On the heels of previous complaints about Tarrant County College’s extreme restrictions on free expression, two students and SCCC members filed suit in federal court against the college on Tuesday. The lawsuit was conducted through the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and American Civil Liberties Union, and sought a temporary restraining order against the college’s censorship of students’ participation in SCCC’s “Empty Holster Protest,” the symbolic protest against anti-defense policies on campus.
The college forced students to stay within a confined zone to distribute pro-defense literature, and prohibited the empty holsters.
On November 6, Judge Terry R. Means granted the temporary restraining order, allowing TCC students to participate in the event.
“Free speech isn’t free anymore when you’re telling students to stay inside a little box,” said David Burnett, a spokesman for the group. “It’s not like these students wanted to disrupt class. They wanted to engage their classmates out in the open about their cause. We ‘re pleased that the court sided with our members, but it’s unfortunate that it had to end up in court to begin with. Colleges shouldn’t have the ability to suspend human rights, whether it’s the right to free speech or the right to self-defense.”
A hearing is set for November 16.
FIRE: Students File Lawsuit Challenging ‘Free Speech Zone’ After Repeated Censorship of Pro-Gun ‘Empty Holster’ Protest
Ft. Worth Star Telegram: Federal lawsuit filed against TCC’s free-speech zones
Houston Chronicle: College can’t restrict empty-holster demonstration