May 27, 2009

F.I.R.E.:

A student who wants to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been threatened with disciplinary action for her efforts. Student Christine Brashier has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help after reporting that administrators banned her informational pamphlets, ordered her to destroy all copies of them, and told her that further “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated. . . .

In April, CCAC student Christine Brashier created pamphlets to distribute to her classmates encouraging them to join her in forming a chapter of the national Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) organization at CCAC. The handbill states that the group “supports the legalization of concealed carry by licensed individuals on college campuses.” She personally distributed copies of the flyer, which identified her as a “Campus Leader” of the effort to start the chapter.

On April 24, Jean Snider, Student Development Specialist at CCAC’s Allegheny Campus, summoned Brashier to a meeting that day with Snider and Yvonne Burns, Dean of Student Development. According to Brashier, the deans told Brashier that passing out her non-commercial pamphlets was prohibited as “solicitation.” They told Brashier that trying to “sell” other students on the idea of the organization was prohibited.

CCAC also told Brashier that the college must pre-approve any distribution of literature to fellow students, and that pamphlets like hers would not be approved, even insisting that Brashier destroy all copies of her pamphlet.

Brashier reports that she was also interrogated about why she was distributing the pamphlets, whether she owned a licensed firearm and had ever brought it to campus (she has not), whether she carries a concealed firearm off campus, and whether she disagrees with the existing college policy banning concealed weapons on campus.

When Brashier stated that she wanted to be able to discuss this policy freely on campus, she was told to stop doing so without the permission of the CCAC administration.

An absolute disgrace. There’s contact information at the link, but I hope that some Pennsylvanians will contact their state legislators, too.

More thoughts from Eugene Volokh, who notes that the college hasn’t given its side of the story yet — though, in light of the time lag, I’d say that’s indicative.

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