We have been following the case of a California community college student prevented from passing out copies of the Constitution — on Constitution Day, of all days, because of campus “free speech zone” restrictions.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a video that reviews the background of Robert Van Tuinen’s campus free speech battle.

…But there’s much to the case that you probably don’t know. You probably haven’t heard about Leslie Beggs, now an adjunct professor at MJC, who criticized MJC’s censorship in a column in The Modesto Bee, prompting “higher ups” at MJC to try to stop the English Department from hiring her to replace a professor who had unexpectedly retired due to illness. In the end, she taught one course, not three as originally offered. (Beggs writes far more about the MJC case in the latest entry on her blog as well.) And you probably haven’t heard about William Holly, a longtime philosophy professor who curiously got the worst performance review of his long career at MJC after he wrote a long, critical examination of MJC’s free speech practices and emailed it to the entire MJC faculty and administration. Both Beggs and Holly attest to the chilling effect their treatment has had, although MJC has significantly improved its policies to better protect free speech.

And you might not remember that even after censoring Van Tuinen, having its act caught on camera and watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers, being sued, and ultimately agreeing to revise its policies and pay a $50,000 settlement, MJC apparently couldn’t see what it had done wrong. In March 2014, Joan E. Smith, Chancellor of the Yosemite Community College District, published a Modesto Bee column making the ostentatious claim that “Modesto Junior College did not prevent Robert Van Tuinen from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.”

For that matter, even after having its unconstitutional policies and practices thrust into the spotlight, MJC took more than two months after being sued to agree to suspend its free speech zone policies—on whose constitutionality there really was no question. (Contrast that timeline with that of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, which has moved much more promptly in response to a similar lawsuit brought by students, with FIRE’s assistance.)