HOLY COW! College bars student from handing out Constitution on Constitution Day

This is unbelievable!

FOX NEWS – The Constitution guarantees the right to free speech, but don’t try to pass out copies of it at Modesto Junior College in California.

A student at the school who tried to pass out pocket-size pamphlets of the very document that memorializes our rights got shut down on Sept. 17 – a date also known as Constitution Day.

Campus authorities told 25-year-old Robert Van Tuinen, who caught the whole thing on videotape, he could only pass out the free documents at a tiny designated spot on campus, and only then if he scheduled it several days in advance.

“Watching the video is a combination of depressing and nauseating, to see what rigamarole students have to go through just to express themselves on campus,” said Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has taken on campus speech codes around the nation.

Van Tuinen, who said he’d read up on the school’s regulations and expected to get chased away from outside the student center, went to FIRE with the video. The foundation penned an email letter to the school’s administration on Van Tuinen’s behalf early Thursday, but Shibley said there had been no response later in the day.

A spokeswoman for the college tells FoxNews.com that students and the general public are permitted to pass out materials in areas on campus that are generally available to the public, as long as they do not disrupt the orderly operations of the college.

“In the case of the YouTube video, it does not appear that the student was disrupting the orderly operations of the college and therefore we are looking into the incident,” Modesto Junior College Marketing and Public Relations officer Linda Hoile said.

In the video, Van Tuinen is confronted by an unidentified campus police officer within minutes of passing out the pamphlets. When he protests, he is told “there are rules.”

“But do you know what this is?” he asks. “What are the rules? Why are the rules tied to my free speech?”

Van Tuinen explains that he wants to start an organization called Young Americans for Liberty.

“That’s fine, but if you’re going to start an organization like that you have to go through the rigamarole,” the police officer tells him.

“It was a tense situation,” Van Tuinen, who is from Modesto, told FoxNews.com. “To be told I can’t do something as basic as handing out the Constitution was frustrating.”


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  • tinker_thinker

    Unbelievable. heartbreaking..

  • Rshill7

    Maybe if that Constitution were written on a free condom it would be peachy keen? He could hand those little balloons out all day long couldn’t he…until they noticed the Constitution part of course.

    The wheels are coming off of our American buggy. It’s becoming a sled.

    • DawgfaninFL

      You beat me to it, Rs! I was going to say the same. 🙂

  • proudhispanicconservative

    Its california nothing from there shock me anymore. Bureaucracy has to be served.

    • tinlizzieowner

      Me neither and I lived there (off and on), from 1948 to 1997. 🙁

      • proudhispanicconservative

        Good for you, you escaped!!!!

        • tinlizzieowner

          My late step dad used to call himself a ‘California tax exile’. He was born in California. They left in the early 90’s. I left in 97, my daughter and her husband left in 2001.

  • Amjean

    Thus far, evil is winning. Very sad.


    disgraceful. I’m glad the young man took the proper steps to have this school investigated for its anti American free speech stance.
    These students need to expose every school that infringes on their Constitutional rights.
    Sure its OK to express yourself as much as you want to, but be sure to leave your American ideals, rights, and bibles at home.

  • DawgfaninFL

    First place I ever skydived was in Modesto. I, unfortunately, lived in Stockton for a year. If the kid wants a chance, leave that place. It’s a wasteland of liberals.

    • Betsey_Ross

      All the more reason I would not be too upset if Cali just dropped into the ocean at the San Andreas Fault line.


    Hey guys have you heard about The American Center For Law And Justice (ACLJ). Jay Sekulow, this week won the court battle against the group FFR? whey wanted the phrase “In God We Trust” removed from Americas currency, claiming it was Unconstitutional?

    We can win these fights as long as we stay engaged.

    Never Give Up!

  • ryanomaniac

    That damn Constitution! How dare that document exist. It only created a country where they could try and pull this off. Maybe they would like to go to Moscow University and tell them they can’t have their constitution on campus. Putin would crush their little @&$%* @#$’s.

  • ArchAng3l

    “SHOW YOUR PAPERS!!!” before you can pass out the Constitution

  • Betsey_Ross

    Just remember that the Constitution is a racist document. Until Obama/Holder are out of there this is what is going to happen.

    Even in our conservative county the Tea Party cannot put their logo on any Constitutions that are given to the high school government classes. We wanted a little publicity and the local TV station came out to the HS to interview our members. HS wouldn’t let it happen.

  • higgy01

    It figures this would happen in left coast California. I doubt the administration or any of the faculty of Modesto junior college has ever read the United States Constitution, especially the bill of rights. If this wasn’t such a sad commentary on the condition of supposedly the brighter, more objective part of society it would be funny.

  • virginiagentleman1

    What does it say about a society when the very basis of that society, the Constitution, is unwelcome at an institution of LEARNING?

    Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence, it has happened before at America’s colleges, and sadly, it will happen again.

    What must be understood is that ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH” has been so fractured and diluted over time, that only the socialist point of view is accepted as “free”.

    All else is heresy and an infringement of some minority groups ‘rights’, as those rights are judged these days by a compliant media, a corrupt court system, and purchased politicians.

    Consider that it is quite okay to take a group of students to a mosque, or, a Buddhist temple, but it is anti-‘something/someone or another’, if you take those same students to a Jewish Synagogue or a Christian Church.

    In this day of ‘ALTERNATIVES’, traditional lifestyles and traditions are portrayed as ‘anti’ to some tiny minority, and therefor must be banned. New and often perverted practices are encouraged in their place as ‘normal’.

    Atheism and Islam have been elevated as almost sacred to ‘protecting’ the rights of the oppressed, but Christianity and Judaism are now considered to be the unwanted oppressors of the masses?

    The Constitution allows one to choose one’s own life and lifestyle, with almost no exceptions. The “NEW NORMAL” of socialism allows only certain ‘pre-approved’ choices.
    Is it any wonder why such ‘inflammatory’ material as the Constitution is frowned upon by institutions dedicated to producing good little marxists?

  • MiketheMarine

    Any attornies out there who happen to be patriots needs to, immediately sue that police officer for violating that kids 1st ammendment. and the school too.

  • Speechless…

  • badbadlibs

    When I was in HS we had to memorize the preamble. I wonder if HS students today even know what that is? My US history class created the foundation of my love for this country. Today I dare say that would be nearly impossible to accomplish in the public school system.
    So, it’s “blue shirts” today, instead of brown. Still accomplishing the same thing.

  • Stehekin912

    Wow. When I was in college (a zillion years ago), the Communists were literally handing out flyers everywere as were the animal protection groups and you name it. Communists were in the Student Union, on the Quad and went door to door in the dorms selling their newspaper. Nobody stopped them. I wonder if this young patriot would have been stopped if he was handing out Communist pamphlets.

  • OldmanRick

    Tell me again that the Marxists haven’t gained control of our educational system. Seems Khrushchev was correct back in the day.

  • lawngren

    Welcome to Russamerica.

  • The disdain in her voice when she says constitution. Ick.

    I handed out Constitutions on Constitution Day in college every year. That was only 2 years ago too. I went to the University of Texas though so I guess it’s different when you have a state government right across the street that champions liberty.

  • Yazz55

    He should’ve told the blueshirt that he was distributing the koran. Betcha the results would have been ummmmm, well ahhhhhhh…lets say a bit different.

  • PNWShan

    Reading about this elsewhere, I found the description of the “free speech area” laughable: a very small few feet of ground that fits two people and it’s not in the main traffic area, and you have to sign up to use it.
    In the Soviet Union, they had a constitution; they even ‘guaranteed’ certain rights. Only, they way they allowed people to exercise those rights was curtailed in the extreme … just like this college and free speech.

  • 1tootall

    Your headline is not correct…,

  • sjmom

    Wonder what would’ve happened if he was handing out Obamacare pamphlets? Oh right, they’re probably passing out that propaganda in class. This was over the top and I hope FIRE lights a fire in this situation.

  • bahamianhoosier

    “copy of photo id”…RACISTS!!!!

  • iaintlyin

    ANOTHER example of what to expect when your cop neighbor is given the order to round up the guns. Another example of the police state we live in, cultivated by the public unions being in bed with the political left. We are not far from mimicking what is going on in Syria right now

  • bahamianhoosier

    Seriously though, now I have to set up an appointment to enjoy my free speech?! In a small designated cemented area?! America is officially dead!!

    • tinlizzieowner

      That’s the ‘free speech area’, as opposed to the rest of the college which is the ‘liberal speak’ area.
      Do you really think anybody would have stopped him if he was handing out The Communist Manifesto’ or ‘The Koran’? That would have violated his ‘right to free expression’ and there would have been protests all over the place.

    • CalCoolidge

      I don’t think free speech necessarily extends to when you are standing on someone else’s land. Could I walk into your kitchen and start passing out papers?

  • Marky_D

    This whole ugly episode could have been avoided if the student had just explained that he was trying to set up the ”young pro abortion Marxists of America ~ dedicated to destroying the great satan from within” club.
    He would have had a free pass for his entire student life.

  • Laurel

    What I want to know is if the rules are selectively enforced or equally enforced.

    • kong1967

      It didn’t appear to me like the officer or the lady he talked to had a problem with the content being the Constitution. The lady even said it on the phone to whoever she was asking direction from. They were just enforcing stupid rules.

      It was pretty slick to throw the Constitution in there as the material to make his point about the rules violating freedom of speech. But that does not mean he was targeted because it was the Constitution. I don’t believe he was.

      • Laurel

        The problem is it’s not a two way street. Every college campus in America is infected with radical leftists and their groups and they get free passes and selective enforcement. The rule itself is a little over the top in my view. He is handing out pamphlets not organizing a rally or march.

        • kong1967

          I agree about the rules being over the top, but we can’t say that it’s not a two way street without evidence. A generalization about colleges nationwide doesn’t prove anything although it’s generally correct. We don’t know one way or the other. They could allow Marxist material to be distributed, but I can’t see it so I can’t accuse it.

          You are definitely right that colleges are infected with radical leftists.

          • Laurel

            Yes it’s a generalization but it is a one made with an established pattern of evidence across the nation. I don’t blame the woman or the cop…I blame policy and who is writing it. They were doing their jobs.

            And as I said, Modesto has a lot of illegal immigrant activists. I live here so trust me I know. I bet there will be more to come from this campus and kid. He set this up and filmed it for a reason. If this was one isolated incident he wouldn’t of bothered.

            • kong1967

              You said it. It’s the policy that needs to be addressed, which is saying this kid wasn’t stopped just because it was the Constitution that was being distributed, but because they have stupid rules and policies. I agree the kid set it up because he wanted to expose the school, and it was genius to use the Constitution to make a point.

              I think we agree.

              • Laurel

                I think so too.

    • CalCoolidge

      There doesn’t seem to be anyone else handing out flyers.

      • Laurel

        I mean on other occasions, or in general, not this one in particular. I know for a fact there are a lot of illegal immigrant activists there in Modesto.

  • RobertOfFremont

    We now see what life is becoming in America. I’ve only recently come to the realization that those who revere the founding of our nation and the constitution are seen as extremists by most Americans. I think this is largly due to the federal takeover of k-12 education in the 1970’s. Ronald Reagan tried hard to defund the NEA but sadly was defeated by Tip O’neal and the Democrat party.

  • snyper77

    Add the NEA to the list of de-funding.

  • 57thunderbird

    I bet if he were handing out copies of the Communist Manifesto there would have been no problem.

    • Rocco11

      or the Koran

      • CalCoolidge

        The guard doesn’t seem interested in the content.

    • kong1967

      I think using the Constitution was a good idea to point out that the stupid rules violate people’s freedom of speech because they have to be represented by a club or shut up. It proves his point, but neither the lady or the officer had a problem with the content. They were just trying to enforce stupid campus rules.

  • warpmine

    C’mon man, in the Soviet Union, you have to have permission to say something and you best not bad mouth the country.

  • warpmine

    Seriously folks, why go to college for “higher learning” because when you attend you will in fact become dumber as the more classes you attend until such a point as you graduate with a degree in leftist propaganda.

    Free speech areas?????????

  • kong1967

    From the response given by the college I don’t think they had a vendetta against the Constitution. For all we know, he could have been passing out a “campus safety” pamphlet and still be shut down. It would be rather easy to make this look like something it’s not…..and that’s deceiving. Stupid rule maybe, but not an intentional targeting of the Constitution.

  • DebbyX

    Unfreaking believable!

    I’m speechless, just like the student.

  • kong1967

    Lol, I love you all but I think you’re all jumping to conclusions that aren’t accurate.

    I think the student intentionally used the Constitution to make a point about the stupid rules violating people’s freedom of speech, and it’s a genius way to make the point.

    But that doesn’t mean he was targeted just because he was distributing the Constitution. That’s an assumption, and if you listen to both the officer and the lady in the office neither one had a problem with the content being the Constitution.

    • CalCoolidge

      You might be right about his intent.

      • kong1967

        If I’m right it was a very good idea (by the student). Show the school shutting down the document that gives us freedom of speech. Genius.

        • CalCoolidge

          Yeah, but common sense should tell us that when we enter an agreement, we may not be free to exercise every possible right. For example, I would be very surprised If there wasn’t a student agreement in which the young man agreed to abide by the rules.

          • kong1967

            Yeah, we just don’t know and I agree. We are not free to say whatever we want whenever we want. Well, you can but you will have consequences in many cases, like yelling “fire” in a theater.

            What I do know is that we cannot say that the college shut this down just because it was the Constitution that was being distributed. All I saw was college employees enforcing the rules. Others have made the claim that it would be ok if it was the Marxist handbook or something, but they probably would have shut that down as well. Rules.

            • RevnantDream

              Well, you can but you will have consequences in many cases, like yelling “fire” in a theatre.

              What if there is a fire in a theatre?

              Would you not be held liable for the deaths of people, if you don’t yell?
              I think not allowing a strident to pass out the legitimate Constitution of the Land on the very celebration of that document is a real threat. Its a political fire that burns down a Nation.
              As someone said here, passing out korans would have been no problem. Nor do I suspect Marxist literature.
              I’m Canadian, & am aghast at this.
              We see the same inverted logic here.
              Equality becomes a caste system for Collectivism. By colour, gender or even sexual acts.Inclusiveness becomes the vehicle of exclusion, except for connected groups. Tolerance is run by the biggest bullies.
              Procedure is the police station of repressing individual freedom. Censorship is regulated by rules of conduct for the few who are not above the law.
              The entire West is burning while the leftists fiddle away our heritage of free peoples for the authoritarianism of political tyranny in the name of an all powerful State.

              • kong1967

                You knew what I meant about the fire example….if there wasn’t really a fire. They might just kick you out, but the point is there’s a consequence and people don’t just have to let you say whatever you want and take it just because we have freedom of speech.

                I don’t quarrel with the rest of what you said, but it really doesn’t have much to do with this video. You are assuming they would allow him to pass around Marxist literature, but there’s no evidence of that. Not that I would doubt it, but it’s just not here. My only point here is that the officer and the woman in the office were just doing their jobs. They didn’t shut him down just because he was distributing the Constitution. I would believe in a second that liberal policies are instituted and that’s what the student was pointing out, but those were written by college administrators, not by the guard that shut him down.

                • RevnantDream

                  I will go with what Mark Steyn says about the theatre Cliché

                  Droning Cliches in a Burning Theater


                • kong1967

                  I don’t know why you’re stuck on the fire in the theater example. I don’t need that for you to know that even though we have freedom of speech, you can be punished for what you say.

                  Point is, the guy was stopped for distributing ANY material without going through a club….or whatever their stupid rules are. It had nothing to do with the content. He didn’t follow their stupid rules. If you think they would allow the distribution of Marxist material, prove it. Go to the college and try it. I can’t come to that conclusion out of thin air like you are. Would I be surprised if they allowed it? Not at all, because colleges are leftist indoctrination camps.

                • RevnantDream

                  All I can say is here in Canada this is a regular event at campuses. You can’t bring a bible near the college, but korans are fine. Included Government paid foot baths, Islam taugt in classes.They forbid people or scholars that say the truth about Islam. But allow Western hating speakers. Those even that call for the down fall of the government, while dissing our armed forces.Ones who think paedophilia is just great. Than ban anti abortion groups. Socialism is fine ,but anyone who stands for Natural Law or free speech is demonized. Banned , kicked out.
                  The free speech areas are routinely invaded by security if not collectivist. Free speech or pro-gun displays destroyed without any consequences. Just go against the gay agenda though & your banished.

                • kong1967

                  I’m not disagreeing with any of that and all of that’s despicable. But there’s not enough information here to know if that’s what happened. If the student had mentioned that they allowed other content to be distributed when they weren’t part of a club, then I’d change my tune. There’s just no mention of that.

                • kong1967

                  By the way, I don’t mean to sound like I’m against the things you say. I agree with you about how colleges are. I just can’t assume that’s what happened here without proof. You are right on about colleges in general.

    • dabbobean

      But if they were smart employees and didn’t want to open up their institution for an embarrassing lawsuit….. They should have said….oh it’s the US Constitution why didn’t you say so…..Happy Constitution day!

      • kong1967

        True, but you know how schools have gone to “zero tolerance” policies with so many things. They don’t use their brains.

  • CalCoolidge

    I think this is a BS story. Free speech does not extend onto someone else’s land. And no one was stopping him from expressing himself. They stopped him from handing out documents that originated off campus.
    There are plenty of example of college tyranny. This isn’t one of them.

  • Of course the need a tiny, designated space. If you let people know you’re passing out “free documents” in California, you can expect a huge crowd of illegal aliens.

    • CalCoolidge


  • harglide

    Hey RS, how long is this post going to stay on here with so much else going on?
    Just wondering………….
    It seems like lately there are a few “top” stories, that last beyond top……
    Just sayin………

  • 2besusie

    It seems that everyday I read more stories like this, and I’ve gotten to the point that I literally cry.

    I have such pride in being an American, and yet I despair for our future.

  • ColonelNeville

    They are classic leftists who gravitate towards academia, government, entertainment and so on, and then use fraudulent bureaucratic red tape to make it exhausting and virtually impossible to do any effective dissent against their power. It’s how the Soviets and all Marxist socialist left regimes worked and this is where the left get all their merely repackaged ideas and products from. Everything is forbidden unless allowed.

    She had utter two-faced contempt for this student. He should have handed out pro Hamas or homosexual circus day junk and she would have been interested in it, they would have left him alone and he could have got a grant for “cultural outreach”. zombietime com, thepeoplescube com, discoverthenetworks org, No, really.

  • Subie201

    Wonder if they would have done the same if some guy was passing out copies of the Kuran???

    • NPC

      Not no, but hell no.

  • standbesideherUSA

    We can only hope and pray that MORE brave, decent and intelligent young people, like this young man, are beginning to see that ”free speech” only applies to the Obama-lama-ding-dong liberal lap-dogs…..(like those who defecate on police vehicles and commit rape in a public arena, among other unspeakable ”free speech”, law-breaking, activities.)

    Heaven help us all that this patriotic young man wants to talk to fellow students about the document that made this country the greatest nation on earth!

    The future belongs to these young people. They must fight the good fight sooner rather than later, for their own sakes. Keep it up, son.

    We have your back.

  • bjohnson55

    Good Lord it took an act of Dysfunctional Congress (make that Senate, freaking John McCain) to get back onto this chat since the change to Disqus.

  • TheBeaver

    This could easily have been a scene from the Cold War era in a Soviet or Eastern bloc republic.
    What in Gods name is happening to this country?

  • spin43

    But John McShame says this only happens in a country like Putin’s Russia.

  • spin43

    Try handing out the Communist Manifesto and claim you are an illegal alien on welfare. Then they will let you do what you please.

    • 12grace

      It’s upside down. right is wrong and wrong is right.

  • Dr. Strangelove

    It would be interesting to conduct an experiment where on opposite corners of a campus, one guy hands out Christian tracts, one constitutions, one korans and another alinkyite material and see which ones get chased off first. Or at all.

    • 12grace

      Exactly right, DS.

  • 12grace

    I’m sorry for the Americans that live in California as it seems that state is completely gone to the leftist regime. I wonder if they are allowed to hand out the koran? or Alysky books like “Rules for Radicals”? Or Hitler’s manual that taught that killing Jews was appropriate. G-d help us!

  • Swamp Fox

    Among other things, if this school receives any federal funds, it should be cut off from receiving any in the future. As if that would ever happen.

  • Larchmonter445

    The Constitution is like garlic and the Holy Cross to American education. The concepts embodied in the Bill of Rights are steeped in God-based human rights, so these are the evils challenging the godless Cult of Liberalism.

    It is not simple ignorance. It is the exact jihad-like mentality of Islamic loons who cannot abide a rich philosophical Liberty way of life. True Freedom for others, Liberty for All, Individual responsibility and Free Market with unequal results but equal opportunity to live and prosper by dint of sweat, innovation and perseverance are guarantees the Big Government Cult despise.

    Barring the greatest document written in behalf of Freedom and against Tyranny is, thus, normal, routine and mandatory Cult behavior. Expect your children’s education to lack the Constitution and its guarantees. You submit your children to the Cult and their rights are suspended, their minds washed and reprogrammed with love of Cult, Big government, and the incompetent, weak, debased leadership capturing most social and legal institutions in America.

    Jefferson and Franklin warned us. Most Americans don’t head the warnings. Eisenhower and Washington both warned us as they left the Presidency. Heed the warnings. Read the documents. Understand that there is no greater threat to your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness than government and this Cult Ideology.

  • sallyjohanna

    Free speech is relegated to an area..police officer profiled his demeanor, was there to create a “problem”! Haha..the policeman looked very uncomfortable himself, He needs to show proof with and ID, ironic since you don’t even need one to vote! Schedule an appointment for the time, place and manner area.

    This school is living in fear of the Socialist Progressives politically correct doctrine..they are just an example of what all of America is experiencing….the loss of free speech in fear of retaliation. Hold on to your seats….the more they take away our freedoms the more miserable our futures and lives will become.

    When is enough is enough going to commence???

    • tinlizzieowner

      Exactly. You know as well as I do that if this had been a ‘Bush’ protest, a Save the Wales protest, an ‘OWS’ protest, a ‘civil rights’ protest, a ‘Free Korans’ protest, or any other ‘progressive’ protest, people would marching all over the campus and ‘security’ wouldn’t do a damn thing about it.

  • Luker410

    Passing out revolutionary documents will not be tolerated in the Progressive States of America. Wait until he sees his tax bill for next year…

  • aposematic

    Wouldn’t want anything like actually reading the US Constitution to screw up all the hard work those College Professors have been doing destroying your children’s’ minds now would they.

  • CarolAnne64

    Of course not. That is why the new indoctrination curriculum labeled Common Core is removing cursive handwriting. Wouldn’t want people to be able to READ these documents, would you?

  • NIck25

    The country has gone collectively crazy. Liberalism is a brain disease this is one of the symptoms.

  • Andrew Pennebaker

    “if you’re going to start an organization like that you have to go through the rigamarole”

    Welcome to the right to peaceably assemble.

    The Constitution has been eroded to bits.