The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Case gives TCC opportunity

By Steve knight/editor-in-chief

TCC administrators: I hate to say we told you so. But we told you so.

A federal court Nov. 6 ordered TCC to change its policy temporarily concerning student demonstrations.

In a May 6 Collegian editorial, we recommended that the administration look at other universities’ student demonstration policies to see if they could be adapted for use at TCC or else the district might face litigation in the future.

Obviously, that recommendation was ignored by an administration that says it is transparent and open.

“Sooner or later, an organization or individual is going to take the college to court to challenge the constitutionality of the free speech zones, costing students and taxpayers money,” the editorial said. “It’s a case TCC most likely will not win.”

And in just six months, here we are.

The administration needs to listen to its students more carefully in the future.

But for now, let’s see if we can find a solution to this problem.

In a 2004 lawsuit against Texas Tech brought by law student Jason Roberts and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a federal judge found that Tech’s free speech zone, a 20-foot-wide gazebo, was unconstitutional.

The judge, finding that the prior permission policy requiring two days advance notice was also unconstitutional, ordered the university to provide permission-free alternative locations.

In October, under pressure from FIRE and the student newspaper North Texas Daily, University of North Texas officials eliminated free speech zones.

I believe a pattern is emerging here.

I wish TCC administrators would also see the pattern instead of paying lawyers to try a case they cannot win.

TCC needs to prepare to lose this case.

If the safety of students, faculty and staff is the paramount issue, TCC needs to plan accordingly and immediately for life under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Talk to the people at Texas Tech and UNT and find out how they keep their students safe under the no-free-speech-zone rules.

Then, stop paying lawyers and settle this case right now.

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