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Board seeks to limit protest at Seattle Central in wake of Occupy camp — UPDATE

Long before — and after — Occupy Seattle’s decision to move its camp to Seattle Central Community College’s Capitol Hill campus, the school has been a home to protests, gatherings and miscellaneous exercises of free speech. That may be changed — or least, scaled back — if the Seattle Community College system’s board of trustees passes a series of proposed rule changes designed to limit the impacts of the freedom of expression on the three school campuses the system operates. It’s the kind of thing that leads to old rules like this getting the old strikethrough treatment.

A hearing on the changes is scheduled for next week.

Notice of Public Hearing

Proposed changes to rules affecting use of district facilities

Comments are invited on proposed changes to chapters 132F-136 and 132F-142 of the Seattle Community College District’s Washington Administrative Code (WAC). The proposals update the rules and bring them into compliance with current law.

A public hearing to receive comments will be held –

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
3:00 to 4:30 pm
1st Floor Board Room
1500 Harvard Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

An overview of the proposed revisions will be provided prior to taking comments. Written comments will be accepted until the conclusion of the public hearing. Following the hearing, the hearing officer will prepare a memorandum summarizing the testimony. The Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet will review the public comments and written submissions. Pending action by the Board of Trustees on April 12, 2012, the new rules will become effective on May 14, 2012.

Comments should be directed to the Office of the Vice Chancellor:

  • Email:  vco@seattlecolleges.edu
  • Through District interoffice mail:  Office of the Vice Chancellor, 1DO 100
  • Or by US Postal Service:  1500 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Proposed Rule Changes:

CHS was alerted to the meeting by a statement sent out by Occupy about the proposed rule changes:

The Board of Trustees is seeking to do the following:

•    To define first amendment rights to “includes, but is not necessarily limited to, informational picketing, petition circulation, the distribution of informational leaflets or pamphlets, speech-making, demonstrations, rallies, appearances of speakers in outdoor areas, protests, meetings to display group feelings or sentiments, and/or other types of constitutionally protected assemblies to share information, perspective or viewpoints.”

•    Limitation of expression of these rights to the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

•    Limitation of expression of these rights to a span of 8 hours for college groups and 5 hours for non-college groups.

•    Limitation of people to carrying only one sign and limiting signs to no larger that 3’ x 5’ (this would preclude banners).

•    Prescription of locations at which expressions of first amendment rights may occur.

•    Creation of obstacles that may dissuade groups from expressing first amendment rights at Seattle Community College campuses.

Occupy Seattle opposes the limitation of free speech and the right to assembly, and recognizes that these rules negatively affect the student body of Seattle Central Community College, a group of bright individuals with a tradition for participation in activism. We urge you to join us at the Board of Trustees meeting at the following address on Tuesday, 3PM at 1500 Harvard Ave.

In November, the trustees passed an emergency rule banning Occupy’s camp from Seattle Central. Chancellor Jill Wakefield said the college would work on permanent measures to take effect after the 120-day emergency rule ends. That four-month clock is ticking. We’ve asked the school and the trustees for more on the proposals and will update if we hear back.

UPDATE Saturday 3/24/12 8a: We finally heard back from Seattle Community Colleges on this. Not much new to add but they have announced a second public comment opportunity scheduled for when classes are back in session in April:

The Seattle Community Colleges are extending the public comment period on proposed changes to rules in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) affecting the use of district facilities and grounds. The proposed changes to chapters 132F-136 and 132F-142 can be viewed at www.seattlecolleges.edu/WAC and apply to all of the colleges and campuses in the Seattle District.

A public hearing had previously been announced for Tuesday, March 27.  Because this date occurs during the spring quarter break, an additional opportunity for comments has been scheduled for Thursday, April 5, when classes have resumed.

A public hearing to receive comments has been scheduled –

Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3:00 to 4:30 pm

District Office 1st Floor Board Room

1500 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA  98122

In addition, written or oral comments can also be presented at on –

Thursday, April 5, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

District Office 1st Floor Board Room

1500 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA  98122 

The proposed changes are similar to governing codes at other two-year colleges in Washington state, and are based on the code at Wichita State University, which is considered a national model. 

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12 thoughts on “Board seeks to limit protest at Seattle Central in wake of Occupy camp — UPDATE

  1. This is an overreach. The scope of their proposal might actually infringe on regular rallies and protests from numerous student groups. I hope the ACLU gets on this right away.

  2. Notice of Public Hearing:
    Tuesday, March 27, 2012
    3:00 to 4:30 pm
    1st Floor Board Room
    1500 Harvard Ave
    Seattle, WA 98122

    The proposals go WAY too far. While I grudgingly understand SCCC’s desire to keep overnight camping at a minimum, the way SCCC has dealt with OWS Seattle has been flawed from the get-go. But getting back to the proposals at hand, SCCC is proposing going WAY too far (as usual) and like I said, I hope to see a lot of people at this Public Hearing ~ oops

  3. Speaking for myself, I think camping at SCCC was a huge mistake for Occupy Seattle. I hope it is never again the main camp. As an asside, I think the city hall permit and camp site weakened Occupy Seattle as well.

    More generally, efforts in recent years to define (limit?) where civil rights can be exercised are a threat to our liberties and should be opposed.

    FYI – April 4th is a national day of action to support labor
    May 1st will be a HUGE day for the occupy movement world wide

  4. Really, leftists (including Occupy Seattle) are so predictable…they would automatically oppose measures like these, no matter how reasonable. I think the SCCC Board is simply trying to prevent a fiasco such as the OS encampment (aka homeless camp) last fall, and I fully support their proposals.

    First Amendment rights are not absolute…you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater.

  5. calhoun: You are so wise! The past 30 years of expansion of power of the executive branch and private business with resultant erosion of personal liberties has created the utopia we live in today!

    PS – Q: how many people were shot and killed at SCCC while OS was there?

    PPS – A: zero

  6. Yes, well, at least I can express myself without resorting to name-calling.

    Why is it, whenever someone posts an opinion contrary to leftist dogma, he/she is automatically called a “jerk”?

  7. “May 1st will be a HUGE day for the occupy movement world wide”

    Yea all those unemployed trust fund hippies and their drug addict buddies not showing up to work/school will certainly bring society to it’s knees.

  8. Friends;
    I believe many, and probably MOST folks in the Capitol Hill and the Greater Seattle area are unaware that they have been LIED to by the SCCC administration and it’s legal team, regarding several issues which became “evidence” that an “EMERGENCY” eviction of the Occupy Seattle encampment at SCCC was necessary. I BELIEVE VERY STRONGLY that the SCCC administration and it’s lawyers…(LIARS???…LOL! :-)!!)…OWES an APOLOGY to OS, to the general public, and especially to a Washington State Judge in Olympia; for using her courtroom to FABRICATE EVIDENCE against OS. I attended the Olympia hearing at which the Judge had to decide whether or not an actual EMERGENCY situation existed at the OS encampment requiring immediate eviction.
    Among other testimony, an SCCC lawyer testified that the OS encampment was causing a RAT or RODENT problem!! Well, folks, guess what?? The hard evidence for that idea happens to amount to ABSOLUTELY ZERO!! RATS pre-date HUMANITY on Planet Earth by at least several millions of years. The Occupy Seattle movement, which began Oct. 1st, 2011 (some date it to Sept. 17th 2011) is not responsible for these creatures…by golly, it was GOD (or evolution or both) who done it!! By the way, for a good, humorous read, dripping with witty sarcasm, check out SCCC English Professor Jeb Wyman’s e-mail on the overall issue of the SCCC Administration’s SMEAR CAMPAIGN, as well as the anecdotal but VERY INTERESTING info that for YEARS, Rats have been leaving poop trails ON HIS DESK; which happens to be inside the main SCCC building on the FOURTH FLOOR!!
    In addition, testimony was proffered about “needles in the Children’s Playground area” being caused by Occupy Seattle. That was just more guilt by association SMEAR CAMPAIGNING!! Tha TRUTH is that that playground area is somewhat hidden from view unless you get really close to it. Probably for that reason, some of the INTRAVENOUS DRUG USERS of the general population of the Capitol Hill area have FOR YEARS been littering that play area with NEEDLES, CONDOMS, and other items.
    In MY (not so humble) OPINION; I believe strongly, and am now asking for, (not as a representative of OCCUPY SEATTLE, but as a CONCERNED CITIZEN of Seattle and King County since 1947); for an APOLOGY and the TRUTH from the propagandists; smear campaigners; and BALD-FACED LIARS within the SCCC bureaucracy!!

    Thanks for Listening
    Peace and Love
    Loudmouth Karaoke Brad

    P.S. I will be attending both Board of Trustee meetings…I hope very much to not encounter any RATS, either the small, four-legged variety or the kind who walk on two legs who may try to subvert or bypass the United States Constitution!!!…Brad