Free Speech Press Release

06.07.07

ACLU Warns Cincinnati State Against Interfering with Janitors for Justice Campaign on Campus

CINCINNATI, OH– Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President Ron Wright regarding the College’s continued interference with the Janitors for Justice campaign sponsored by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 3.

Recently, the ACLU of Ohio received a complaint from SEIU Local 3 that student supporters and union organizers have been repeatedly denied the opportunity and right to distribute literature publicizing the campaign on Cincinnati State’s campus.  Allegations include a student possibly facing disciplinary charges for merely distributing flyers on campus and, strangely enough, claims by the College’s administration that they are acting at the behest of the Ohio Attorney General’s office

In its letter, ACLU of Ohio Legal Director, Jeff Gamso, expressed serious concern regarding the College’s actions and demanded such efforts halt immediately.  Should the College ignore the demand, Gamso indicated the ACLU would have no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect the First Amendment rights of students, organizers, staff and faculty affected by the College’s tactics of intimidation and harassment.

“This appears to be a classic example of Government silencing speech because they disagree with the message,” said Gamso.  “Fortunately for the students and organizers, they have the First Amendment on their side and the ACLU of Ohio stands ready to make sure their rights do not continue to be violated.  In the end, I suspect we will be able to resolve this matter amicably”, added Gamso.