Socialist Student Sues College for Blocking 1st Amendment Rights

Ivette Salazar was detained, prevented from handing out flyers that said, ‘Shut Down Capitalism!’…

Socialist college student detained for exercising First Amendment rights

Ivette Salazar/PHOTO: FIRE

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A socialist student has filed a lawsuit against an Illinois college for violating her free speech rights.

Joliet Junior College said student Ivette Salazar violated the campus’ speech codes by distributing political flyers outside of the school’s “free speech area.”

Salazar said JJC’s actions violated her First Amendment rights, so with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), she is challenging the college’s policy.

Campus police at JJC detained Salazar for exercising those rights without pre-approval from the administration.

The school’s regulations restrict free speech to one indoor area of campus and allow only two students to use the space at a time.

Students must receive approval from the administration by submitting a request to use the free speech area five days in advance.

Students also have to disclose the nature of their speech and receive approval to distribute literature.

The incident occurred on Nov. 28, when Salazar noticed conservative students handing out anti-socialism pamphlets.

In response, she decided to distribute handouts from the Party for Socialism and Liberation that read “Shut Down Capitalism!”

JCC police then detained Salazar and questioned her for 40 minutes before confiscating the flyers, according to the complaint filed by FIRE.

Salazar reported that a police officer told her, “If you want to go ahead and post your flyers and burn your crosses, you have to get it approved.”

The administration said the political flyers were inappropriate due to the “political climate of the country,” FIRE said in a press release.

A group focused on promoting freedom of thought and expression on college campuses, FIRE said the “political climate” cannot determine the extent of First Amendment rights.

“Debating the merits of economic and governmental systems is core political speech,” said FIRE Director of Litigation Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon. “Campus police got it backward: The current ‘political climate’ is a reason for more speech, not censorship. If tense political times justified restricting political speech, the First Amendment would be pointless.”

Salazar’s case is one part of FIRE’s “Million Voices Campaign,” which seeks to free one million students from unconstitutional speech codes on college campuses.

So far FIRE has won nine cases and changed campus policies affecting 600,000 students.


“I should be able to express my political beliefs on campus without being detained,” Salazar said. “JCC didn’t just threaten my freedom of speech, but the freedom of speech of every student on that campus. If we can’t have political discussions on a college campus, then where can we have them?”

Salazar has also sued JJC for allegedly violating her Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully detaining her.

Former President of the First Amendment Lawyers Association Wayne Giampietro joined to assist Salazar’s case.

“A public college should be teaching its students the existence and value of the freedoms protected by our federal and state constitutions, not violating those freedoms,” Giampietro said. “The First Amendment protects our most cherished right to speak freely on political matters.

“It is deplorable that public school employees, paid with our tax money, would detain, interrogate, and seize political materials from a student who is attempting to exercise that right.”

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  • disqus_A1IVSzeN8P

    I thought actions like hers have been litigated numerous times in the past. I suspect she will win the case. The sidewalks within a college campus are most likely considered public space at large and she most likely has the right to distribute fliers directly to people or place them in areas that appear to be public posting places.

  • Yosemite Sam

    I’m quite sure Cuba, Venezuela or any other S-Hole country would gladly accept Miss Ivette Salazar into their poverty.

    • saathepro

      Well said. She is part of the enemy within

    • jcrawdad

      I AGREE !! Several S-HOLE Countries out there.
      I like your Name Tag by the way.

      • Yosemite Sam


  • suerobb

    If we all do not have First Amendment rights, none of us do. You must support her rights even if we disagree.

  • Harvey Mitterdorf

    Free speech is a universal right for all people in the US; but anyone who wants to shut down Capitalism has no idea what they are talking about.

    • Lynn Johnston

      You are CORRECT!!!!!!, but at College, any college, is where you really need to learn it and form your own opinions. Then you can speak out after you have heard any & ALL SPEAKERS, be it whoever they are!

  • minefinder624

    The right to orate stupid narrative is protected by the 1A-otherwise socialists would have to remain quiet.

  • jlcham

    Someone should tell her that free speech does not exist in a socialist society. Duh!

  • I do not agree with the lady’s message but she has the right under the First Amendment.

  • Archie Cogollos

    Go where you could do the most good with your political beliefs….like minded and better their situation…opinions will vary….bye

  • mioahu

    Ahhhhh, the stupidity of these unamerican idiots. This capitalist society allows her to say stupid s***t, the s***hole country where she came from would probably put her in jail for anti socialist propaganda….communist and socialist countries have the least amount of free speech, idiot

  • myfordtruck

    free speech is one thing but basically pushing to overthrow our form of government is another thing and do we know weather she is a citizen and even paying her own way through collage or using grants

  • David Carpenter

    Ah, so one from the ‘left’ is getting a dose of their own brand of ‘tolerance’ and is crying foul! What a shame.

  • NukeWaste

    It doesn’t matter if this girl is a screaming libturd, she has 1st Amendment Rights. My question is whether she would want to protect 1st Amendment Rights for Conservatives. On the other hand a year or two in a socialist country might help her a lot.

  • Herb1949

    I find this to be a good thing, if the court finds in her favor, then it opens doors for everyone.

    I applaude Ms. Salazar for taking the college to court.

  • kabulgeorge

    My thoughts are that when I was in college over four decades ago, we always had people spouting out this or that philosophy but my education provided me the tools to listen, understand what they were putting out and decide merits of these opinions on my own, not some pinheads tweet about something. Dumbing down in America is creating bus loads of useful idiots that have 15-sec attention spans and no means to form fact based opinion.

  • Rich-D

    The First Amendment applies to Government Encroachment on Free Speech only! If it is a private school they can restrict Free Speech without violating the Constitution!

  • Gregg Parker

    Would they have let her hand out Burn down Conservative Think tanks? If you wonder where we can draw at least one line in the sand of free speech let it this kind of nonsense on someone else’s property…

  • Maxine Albritton

    It is definitely the thinking of the left<liberals, that capitalism is bad, I guess they mean communism and socialism is good or possibly dictatorship too is good. I would love to send;deport this chick to such a country where they will accept her with open arms and let her spew her filth. It is odd, capitalism has worked since the beginning of his country now all of a sudden it is bad. Every time I turn on my TV, use my dishwasher, washing machine and all the other luxury but necessary items including the car which I cannot drive anymore. I think how lucky we have been to be born in this country instead of the others.

  • Al Zabel

    Don’t you just love it? When a dose of reality, slaps someone, in the face? Never the less. This liberal/communist, probably still, doesn’t get it.

  • Rippie

    She has a case. Joliet JC is a public 2yr college, so as a public institution, it encompasses public space in, at least, its open areas.

    So, for the same reasons that conservative students and groups have challenged public schools for supposedly abridging their rights, she has the same basic case to make.

    There is a tension that HAS been decided in favor of schools abridging 1A, 4A and 5A rights of students in primary and secondary schools in the interest of safety and “the public peace.”

    It has NOT yet been fully decided that such abrogations as are permissible against minors are permissible against those who have reached the age of majority, even in a sensitive public space that must serve and PROTECT the safety of all within, pressing the issue of keeping the peace strongly.

    She has more right to non-violently espouse her position in an unfettered fashion than her compatriots have to whinge about flyers or marquis that announce the arrival of a speaker of whom they object. The ability to walk on past those and then to NOT attend exists and is protected. There is no right to tear down those flyers, deface those marquis or bar people from entering to hear the most controversial speakers, BY CHOICE.

    So, this will go to court, likely under the aegis of the ACLU but perhaps of conservative groups, too, who have the EXACT SAME INTEREST in protecting speech instead of squelching it in order to narrow the views of others.

    This case may also consolidate into a class with others of either left or right leaning who feel they’ve been unreasonably muted by what they believe to be UNConstitutional rules in places where the Constitution rules, as opposed to on private campuses like Columbia or Yale or Harvard, to name 3 obvious ones.

    This ain’t over and EVERYONE and their kids has a stake in how this and many other cases are resolved in the USSC, where it will surely and eventually be heard and decided.

  • old27

    All those zones created to “protect” all her “rights?????” and she decides that protection is not enough. So scrambled eggs (no insult to scrambled eggs intended) for brains goes outside all those zones and some idiotic group, and a supposed attorney who obviously did not pass constitutional law takes her case because there is not enough “protection.”

  • ADRoberts

    Want to bet that she is NOT paying for her education? I surely believe she would not have the money to print up such flyers if she paid her own way. So she hates capitalism. The very reason she came to America was for OUR ECONOMY which makes America what it is.
    Just like muslims. Just like liberals from California. Coming to good conservative America and wanting to make us into what THEY were escaping.

  • Naval Lint

    Am I the ONLY person to see the irony in this story?

  • JB

    Has anybody checked her citizenship?