PASCO, WA - The Benton/Franklin Libertarian Party and Young Americans for Liberty will be having a Free Speech Rally on Tuesday, April 16 from 10am-Noon at Columbia Basin College at the designated “Free Speech Zone.” The purpose of the rally is to challenge the campus policies that limit free speech to a small portion of college.
“Public universities are not private businesses,” Benton/Franklin County Libertarians Treasurer Ryan Cooper said. “People have a right to exercise free speech at CBC without prior notice and in a location outside of the so-called ‘free speech area.’”
The CBC policies, as outlined in WAC 132S-400-115 Use of Facilities, limits free speech at CBC to a small, remote concrete area away from students. This policy also requires that groups register with CBC security 24 hours before an event, which is limited to 5 hours. Participants are required to provide their names, addresses, and phone numbers to campus security before making the reservation.
“This policy goes beyond reasonable time, place and manner restrictions as outlined by the courts,” Cooper said. “If challenged in court, this policy would be ruled unconstitutional.”
In the past 20 years, over 20 lawsuits have been filed by students against these free speech zones. The courts have consistently ruled against free speech zones every time. Cooper has first-hand experience with this issue, having won a similar free speech lawsuit in 2003 (Cooper vs Keiser) at his alma mater, Missouri State University.
Student, faculty, and the public are invited to this free event and to show their support for the First Amendment. An oversized “free speech beach ball” will be at the event, along with free pocket sized constitutions to the first 50 people.
The Libertarian Party is the largest and oldest third party in America. It’s the only political party that supports 100 percent of your liberties 100 percent of the time. The Benton/Franklin County Libertarian Party meets monthly in the Tri-Cities and is affiliated with the Libertarian Party of Washington. For more information about the LPWA, visit www.lpwa.org.