FIRE Cases in Cal Poly’s ‘Mustang Daily’

November 4, 2011

Student journalist Brendan Pringle wrote about several FIRE cases in Tuesday’s Daily Mustang, the student newspaper of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly).

Pringle wrote about our cases at Bucknell University, Northern Arizona University, Lone Star College-Tomball, and Cal Poly itself, which attempted to punish a student for posting a flyer on a public bulletin board. Pringle explains the Cal Poly case this way: 

The poster was advertising a speech given by African-American speaker (and former Black Panther) Mason Weaver called "It’s Okay to Leave the Plantation." The administration claimed that [student Steve] Hinkle disrupted a meeting by posting the flyer (although no sign, announcement or record of such an event existed). Apparently, the "context" was not clear enough for the "affected students" who were utterly "offended" by the flyer. A ridiculous, seven-hour Cal Poly hearing decided that Hinkle was guilty, and the administration ordered that Hinkle write apologies to the offended students – a forced admission of guilt that would stain his disciplinary record.

FIRE and the Center for Individual Rights intervened, and Cal Poly settled after a year and a half litigation battle. And they had to swallow Hinkle’s hefty $40,000 attorney bill.

But Cal Poly is now under new leadership, and Weaver will return to speak at Cal Poly next Tuesday. Let’s hope there are no bumps in the road this time around. FIRE is still here and still watching.

Schools:  California Polytechnic State University