FIRE Celebrates Two Victories for Free Speech on Campus in 24 Hours

December 4, 2014

By Aleister at College Insurrection

I don’t know if people truly appreciate the work that FIRE does for free speech, particularly at colleges and universities. Congratulations and thank you, FIRE.

Second Victory in 24 Hours: College that Suppressed Anti-NSA Petition Settles Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, December 3, 2014—Today, Citrus College in California agreed to settle a student’s free speech lawsuit for $110,000, marking the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) second victory for the First Amendment in 24 hours.

Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle filed the federal lawsuit in July as part of FIRE’sStand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Sinapi-Riddle was threatened with removal from campus for soliciting signatures for a petition against domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) outside of Citrus’s tiny “free speech area.”

In addition to the monetary settlement for Sinapi-Riddle’s damages and attorneys’ fees, Citrus has revised numerous policies, agreed not to impede free expression in all open areas of campus, and adopted a definition of harassment that complies with the First Amendment.

“Citrus College agreed to eliminate its restrictive ‘free speech zone’ in the face of a FIRE lawsuit back in 2003, but later reinstated its speech quarantine when it thought no one was watching,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “But FIRE was watching, and we’ll continue to do so. If the speech codes come back again, so will we.”

To hold Citrus to today’s settlement, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California will retain jurisdiction over the case for one year, allowing Sinapi-Riddle to enforce the agreement without filing a new lawsuit.

Schools: Citrus College University of Hawaii at Hilo Cases: FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project Citrus College – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit University of Hawaii at Hilo – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit Citrus College: Speech Code Litigation