazebo. 0.1%. A “little cement area.” 10-day advance registration. As far too many students sadly know, the vocabulary of campus free speech zones provides a ready example of the absurdity of campus censorship. This year, administrators at Modesto Junior College proved just how far that absurdity extends when they prohibited student Robert Van Tuinen from distributing copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day simply because he hadn’t met the requirements of the school’s free speech zone policy. Robert’s experience isn’t all that unique. Rather than celebrating free expression, too many of our colleges and universities confine it to small areas, restrict it […]

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  • California College Suspends Speech Restrictions Amidst Settlement Talks

    December 18, 2013

    FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 18, 2013—Modesto Junior College (MJC) has agreed to suspend enforcement of its “free speech zone” as it negotiates an end to a federal lawsuit filed by a student prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on campus on Constitution Day. A joint stipulation filed in federal district court yesterday by MJC and attorneys for student Robert Van Tuinen states that the parties have agreed on several significant revisions to the college’s “free speech policies and procedures,” pending final approval by the Yosemite Community College District, expected this spring. “FIRE welcomes this development as a sign that Modesto Junior College is […]

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  • University of Georgia Student Paper Reports on School’s ‘Yellow Light’ Rating

    November 15, 2013

    Wednesday’s edition of The Red & Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia (UGA), has an article on the school’s “yellow light” speech code rating. Based on an interview with Samantha Harris, FIRE’s director of policy research, Dillon Richards’ article explains UGA’s problematic policies, which include a 48-hour waiting period for approval to demonstrate anywhere outside of two designated “free speech zones.” The university’s legal counsel declined to comment, leaving Jan Barham, the associate dean of students, to defend the policies. Barham revealed once again how hard it is to explain why limiting speech on universities campuses is a good idea. Barham, like […]

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  • Mary Beth Tinker Discusses Student Rights, Modesto Junior College Incident with ‘USA Today College’

    November 11, 2013

    In USA Today College, reporter and student Katy Cardin spoke with noted Supreme Court litigant Mary Beth Tinker about The Tinker Tour, her campaign to teach students across the country about the First Amendment. Tinker discusses the violation of student rights on college campuses and colleges’ tendency to silence student opinions rather than encourage them. She also references FIRE’s case at Modesto Junior College (MJC), where a student was stopped from handing out copies of the Constitution on his campus. According to Tinker, the best way to fight censorship like the kind seen at MJC is by spreading the message of free speech: We’re doing it by telling […]

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  • Ron Collins on ‘Dystopian,’ ‘Destructive’ Folly of Campus Free Speech Zones

    November 8, 2013

    Over at Concurring Opinions, noted legal scholar and author Ron Collins has penned a compelling look at the folly of campus free speech zones. Collins writes: Free speech zone – It is shorthand for holding two contradictory opinions while believing in both of them. Incongruous logic, to be sure. And yet, that is the mindset that too many public college administrators impose on students in an attempt to make them believe that the best way to honor the First Amendment is by abridging it. They do so by restricting student speech to tiny “free speech zones” and by strictly controlling access thereto. Such Orwellian […]

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  • ‘San Francisco Chronicle’ on Modesto’s Speech Policies

    October 21, 2013

    Earlier this month, Modesto Junior College (MJC) student Robert Van Tuinen filed suit against the school after several administrators ordered him to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on September 17—Constitution Day. Columnist Debra J. Saunders took to the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday to explain why readers shouldn’t be reassured by MJC President Jill Stearns’ claims that the school’s policies allow for free expression: In a statement, college President Jill Stearns asserted, “There is absolutely no requirement that a student register weeks in advance and hand out his literature only in a small marked area.” But a security guard and staff binder suggest […]

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  • Happy Fall From FIRE!

    October 17, 2013

    The fall is off to a blistering pace. FIRE staffers are already meeting with supporters in over 25 cities and more than 15 states across the country this semester with more to come. We’re also well on the way to having the highest number of case submissions in our 14-year history!

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  • Lawsuit! Student Ordered to Stop Handing Out Constitutions on Constitution Day Files Suit

    October 10, 2013

    A student who was ordered by college administrators to stop handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day—filed suit today in federal court. Modesto Junior College (MJC) student and Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen is suing the Yosemite Community College District and MJC administrators for violating his First Amendment rights. Van Tuinen is represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and is assisted by FIRE.

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  • Modesto Doubles Down on Unconstitutional Policies, Claims School Protects Free Speech by Restricting It

    September 23, 2013

    Over the weekend, Modesto Junior College (MJC) President Jill Stearns published a statement in The Modesto Bee responding to the public outcry that arose from the school’s demand that student Robert Van Tuinen stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution to his fellow students on Constitution Day. The incident “motivated a vast number of individuals across our country to voice their concern through email and phone calls,” according to Stearns. While some of the communications were evidently personal attacks directed toward MJC staff (which is lamentable), Stearns concedes that a great number of the calls and emails represented a […]

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  • Modesto Junior College’s Attempts at Damage Control Fail

    September 20, 2013

    When government officials say something stupid, their PR folks quickly devise a strategy to “walk back” the statement. Modesto Junior College has skipped walking and is sprinting back its unwise decision to stop a student from distributing copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day. As well it should. Here’s the statement that appeared on its Facebook page within hours of FIRE’s press release exposing Modesto’s policy of requiring students to sign up in advance to use a “free speech zone” to express their views: The Yosemite Community College District’s (YCCD) colleges have free speech areas on campus for activities such as distributing materials […]

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  • California College Forbids Passing Out Constitutions… On Constitution Day

    September 19, 2013

    MODESTO, Calif., September 19, 2013—In a stunning illustration of the attitude taken towards free speech by too many colleges across the United States, Modesto Junior College in California told a student that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on September 17, 2013—Constitution Day. Captured on video, college police and administrators demanded that Robert Van Tuinen stop passing out Constitution pamphlets and told him that he would only be allowed to pass them out in the college’s tiny free speech zone, and only after scheduling it several days or weeks ahead of […]

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