Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Uh Oh

Berkeley administrators' snack?
UC Berkeley administrators canceled a scheduled speech by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, saying they can’t protect participants from rioting if it goes ahead — but the students who invited her, and Coulter herself, said Wednesday that she’ll come anyway, and speak on or off campus.
If she does show up next Thursday, “We will continue to do what is necessary to provide safety and security for the campus community and our neighbors,” said Dan Mogulof, a campus spokesman. He would not elaborate.
The standoff began Wednesday after vice chancellors Scott Biddy and Stephen Sutton emailed the student groups co-hosting the event — the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA, which gets students with political differences to listen to each other — to say the event was off until September at the earliest...
The accusation comes as state lawmakers debate a Republican-sponsored bill that would ban colleges and universities from taking actions that would stifle students’ expression. On Wednesday, the bill, SB472, passed the Senate Education Committee with a 7-0 vote. It now heads to a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week...
Summary of SB472:
...Existing law prohibits the Regents of the University of California, the Trustees of the California State University, and the governing board of a community college district from making or enforcing a rule subjecting a student to disciplinary sanction solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that is protected by specified provisions of the United States Constitution and the California Constitution.
This bill would enact the Campus Free Expression Act. The bill would declare that the outdoor areas of public postsecondary institutions are traditional public forums. The bill would provide that a public postsecondary institution may maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions only when those restrictions are narrowly tailored in service of a significant institutional interest only when those restrictions interest, employ clear, published, content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression. The bill would require these restrictions to allow for members of the campus community to spontaneously and contemporaneously distribute literature and assemble. The bill would further require that a person who wishes to engage in expressive activity on the campus of a public postsecondary institution be permitted to do so freely, as long as that person’s conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the institution.
The bill would authorize the Attorney General and a person whose right to engage in expressive activity was infringed through a violation of these provisions to bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction within one year after the date that a cause of action accrues, as specified. The bill would require a court that finds a violation of these provisions to award aggrieved persons damages of no less than $500 for an initial violation, plus $50 for each day the violation remains ongoing. ongoing, which shall accrue starting on the day after the complaint is served on the institution. The bill would set the maximum damages that an aggrieved person, or set of aggrieved persons, may receive in a case or cases stemming from a single controversy at $250,000...

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