Sinclair Community College

Location: Dayton, Ohio
Website: http://www.sinclair.edu
Type: No Type Yet
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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  • Sinclair Community College: Police Ban Signs at Religious Freedom Rally

    June 15, 2012

    On June 8, 2012, SCC’s Traditional Values Club student group hosted an on-campus religious freedom rally to protest health coverage mandates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SCC police declared that signs of any kind, pro or con, were not allowed at the event and ordered all signs to be placed on the ground. SCC police reportedly have been banning signs at campus events at least since 1990. FIRE wrote to SCC on June 15, asking it to immediately reject this blatantly unconstitutional censorship. On July 6, the Thomas More Society, in discussion with FIRE and working […]

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  • Sinclair Community College: Unconstitutional Ban on Distributing Literature After Class

    February 22, 2011

    Ethel Borel-Donohue, a student in SCC’s Paralegal Program, peacefully distributed fliers regarding abortion, birth control, and breast cancer, after a class session. Days later, Borel-Donohue was summoned to the office of Judge Michael Brigner, Paralegal Program Chair. In a meeting in November 2010, Brigner reportedly stated that another student had complained to him about being “offended by the material in the brochures.” Brigner then told her she “had no right to hand out any materials to students in the classroom.” FIRE wrote to SCC President Steven Lee Jackson on March 16 in defense of Borel-Donohue’s free speech rights. FIRE also pointed out […]

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This school does not have any speech codes at this time.
  • Sinclair settles suit over sign

    March 12, 2013

    Sinclair Community College has settled a lawsuit that challenged the school’s former policy effectively banning protest signs and distributing leaflets at campus rallies. The lawsuit, filed in part by two students, claimed Sinclair violated the First Amendment rights of protesters when campus police ordered them to put down their signs at a June 8 “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally sponsored by the Sinclair Traditional Values Club. Sinclair has since revised its campus access policy. Under the settlement agreement, Sinclair will pay $9,681 to cover the plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees. The college also promised not to revert to its […]

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  • 5 More of the Worst Free Speech Violations on College Campuses

    September 12, 2012

    On Tuesday, I shared the first half of my list of ten of the most common free speech violations which the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE ) encounters in its work defending campus expression. As I noted yesterday, the list is far from comprehensive, and the offenses listed are in no particular order. They do, however, give a sense of the depth and variety of ways free speech is threatened at our colleges and universities. Here are five more of the most common violations against free speech on campus. Be sure to visit yesterday’s post for the first half of […]

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  • U. of Cincinnati loses free speech lawsuit – is another Ohio college next?

    August 23, 2012

    As a native of Toledo, Ohio (Go Mud Hens!), I guess I should be happy that my home state is so flush with cash that it had $200,000 in taxpayer funds to waste in the latest doomed attempt by a public university to violate the constitutional rights of its students. Since 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) has been warning the University of Cincinnati (UC) that confining student speech to a tiny “Free Speech Area” that covered a mere 0.1% of the school’s 137-acre campus is unconstitutional. UC was dead serious about enforcing this policy — the school […]

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  • Sinclair students sue over protest sign ban

    July 14, 2012

    Sinclair Community College’s effective ban on protest signs and leafleting at campus rallies has put it at the center of a nationwide controversy over limits on free speech and public assembly at institutions designed to be marketplaces of ideas. Earlier this month, two students and a speaker at a June 8 “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally at Sinclair’s downtown Dayton campus filed suit in U.S. District Court, claiming campus police violated participants’ First Amendment rights by ordering them to put down their protest signs. The college also faces a federal lawsuit filed last year by anti-abortion demonstrators stemming from […]

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  • Free Speech Under Assault at Sinclair Community College

    May 10, 2011

    Yet another assault on First Amendment rights on college campuses is taking place in Dayton, Ohio. Last October, Sinclair Community College (SCC) prohibited a paralegal studies student, Ethel Borel-Donohue, from distributing pamphlets to her fellow students after a class. The pamphlets focused on the link between abortion and the use of oral contraceptives to higher rates of breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Judge Michael Brigner, Paralegal Program Chair, banned the distribution after receiving a complaint from a student who had had an abortion, telling Borel-Donohue she “had no right to hand out any materials to students in the classroom.” Borel-Donohue, contacted the Foundation for Individual […]

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  • Group: Ohio college’s policy violates free speech

    April 6, 2011

    by Lisa Cornwell Associated Press   CINCINNATI (AP) – A southwest Ohio college violated a student’s right to free speech by prohibiting her from passing out fliers on abortion, cancer and birth control on campus, a civil rights group said Wednesday. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter to the president of Sinclair Community College in Dayton in February asking for a change in policies that it says violate students’ constitutional rights under the First Amendment. “The right to distribute literature about controversial topics is one of Americans’ most hallowed rights,” group president Greg Lukianoff said in a statement. The […]

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  • At Sinclair, Liability Concerns Trump Students’ Expressive Rights

    November 15, 2013

    Mark Twain once quipped that we have “three unspeakably precious things” in America: “freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.” After all, expressing oneself can be very dangerous. Sinclair Community College thinks so, anyway. You might recall that the college made headlines last year after police forced students at an on-campus rally to put away their handheld signs. Why? Well, in an interview with the Dayton Daily News, Sinclair President Steven L. Johnson said that colleges have a responsibility to protect their students and staff from domestic terrorism. Yes, you heard that right. […]

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  • Victory: Ohio College Settles First Amendment Lawsuit, Scraps Speech Code

    March 12, 2013

    Here’s today’s press release:  DAYTON, Ohio, March 12, 2013—Ohio’s Sinclair Community College (SCC) has settled a First Amendment lawsuit by revising an unconstitutional speech code that prohibited students and visitors from holding signs on campus. The plaintiffs’ attorneys confirmed this week that the terms of the settlement have been accepted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The lawsuit, filed last July on behalf of students Ruth Deddens and Ethel Borel-Donohue and invited speaker Bryan Kemper, director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, was prompted by SCC’s brazen violation of the First Amendment at a campus religious freedom rally held […]

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  • Victory: Ohio College Settles First Amendment Lawsuit, Scraps Speech Code

    March 12, 2013

    DAYTON, Ohio, March 12, 2013—Ohio’s Sinclair Community College (SCC) has settled a First Amendment lawsuit by revising an unconstitutional speech code that prohibited students and visitors from holding signs on campus. The plaintiffs’ attorneys confirmed this week that the terms of the settlement have been accepted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The lawsuit, filed last July on behalf of students Ruth Deddens and Ethel Borel-Donohue and invited speaker Bryan Kemper, director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, was prompted by SCC’s brazen violation of the First Amendment at a campus religious freedom rally held on June 8, 2012. […]

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  • ‘Leaked’ Sinclair CC ‘Memo’ Explains Terrorism Concerns Behind Sign Ban

    July 18, 2012

    Intrepid investigative blogger “Ken” of the Popehat blog gets into the spirit of Woodward and Bernstein with his posting of a really super authentic memo that is really, actually from Sinclair Community College President Steven L. Johnson. The memo explains why President Johnson might have claimed that the college’s ban on signs at protests is related to an effort to crack down on domestic terrorism. Watch out Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Ken is coming to take your jobs! – P.S. Yes, we know this memo is a parody. Could you tell?    

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  • Sinclair Community College: Signs Just Too Dangerous for Campus

    July 17, 2012

    Believe it or not, Sinclair Community College (SCC) is insisting that its unconstitutional sign ban is all about student safety. Here’s SCC President Steven Lee Johnson, as quoted in today’s Dayton Daily News:  Johnson told the Dayton Daily News that Sinclair, which has about 23,000 students at its downtown campus, is committed to being “a bastion of free speech” and the open exchange of ideas. “For God’s sake, this is a college campus,” he said. “It’s an American college campus.” But Johnson said the police “have the latitude to make decisions about those things that would affect the safety and security […]

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  • Ohio College Sued for Censoring Pro-Life Event

    July 6, 2012

    DAYTON, Ohio, July 6, 2012—Today, Ohio’s Sinclair Community College (SCC) is the target of a First Amendment lawsuit following the college’s brazen violation of students’ First Amendment rights. At an on-campus rally protesting new health coverage mandates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, police officers forced event attendees and participants to put away their handheld signs communicating the protesters’ message, citing the college’s speech code. “Sinclair Community College’s censorship is so plainly unconstitutional that it’s difficult to understand how campus police and administrators justify it even to themselves,” said Robert Shibley, Senior Vice President of the Foundation […]

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  • Sinclair Community College: Enforcing Unconstitutional Sign Policy for Decades

    June 28, 2012

    This month, FIRE uncovered an outrageous unwritten policy banning all signs from events held on campus at Sinclair Community College (SCC) in Dayton, Ohio. The policy came to light when students and other demonstrators peacefully holding signs at a religious freedom rally were asked to take down their signs by campus police earlier this month (video included). Shockingly, FIRE has learned that the problem goes back much, much further—over two decades! A March 28 article published by SCC student newspaper The Clarion quotes SCC Chief of Police Charles Gift confirming that enforcement of the policy dates back to 1990: According […]

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  • ‘Signs of trouble for free speech at Sinclair CC’

    June 25, 2012

    FIRE’s Peter Bonilla has a column in the Daily Caller about Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. Its “bizarro world” policy says that students—yes, students in America!—can be prevented from carrying signs during a rally. If you can’t quite make yourself believe this (which is understandable), Peter has the video evidence that shows this actually happened. Click on through and prepare to be amazed at what this college does to silence its students.

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  • Sinclair CC Students: Have You Been Censored by SCC’s Sign Ban? Tell FIRE!

    June 22, 2012

    As we noted this week, Sinclair Community College in Ohio recently censored the free speech of participants and attendees at a religious freedom rally hosted by SCC’s Traditional Values Club. As photo and video evidence shows, police at the event forced all attendees to put away handheld signs supporting the event—a blatantly unconstitutional restriction of their right to free expression on the SCC campus. Amazingly, SCC police say they have had a policy prohibiting campus signage in place since 1990.  FIRE has written to SCC asking the college to immediately disavow the police’s actions here and prevent this censorship from […]

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  • Sinclair CC Police Ban Signs at Religious Freedom Rally

    June 19, 2012

    FIRE has written to Sinclair Community College after learning of the disturbing and unconstitutional censorship of signs at a June 8 “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally held on the Dayton, OH, campus and hosted by SCC’s Traditional Values Club (TVC).  As photo and video evidence shows, police ordered the participants at the June 8 rally to put away their signs, some of which were homemade, many of which were distributed by the national organizers (more than 160 such rallies—in protest of new health coverage mandates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—were held nationwide).  In this video recorded by one of […]

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  • Ohio College to Review Ban on Peaceful Distribution of Literature on Campus

    May 23, 2011

    Ohio’s Sinclair Community College (SCC) has announced that it will review an unconstitutional policy that prohibits all distribution of literature on campus by individual students. SCC banned a student from distributing literature about abortion, birth control, and breast cancer to her classmates after class. After FIRE intervened, the Chair of SCC’s Board of Trustees, Lawrence Porter, stated that this policy and a second, conflicting policy would be reviewed. SCC student Ethel Borel-Donohue’s story began during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October, when she distributed roughly 15 flyers relating to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to various students in her […]

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  • FIRE Keeps the Heat on Sinclair Community College

    May 6, 2011

    FIRE has asked the Board of Trustees of Sinclair Community College (SCC) to do what SCC President Steven Lee Johnson has refused to do: revise SCC’s unconstitutional distribution policies to preserve First Amendment rights for SCC students. FIRE’s letter to Board of Trustees Chair Lawrence Porter points out that SCC maintains two policies that not only contradict each other, but also unconstitutionally prevent students from distributing materials across a large percentage of the campus. These policies were used to prevent a pro-life student from distributing materials pertaining to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to her classmates after class, when there was […]

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  • Robert in ‘Pajamas Media’ on Pamphleteering and Political Correctness

    April 25, 2011

    In his latest article for Pajamas Media, Robert criticizes the censorship of Ethel Borel-Donohue at Sinclair Community College (SCC). Torch readers will remember that Borel-Donohue was banned from distributing literature on abortion, birth control, and breast cancer to her classmates after class. Robert presents the evidence that SCC censored Borel-Donahue not because of its unconstitutional ban on distributing flyers (see Section IV.3), but because she was advocating viewpoints that the school deemed to be politically incorrect. Robert compares Borel-Donohue’s case to one at Princeton Theological Seminary, where a circulated pamphlet comparing the abortion rate in African-American communities to genocide prompted […]

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  • This Week in the News: Whistleblowing UCLA Professor Still Making Headlines and Hamilton College Wins Muzzle Award

    April 15, 2011

    UCLA’s gross violation of the rights of Dr. Enstrom, the whisteblowing professor fighting for his job after being told he did not fit his department’s “mission,” continued to elicit outrage in the media this week. Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle published both a column (reprinted in Townhall.com) and a shorter blog post (containing Reason.tv’s video on the case) criticizing the university’s actions. Also don’t miss Adam’s excellent interview about the case with Mike Slater of The Mike Slater Show. Up north, Hamilton College earned a Muzzle Award for forcing all first-year male students to attend “She Fears You,” […]

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  • This Week in the News: Hearings Begin for Whistleblowing UCLA Professor

    April 8, 2011

    Hearings for University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor and scientist James Enstrom began on Monday of this week. Torch readers will remember that Dr. Enstrom is fighting for his job after UCLA retaliated against him for his exposure of a California Air Resources Board (CARB) scientist with a fake Ph.D. as well as other staffing irregularities, and for Enstrom’s scientific critique of findings by CARB that were used to create air pollution regulations in the state.FIRE’s efforts to protect Enstrom’s rights have been picked up by writers for a number of outlets, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Instapundit, […]

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  • Ohio College Prohibits Student from Peacefully Distributing Literature on Abortion, Birth Control

    April 6, 2011

    DAYTON, Ohio, April 6, 2011—Sinclair Community College has banned a student from distributing literature about abortion, birth control, and breast cancer to her classmates after class. The college also bans all distribution of literature on vast areas of campus. Student Ethel Borel-Donohue, who never disrupted class with her literature, came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “The right to distribute literature about controversial topics is one of Americans’ most hallowed rights,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “If someone’s claim to be offended by speech were all it took to overrule the First Amendment, we would […]

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