Lawsuit Filed Against Compton Community College for Acts of Discrimination Against The Minuteman Project
Contact: Michael Sands, The Pro-Family Law Center, 951-308-6454
TEMECULA, Calif., Jan. 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Pro-Family Law Center, representing The Minuteman Project and Marvin Stewart, Director of Community Relations, filed a lawsuit today against Compton Community College and its Board of Trustees for alleged discriminatory acts based on protected First Amendment activity.
The complaint alleges that Compton Community College, through its Board of Trustees, denied The Minuteman Project equal access to the use of their school facilities based on the content of the speech intended to be engaged in by The Minuteman Project. According to the complaint, The Minuteman Project wanted to conduct a Town Hall Meeting before the November elections to discuss the public issue of illegal immigration and the significant impact it has on the City of Compton and the surrounding cities.
After properly submitting an application, used by the general public, for the use of Compton Community College's gym on July 3, 2006, Jamillah Moore, Interim Superintendent/President of Compton Community College, denied The Minuteman Project's application. The purported reason for the denial was that Compton Community College does not authorize nor permit the use of its facilities by specific special interest or advocacy groups, nor for the advancement of specific candidates for public office.
After the denial of The Minuteman Project's application, it was discovered that Compton Community College has granted the use of its facilities to various special interest and/or advocacy groups in the past.
According to various documents Compton Community College was required to disclose pursuant to The Minuteman Project's Public Records Act request, Compton Community College's facilities have been used by/for (1) The Farrakan Event, (2) The Multi-cultural Youth Peace Summit/Registration Drive, and (3) The Black Student Union and Muhammad's Mosque Peacemakers.
It is alleged that by allowing access to Compton Community College's facilities to these organizations/groups, Compton Community College is required by law to provide equal access to The Minuteman Project pursuant to the Equal Access Act and general First Amendment principles.
According to lead counsel, Michael W. Sands, Jr., of the Pro-Family Law Center, "Compton Community College has engaged in content-based discrimination in the denial of The Minuteman Projects application. By granting access to groups such as Muhammad's Mosque Peacemakers, Compton Community College has become a limited public forum, thereby precluding them from denying groups like The Minuteman Project equal access to the use of their facilities based on the content of their speech."
According to the complaint, pure political speech is the most highly protected form of speech available to Americans and any interest asserted by Compton Community College in the denial of The Minuteman Project's application is outweighed by the heavy constitutional interest in the exercise of First Amendment rights.
According to Marvin Stewart, "contrary to Moore's reasons for the denial of our application, the neutral panel of speakers intended to speak at the Town Hall Meeting diminished any appearance of endorsement of a specific candidate for public office and/or view on a political issue."
The complaint seeks monetary damages and an injunction against Compton Community College and its Board of Trustees in order to protect the constitutional rights of The Minuteman Project.