Modesto Junior College
Speech Code Rating
- At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
September 17, 2013
MJC student Robert Van Tuinen was ordered to cease distributing Constitutions on September 17 — Constitution Day.
September 17, 2018
Much of FIRE’s advocacy on behalf of college students’ civil rights — including freedom of speech, conscience, press, and more — springs from the guidance of a single source: The United States Constitution. But despite its status as the nation’s preeminent founding legal document, some public campus administrators still don’t fully understand the expressive rights it… Read more
November 11, 2015
Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California must really like being in the free speech spotlight. Followers of FIRE will recognize the college’s name, since we helped student Robert Van Tuinen sue MJC for violating his First Amendment rights by restricting him from handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day. (It was even… Read more
September 17, 2015
Today is Constitution Day, marking the 228th anniversary of the day the drafters signed the U.S. Constitution. It’s a day we cherish at FIRE for many reasons, but particularly because so many students celebrate by exercising their First Amendment rights on campus. Sometimes the simple act of handing out a copy of the Constitution can… Read more
March 2, 2015
PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2015—More than half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the previous year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech… Read more
September 18, 2014
September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny… Read more
September 16, 2014
Students, faculty, and FIRE supporters in the Modesto, California, area are invited to hear FIRE Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn speak at Modesto Junior College, home of one of FIRE’s most noteworthy cases, tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in Founders Hall 212. Joe will be speaking about student rights on campus in honor of Constitution Day.
September 3, 2014
My colleague Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, published an op-ed in The Huffington Post yesterday with an important back-to-school message for college administrators: Eliminate speech codes, or get ready to head to court.
August 22, 2014
Every advocate dreams of winning over an opponent, but it rarely happens. It’s just possible, though, that FIRE might have done so. David Urban of the law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has written a thorough and insightful post on his firm’s blog advising colleges and universities to review their speech-related policies to insulate themselves from the threat of litigation—like FIRE’s new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.
July 2, 2014
Yesterday, FIRE launched our new Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, a national effort to eliminate unconstitutional speech codes through targeted First Amendment lawsuits. Within minutes of the announcement, major media outlets were spreading the word, and over the past 24 hours, the nation’s top newspapers have reported on this big step in the fight for free speech on campus. Here is some of yesterday’s and today’s news coverage of Stand Up For Speech and the four lawsuits FIRE brought yesterday with the help of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine:
June 25, 2014
Today, FIRE has released a new video chronicling the struggle for free speech at Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California, where student Robert Van Tuinen was famously prevented from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution, on Constitution Day, no less.
April 10, 2014
Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is on Sunday, and that means it’s time for the “Jefferson Muzzle” awards, granted by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression! Torch readers won’t be surprised to see a few FIRE cases on this year’s list of “winners.”
April 7, 2014
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2014: Colorado Mesa University. Colorado Mesa’s policy on “Free Speech” limits students’ expressive activities to just one “concrete patio” on the university’s 86-acre campus. While the university has the right to enact reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, courts have held time and again that onerous restrictions like this one are not reasonable.
March 17, 2014
Six months ago today, Modesto Junior College officials stopped student Robert Van Tuinen from distributing copies of the Constitution on campus, prompting him to file suit for violation of his First Amendment rights. Last Friday, Van Tuinen’s lawyers filed a stipulation for dismissal of his lawsuit in federal court, the final step in implementing the settlement that resulted in a complete overhaul of Modesto Junior College’s (MJC’s) speech policies and expectations as well as a $50,000 payment.
February 25, 2014
Yesterday evening, California’s Modesto Junior College (MJC) agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit filed last October by student Robert Van Tuinen, whom the college prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day. The videotaped incident drew national media attention.
December 30, 2013
As 2013 comes to a close, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) looks back on a year that was headlined by dire threats to free speech and student rights on campus.
December 24, 2013
The free speech gazebo. 0.1%. A “little cement area.” 10-day advance registration. As far too many students sadly know, the vocabulary of campus free speech zones provides a ready example of the absurdity of campus censorship. This year, administrators at Modesto Junior College proved just how far that absurdity extends when they prohibited student Robert Van Tuinen from distributing copies… Read more
December 18, 2013
FRESNO, Calif., Dec. 18, 2013—Modesto Junior College (MJC) has agreed to suspend enforcement of its “free speech zone” as it negotiates an end to a federal lawsuit filed by a student prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution on campus on Constitution Day. A joint stipulation filed in federal district court yesterday by MJC and attorneys for student… Read more
November 15, 2013
Wednesday’s edition of The Red & Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia (UGA), has an article on the school’s “yellow light” speech code rating. Based on an interview with Samantha Harris, FIRE’s director of policy research, Dillon Richards’ article explains UGA’s problematic policies, which include a 48-hour waiting period for approval to demonstrate anywhere outside of two… Read more
November 11, 2013
In USA Today College, reporter and student Katy Cardin spoke with noted Supreme Court litigant Mary Beth Tinker about The Tinker Tour, her campaign to teach students across the country about the First Amendment. Tinker discusses the violation of student rights on college campuses and colleges’ tendency to silence student opinions rather than encourage them. She also references FIRE’s case at Modesto Junior… Read more
November 8, 2013
Over at Concurring Opinions, noted legal scholar and author Ron Collins has penned a compelling look at the folly of campus free speech zones. Collins writes: Free speech zone – It is shorthand for holding two contradictory opinions while believing in both of them. Incongruous logic, to be sure. And yet, that is the mindset that too many public… Read more
October 21, 2013
Earlier this month, Modesto Junior College (MJC) student Robert Van Tuinen filed suit against the school after several administrators ordered him to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on September 17—Constitution Day. Columnist Debra J. Saunders took to the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday to explain why readers shouldn’t be reassured by MJC President Jill Stearns’ claims… Read more
October 17, 2013
The fall is off to a blistering pace. FIRE staffers are already meeting with supporters in over 25 cities and more than 15 states across the country this semester with more to come. We’re also well on the way to having the highest number of case submissions in our 14-year history!
October 10, 2013
A student who was ordered by college administrators to stop handing out copies of the Constitution on campus—on Constitution Day—filed suit today in federal court. Modesto Junior College (MJC) student and Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen is suing the Yosemite Community College District and MJC administrators for violating his First Amendment rights. Van Tuinen is represented by the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine and is assisted by FIRE.
Modesto Doubles Down on Unconstitutional Policies, Claims School Protects Free Speech by Restricting It
September 23, 2013
Over the weekend, Modesto Junior College (MJC) President Jill Stearns published a statement in The Modesto Bee responding to the public outcry that arose from the school’s demand that student Robert Van Tuinen stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution to his fellow students on Constitution Day. The incident “motivated a vast number of… Read more
September 20, 2013
When government officials say something stupid, their PR folks quickly devise a strategy to “walk back” the statement. Modesto Junior College has skipped walking and is sprinting back its unwise decision to stop a student from distributing copies of the Constitution on Constitution Day. As well it should. Here’s the statement that appeared on its Facebook page within… Read more
September 19, 2013
MODESTO, Calif., September 19, 2013—In a stunning illustration of the attitude taken towards free speech by too many colleges across the United States, Modesto Junior College in California told a student that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on September 17, 2013—Constitution Day. Captured on video,… Read more