Imagine a California with affordable public colleges that respect their students’ free speech rights. Daniel Watts is a free speech lawyer running for California governor to help make that California a reality.
For 15 years, clients have trusted attorney Daniel Watts to protect their First Amendment rights. As a First Amendment attorney, Watts has litigated anti-SLAPP motions up to the California Supreme Court and back. “GovernorWatts”, as he’s known on YouTube, became a lawyer for that very reason: To protect First Amendment rights, especially the rights of students.
California’s state constitution and state laws are even more protective of free speech than the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but you wouldn’t know it from the way our public schools treat their students. Students’ First Amendment rights are under assault on California’s campuses.
Just one example: Koala v. Khosla.
In Koala v. Khosla, the UC San Diego Chancellor and its student government spent over $800,000 fighting to quash the free speech rights of a student-run newspaper. Why? Because they didn’t like one of its articles, which mocked “safe spaces.” The student newspaper had been receiving $400 a year in annual student activity fees, but UCSD thought it was wise to spend $800,000 in a futile effort to deprive them of that money.
UCSD isn’t the only public college to violate the First Amendment. There’s a whole list of them at TheFire.org’s “Spotlight Database.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a non-profit organization that evaluates universities’ student conduct codes for constitutional problems. Good schools that follow the Constitution are green, while blatantly unconstitutional speech codes earn a red light rating.
Here’s the GovernorWatts promise: Every public college in California that receives a green light from FIRE should be tuition free. Every public college needs to obey the First Amendment anyway, but those that actually do it immediately will become tuition-free, giving them a competitive advantage over their speech-restrictive brethren.
On September 14th, vote Daniel Watts for California Governor to send a message: California’s next governor should support free speech and affordable higher education.
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