Free speech policy gets reworking

By Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat January 10, 2014 11:30 am

The Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees on Wednesday introduced its newly-phrased policy on free speech, after drawing criticism in September that led to a lawsuit. 

It was the first meeting run by Lynn Martin, of Sonora, former Columbia College counselor and instructor, who was recently elected board chairwoman. 

Martin has served on the board since 2010, representing “Area 1,” including Tuolumne County, eastern Stanislaus County and parts of Calaveras counties. She was selected chairwoman at the its annual organizational meeting in December and succeeds chairman Abe Rojas, of Turlock. 

The meeting saw the first reading of the district’s revised “Time, Place and Manner” policy governing free speech on district property. 

The district drew national attention after Army veteran Robert Van Tuinen, a student at its Modesto Junior College campus, was prevented from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, which is Constitution Day.

Van Tuinen sued the district, claiming infringements on his First Amendment rights protecting free speech. Talks over the lawsuit continued Wednesday in closed session. 

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.