Southwestern College: Professors Banned from Campus after Students Stray Beyond 'Free Speech Patio'


Southwestern College

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed
In October 2009, within hours of being seen with students who took their peaceful campus protest outside of Southwestern College's unconstitutional "free speech patio" to a more visible and audible location, three professors were banned from the SWC campus and placed on immediate administrative leave. SWC's administration later claimed that the professors had incited the protesters to leave the free speech area and had physically confronted police. While the professors were reinstated just two days after FIRE intervened, SWC's policy restricting expressive activity to its tiny "free speech patio" was not revised to more closely conform with the First Amendment until September 2011. During that time, SWC Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra resigned in some disgrace. Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs Nicholas Alioto, who had been serving as Acting Superintendent/President at the time of the suspensions, resigned in February 2011 in some disgrace as well; his financial decisions at SWC have come under investigation.