Video Shows Student And Officer Arguing Over Free Speech Rights - FOX 13 News

Video Shows Student And Officer Arguing Over Free Speech Rights On Campus

Posted: Updated:

25-year-old student Robert Van Tuinen was passing out pocket-sized constitutions at Modesto Junior College in California to celebrate Constitution Day on September 17. However, he was quickly stopped by a police officer.

The confrontation was caught on camera. The police officer tells Robert that he can only pass out constitutions in a designated spot on campus, a free speech spot, and only if he obtains permission in advance from school security.

Robert proceeds to ask the officer if he thinks that is a violation of free speech and first amendment rights, to which the officer replies, "I'm sure it is…but I'm giving you a solution. I'm not trying to stop you, I'm just telling you there is a process you have to go through."

Robert eventually asks why there is a process, to which the officer responds that it's because he's a student at the college.

"But it's a public college!" Robert Responds.

The whole video of the confrontation is six minutes long, and more than 76,000 people have seen it on YouTube since it's uploading by FIRE on September 19th.

"Watching the video is a combination of depressing and nauseating, to see what rigamarole students have to go through just to express themselves on campus," said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

A school spokeswoman later talked to FOXNews.com and told them that students and the general public are permitted to pass out materials in areas on campus that are generally available to the public, as long as they do not disrupt the orderly operations of the college.

"In the case of the YouTube video, it does not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operations of the college and therefore we are looking into the incident," Modesto Junior College Marketing and Public Relations officer Linda Hoile said.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Jolie, Pitt wed in Chateau Miraval, France

    Jolie, Pitt wed in Chateau Miraval, France

    Thursday, August 28 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:00:15 GMT
    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in Chateau Miraval, France, says a spokesman for the couple.Jolie and Pitt wed Saturday in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends. 
    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in Chateau Miraval, France, says a spokesman for the couple.Jolie and Pitt wed Saturday in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends. 
  • More Comfortable

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:39 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:39:28 GMT

    Cooler and drier air moves in today but the heat and humidity return for the second half of the holiday weekend.

    A cold front came through last night meaning cooler, less humid air is moving in for Thursday.  Mostly sunny skies and winds gusting to 25mph are also expected today.  Friday starts off very cool and also features a pleasant afternoon.

     The holiday weekend is looking warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increaselate Sunday and Labor Day.

  • 8 piping plover chicks fledged in Del. state park

    8 piping plover chicks fledged in Del. state park

    Wildlife officials say eight piping plover chicks fledged this season at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
    Wildlife officials say eight piping plover chicks fledged this season at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices