Sacramento City College celebrated Constitution Day this past September with a host of speakers and events, all geared toward remembering our Nation’s social compact and discussing its relevance today. The event included the distribution of free pocket constitutions. Unfortunately, a few students and administrators didn’t get a copy, or, at least, didn’t read it.
A few weeks before, a group called the Genocide Awareness Project applied to the Associated Student Government for permission to participate in Constitution Day and set up a display on September 16-17. The ASG approved the application without investigating who GAP is. When GAP showed up on September 16, the students and administrators learned that, gasp, GAP was a pr0-life organization. Two administrators immediately contacted the ASG President, Steve Macias, and demanded that he tell GAP to leave campus. Mr. Macias refused because GAP had a constitutional right to speak and obtained proper permission to do so.
The administrators recognized the irony in their request–attempting to censor a group based on its viewpoint the day before Constitution Day–and agreed with Mr. Macias, right? Wrong. They continued to demand that GAP leave, or turn its signs inward so students could not see them.
A few days later, a petition circulated around campus to recall Mr. Macias because he refused to censor GAP. Under ASG’s constitution and bylaws, once enough signatures are collected and validated by the judicial branch, the commissioner for student affairs sets a date for the recall vote on campus. Instead of following these procedures, ASG’s advisor simply approved the signatures on his own and set a recall vote date. The date was later reset after Mr. Macias complained to the College president. But instead of realizing their previous procedural errors, the ASG then held a meeting that violated state law and voted to set a new date for the recall vote. Not only that, but ASG officials made untrue statements about Mr. Macias to the campus newspaper and passed an illegal resolution trying to divest Mr. Macias of his presidential duties.
Instead of applauding Mr. Macias’ leadership in defending the First Amendment rights of others, students and administrators at the College are not just trying to recall a student body president, but the ideas and principles of the First Amendment itself. As a result, last Friday, the ADF Center for Academic Freedom sent a demand letter to the College, asking it to invalidate the illegal recall and protect Mr. Macias’ rights. It’s time for the College to remember what our Constitution says.