Greens join civil libertarians to criticize legislation that could automatically expel students for participating in campus protests
GREEN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Kevin McKeown, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-393-3639,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,
SACRAMENTO (April 13, 2005) – Legislation that would expel college students
involved in free speech activities for minor infractions – but yet won't
punish drunk driving collegians – is seriously flawed and should be
defeated in the Senate Education Committee hearing today (April 13), said
Green Party of California members.
SB 337, authored by Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, requires community
colleges, state colleges and University of California to "immediately
dismiss" students convicted of violating any of several state penal codes
dealing with "riots." Previously, colleges and the University of California
had the option of expelling a student for "good cause."
Students, if the bill becomes law, would be expelled if they fail to heed a
command to disperse even if participating in constitutionally protected
activities, such as anti-war or labor demonstrations. Civil libertarians,
including the ACLU, are opposed to SB 337.
The legislation also would not allow a dismissed student to reapply for a
year, and would be ineligible to receive a Cal Grant award unless at least
two years have elapsed from the filing of an application for the grant.
"This is a far cry from the free speech days a generation ago. This law
illustrates how reactionary today's government can become attempting to
silence dissent. This bill is designed to have a chilling effect on
students, who would rightly fear that participation in a demonstration,
however peaceful, could cost them their grant and their right to attend
college," said Craig Peterson, of Green Party of California coordinating
"Even the Senate Education Committee analyst questioned the bill by asking
‘Does the punishment fit the crime?' Several of the ‘crimes' are simple
misdemeanors, and while they could expel a student and cost the student her
grant, conviction of something much more dangerous, such as driving while
under the influence of alcohol or drugs, would not," added Aimee Allison, a
Green Party candidate for Oakland City Council May 7.
In addition, said Allison, the provisions of SB 337 that restrict Cal Grant
eligibility unfairly discriminates against low- and middle-income students
by barring them from affordable post-secondary education.
The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437