YAF students scored a major victory in a vital free speech case on Friday when a federal judge presiding over their lawsuit against Clovis Community College in Fresno, California, granted their request for a preliminary injunction. Leftist school administrators had attempted to silence the YAF chapter by declaring their posters depicting basic truths about communism to be “offensive.” Offensive to whom, exactly – communists?
As if schilling for communists wasn’t bad enough, the leftist school administrators next prevented the YAF chapter from posting pro-life flyers on campus. Brave YAFers Alejandro Flores, Daniel Flores, and Juliette Colunga refused to be cowed. They demanded the court enjoin administrators from enforcing the unconstitutional flyer policy, and the judge agreed – spending 32 pages explaining why.
The judge found the students were likely to succeed on the merits of the case because the school’s so-called policy regarding pre-approval of student messaging was likely both overbroad and impermissibly vague in violation of the First Amendment. She stated that “[t]he terms ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ lack a commonly understood meaning such that students are left to guess what speech violates the Flyer Policy.” The judge also found that the public interest weighed in favor of enjoining the flyer policy. Finally, the judge ridiculed the defendants for claiming their “free speech kiosk” might be an adequate alternative for dissemination of views, when the school purposely located the kiosk in the hinterlands of the campus to marginalize “controversial” ideas.
This important victory bodes well for the ultimate resolution of the case. Conservative students at college campuses across America too often face restrictions on their speech that are harmful and disheartening. As the judge in the present case noted, “[e]ven a temporary restriction on speech and even for minimal periods of time constitutes irreparable injury.” YAF and our brave students will continue to fight and use legal action wherever necessary to defend free speech and restore the essential marketplace of ideas the vast majority of colleges are failing to promote and protect.