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Illinois Student Sues Her College Over Free Speech Rights

Ivette Salazar was handing out flyers that read “Shut Down Capitalism.”

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A college student in Illinois has filed a lawsuit against her her school for allegedly violating her free-speech rights. Lawyers for Ivette Salazar claim Joliet Junior College campus police detained her and confiscated flyers she was passing out that read, “Shut Down Capitalism.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a watchdog group for civil liberties on America’s college campuses, is assisting in the lawsuit.

Ivette Salazar shown in Philadelphia. (Image: Courtesy of FIRE)

According to her account, Salazar wanted to hand out flyers following an incident on campus in which a conservative student group distributed antisocialism literature with the message “Socialism Sucks.”

She claims she was making an opposing statement which should have been permitted by school officials.

If we can’t have political discussions on a college campus, then where can we have them?

— Ivette Salazar, Joliet Junior College student

According to Inside Higher Ed, the college’s policy of restricting free expression to one area of campus is being challenged. A student must request use of the space at least five days in advance and get any literature pre-approved by administrators.

“I should be able to express my political beliefs on campus without being detained,” Salazar said in her statement via FIRE. “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?”

Lawyers for Salazar filed the lawsuit in Chicago federal court on Thursday.

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