Leaders of Clovis Community College's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom have filed the federal lawsuit against several college administrators for violating their free speech rights.
"They faced targeted ideological discrimination after hanging up their Freedom Week initiative flyers," reports Kara Zupkus, a spokeswoman for Young America's Foundation (YAF), the sister organization of Young Americans for Freedom. "The school also denied them hanging up their pro-life posters around campus and tried to haphazardly rewrite policy rules to try and prevent these students from exercising their free speech rights."
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is representing the students in the case known as Flores v. Bennett.
YAF details that Alejandro Flores, chairman of the Clovis YAF chapter and a plaintiff named in the suit – along with peers Juliette Colunga and Daniel Flores – is determined to hold his school accountable after witnessing firsthand the viewpoint discrimination his chapter faced.
"Our goal with this lawsuit is to ensure that everyone has the right to free expression," says Flores. "When administrators pick and choose what speech is acceptable, you no longer have free speech."
"Clovis Community College's policy and its application are illegal, and FIRE won't let them get away with it," FIRE attorney Gabe Walters asserts. "Clovis administrators 'gladly' removed flyers they found offensive, and we're gladly suing them to protect Alejandro, Juliette, and Daniel's rights—and those of all students."
AFN is seeking comment from the school.
Meanwhile, Zupkus says these types of free speech violations happen more regularly than one might think.
"We are grateful that we are able to address this in a court of law, but unfortunately, this really happens on pretty much a daily basis for a lot of conservative students across the country," she laments.
YAF President Scott Walker confirms that free speech is "under attack" on campuses throughout the nation. In this case, he says the school's leadership violated the First Amendment, which is why his organization is "proud" to partner with FIRE on this lawsuit and put schools nationwide on notice that conservatives will not be bullied into silence and submission.