Pittsburgh-Area College Fails to Remedy Violations of Concealed Carry Advocate’s Free Speech
As we explained last week in our press release, Christine Brashier, a student at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), was threatened with disciplinary action after she distributed pamphlets to her classmates in an attempt to start a gun-rights group on campus. For doing so, she has been threatened with disciplinary action. Two CCAC deans told her that she had engaged in prohibited “soliciting” and they demanded that she cease her efforts to start the club. They characterized her efforts as “academic misconduct” that would not be tolerated, while Dean Yvonne Burns reportedly went so far as to say, “You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us.”
FIRE wrote CCAC President Alex Johnson on April 29 about these violations of Brashier’s First Amendment speech and association rights and requested a response by May 13. After one month without a substantive response, FIRE launched an intense media campaign last week in order to seek justice in Christine's case. The campaign quickly garnered stories in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, radio time from the National Rifle Association, several stories in the Associated Press, and stories in many other media outlets. The increased public pressure led the CCAC Board Chairman to publically apologize tto FIRE for taking so long to respond. This week, FIRE finally received a response from Allegheny County Solicitor Mike Adams. This deeply unsatisfactory response attempted to defend the CCAC’s unconstitutional policies and ignored most of the very troubling conversation between Brashier and the deans. As FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said in today's press release, “CCAC’s response was a transparent attempt to defend the indefensible. The college’s justifications for its censorship of Christine Brashier are not only unconstitutional, they are absurd.”
Read the full press release »
By writing to the Allegheny County Solicitor and the CCAC administration, you can help us reach justice in this case. Explain that the public will not tolerate the school's continued efforts to trample the rights of its students. Demand that CCAC do the right thing and dismantle the policies that are unconstitutional roadblocks to free speech on campus.