In a recent op-ed for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s student newspaper, The Poly Post, student-plaintiff Nicolas Tomas reviews the events that led him to sue his university and his goals for the lawsuit. As Torch readers may recall, on March 31, 2015, Tomas filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Cal Poly Pomona with FIRE’s help. It is the ninth lawsuit filed as part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.
Tomas is deeply passionate about veganism and animal rights issues. He tried to share this passion for animal rights with his peers at Cal Poly Pomona, but he faced numerous barriers from the administration. The Cal Poly Pomona campus not only has a “free speech zone” but also maintains very restrictive policies on how and when students can use it.
In his op-ed, Tomas explains that he exhausted all of his options for a solution and felt that the only way he could get the administration to let him express himself was through a lawsuit.
I feel it is not only unconstitutional, but it also compromises our educational experience as students. The administrators I’ve spoken with have basically shrugged off my concerns, and said that no changes would be made.
Battled with a feeling of hopelessness, I realized that my concerns were repeatedly ignored and that only a lawsuit could permanently change these unconstitutional policies.
Tomas hopes that one day Cal Poly Pomona will no longer have restrictive policies like its free speech zone, and that students will be allowed to express themselves freely.
Check out the full op-ed in The Poly Post!