The Latest: District stands behind right to free expression

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Posted: Mar 28, 2017 8:37 PM
The Latest: District stands behind right to free expression

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on a lawsuit over free-speech zones at colleges (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

A California district where a college has been sued over its policy limiting where protests can occur says it "stands behind every student's right to free expression."

On some U.S. college campuses, students are allowed to protest and distribute flyers only in free-speech zones. Supporters say it's a way to protect against disruptions. Opponents call it censorship.

A student Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles Pierce College's free-speech area. Kevin Shaw says the community college violated his First Amendment rights when he was barred from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution because he wasn't in the free-speech zone, an outdoor area the size of three parking spaces.

Phone calls to the college haven't been returned.

The Los Angeles Community College District says it won't comment further on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is part of national campaign by a Philadelphia free-speech group.

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3 p.m.

So-called "free speech zones" on college campuses are facing renewed scrutiny from lawmakers and students.

A 27-year-old student at Los Angeles Pierce College is suing the school in federal court over policies that limit free speech to an area about the size of three parking spaces.

Student Kevin Shaw says his rights were violated when he was stopped from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution because he wasn't in the area.

Supporters say the practice protects free speech without disrupting the school and regulates outsiders who come to campus. Critics call it censorship.

It became common in the 1960s as a way to control campus protests against the Vietnam War.

Lawmakers in Colorado and Utah recently approved bills that would end the practice and expand free speech protections.