- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2022

A California community college’s president “invented” reasons to restrict a conservative student group’s fliers criticizing communist dictatorships, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

Three Clovis Community College students allege in the suit that President Lori Bennett relocated their school-approved fliers to a “free speech kiosk” in a remote part of campus last year after pointing out in an email they didn’t advertise a specific club event, despite no policy requiring that.

The school also denied permission for the Young Americans for Freedom students to post anti-abortion fliers, according to the complaint.

“No reasonable public college administrator would deny students the right to hang [fliers] where other students are permitted to do so because of the political or social viewpoints the [fliers] express,” the complaint states.

Students Alejandro Flores, Daniel Flores and Juliette Colunga are seeking an unspecified amount in damages and a declaration that the policy violates their First Amendment right to equal treatment.

Clovis Community College had no comment.

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According to the lawsuit, the school’s flier policy forbidding “inappropriate” language or themes that give “offense” is “unconstitutionally vague.”

The complaint quotes an email from Ms. Bennett justifying her decision to move the anti-communist fliers associating China, North Korea, Vietnam and other nations with the “blind arrogance of the left.”

“If you need a reason, you can let them know that [we] agreed they aren’t club announcements,” Bennett wrote, according to the suit.

The fliers came from the student group’s parent organization, Young America’s Foundation.

Attorneys from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a nonpartisan free speech group, are representing them in court.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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