College Reaches $110K Free Speech Settlement With Student

December 9, 2014

By CS Staff at Campus Safety Magazine

Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., has settled a lawsuit with a student who claimed his First Amendment rights were violated when an administrator threatened to remove him from campus for collecting petition signatures.

Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle was asking for signatures on a petition against the federal National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance activities when an unidentified administrator told him he was outside the school’s designated “free speech zone.” The college has agreed to pay Sinapi-Riddle $110,000 in damages and attorney’s fees, as well as revise its policies, Fox News reports.

The college said it a statement that the settlement was less than the anticipated cost of fighting the lawsuit. The statement went on to say that the school will expand its free speech zone to include most of the campus’ open spaces.

Sinapi-Riddle was aided in his lawsuit by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). According to the group’s president, Citrus College agreed to eliminate its restrictive free speech zone in 2003, but later reinstated the policy.

Schools: Citrus College Cases: FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Citrus College – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit Citrus College: Speech Code Litigation