Seattle Community College District Scales Back Rules For Protests

Ann McClure's picture

The Seattle Community College District has backed away from a rule change that would have restricted protests on the district's three community-college campuses — a proposal that in itself brought protests from faculty and students who questioned whether it was constitutional.

"This is a major improvement," said Doug Honig, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "The chancellor has abandoned the several proposals that had serious constitutional problems, and we don't object to what's being proposed now."

The earlier proposal would have required nonstudent protesters to register with campus security 24 hours in advance, allowed each protester only one sign that could be no larger than 3 feet by 5 feet, and restricted protests to certain locations on each campus.

Students, faculty and the ACLU had argued that the rules would restrict free speech and could violate both the state and federal constitutions. They expressed a particular concern that the rules would affect the Seattle Central Community College campus, on Capitol Hill, which was the site of the Occupy Seattle encampment last year and has been a magnet for student and community activism for many years.

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