California college agrees to revise free-speech policy in settlement with student

CALIFORNIA - In a settlement with a student who accused University of California at San Diego administrators of violating his free speech rights, the university has agreed to revise its free-speech policies, and attorneys for the entire University of California system have agreed to review anti-harassment policies at the system's nine campuses to ensure students' free speech rights aren't being violated.

Ryan Benjamin Shapiro, a freshman, was sentenced to three hours of community service after he refused to remove a political poster containing an obscene word from his dorm room window.

University officials told Shapiro that the handwritten poster, which read, "Fuck Netanyahu and Pinochet," violated the school's "fighting words" policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in March accusing the university of violating Shapiro's free speech rights.

The settlement between Shapiro and the university, which was reached in August, calls for university officials to revise a policy that outlined guidelines regulating the distribution and posting of non-commercial fliers, posters and banners.

In addition, the agreement requires University of California attorneys to outline guidelines on how to interpret a section in the student code pertaining to the use of "fighting words."

The university must also suspend Shapiro's three-hour community service sentence and expunge his record of the incident.

California, news, University of California at San Diego