A Los Angeles college student who sued his school for allegedly curbing his right to free speech after it prevented him from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution was vindicated in court this week.
The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), which represents nine schools, including Pierce College, agreed on Wednesday to settle a lawsuit filed against them last year by student Kevin Shaw after he was barred from passing out copies of the document because he wasn’t in the school’s designated “free speech zone,” which measured 616 square feet or about the size of three parking spaces.
As a part of the settlement, the tiny area marked for students to exercise their first amendment rights will be abandoned altogether, revoking a district-wide policy that declared all property on the district’s nine campuses to be “non-public forums” with speech restrictions. As part of the settlement, LACCD will pay Shaw’s $225,000 in attorney fees.
“Though it was not without its difficulties, this experience has left me optimistic about the guiding principles of my country,” said Shaw in a statement provided to Fox News. “Folks of all political dispositions rallied behind this case to declare in no uncertain terms: freedom of speech is essential to the educational process.”
It was just before the general election in November 2016 when Shaw had attempted to distribute Spanish-language copies of the Constitution during a recruiting drive for his student group, a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty on the main quad at Pierce College. An administrator told him he could not distribute literature outside the designated zone. Shaw said at the time he was also told that he would have to fill out a permit application to use the free speech zone and would be asked to leave campus if he refused to comply.
Kevin is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles, and Region Chair of the San Fernando Valley region of the LPCA.