Search this Site    --   FSM-A Home Page

FSM-A \ Free Speech Movement Archives FSM-A



     As the University in the recent controversy has raised the question of the legal right of students to engage in political activity on the campus, the substantive legal question has become whether any state law prevents the University from allowing the solicitation of funds and other activity for political purposes on university property.

     As a legal being, the University is a "state institution" and a branch of the state government. In practical terms, this means that although the Administration has general powers to make rules concerning intra-university matters as opposed to the state legislature, all state laws constitutional provisions, and police regulations apply, and in fact outrank University regulations where there is conflict, or a difference in requirements.

     In order for the University to justify regulations which otherwise violate even minimal free speech requirements, it must be postulated that the subject of regulation is solely internal campus political activity, and that state law prevents the University from allowing or encouraging such activity. In fact, the University has publically cited a section of the Education Code (8454) which prohibits solicitation of funds in public schools. However, the University failed to notice or mention another section of the Education Code (13805) which defines "public schools" so as to omit completely all colleges and universities of the state. The University is similarly not included in the state civil service laws on political activity.

     The only law the University might rely on, Government Code 3202-3, speaks of "local agencies", and prevents officers and employees of these agencies from soliciting funds from each other in places which are "used for the governmental purposes" of that agency. One cannot ignore the obvious inconsistencies in proposing to apply this law to the University: that a statewide agency can hardly be local, that a University has an educational, not a governmental purpose, that the obvious purpose of the act was to correct an entirely different problem, that students are not officers or employees, and so forth. Even if these contradictions are ignored or resolved, the additional fact remains that a very small amount of University property is devoted to the "governmental" or even classroom purposes of the University, as witnessed by the frequent use of such areas as Dwinelle plaza, Edwards Field, Harmon Gymnasium, the Greek Theatre, the football stadium, the Student Union Plaza, Sather Gate, South Gate, or the Bancroft and Telegraph area. The University has even allowed the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force--not to mention Cal Camp, the Ugly Man Contest, the Pelican, etc.--to solicit members or raise funds anywhere on the campus. A Big "C" Circus is even allowed to collect money to send children to camp, while other organizations are refused the right to send students South to register people to vote.

     For these reasons, even if the University were a "local governmental agency" by its past practices and present policies the University would be able to claim exemption for little of the property in question. No other law even hints at requiring the kind of restrictions imposed by the University. The only conclusion possible is that the rules relating to political activity are arbitrary at best, and by the University's own admissions, not required for administrative efficiency. Neither can the Administration rely on Article 9, section 9 of the state constitution, whichprovides that the University shall not yield to the influence of political or social forces in the appointment of its Regents, or in the administration of its affairs. In fact, this section was designed to keep the University, not the students, out of the way of political pressure. By the very act of handing down these regulations, the University has itself engaged in political and social action and violated Article 9, section 9, and has failed to show how, in any respect, this law supports its position. Thus, it appears that these regulations are solely regulations and not law. As such, they must bow to other legal and constitutional requirements, such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly when there are conflicts between the two.

       Kenneth Cloke
       Boalt Hall

Search this Site    --   FSM-A Home Page