Community College of Allegheny County: Student Denied Right to Start Advocacy Organization

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Community College of Allegheny County

A student who was trying to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pennsylvania was threatened with disciplinary action. Administrators banned Christine Brashier’s informational pamphlets, ordered all copies of them destroyed, and decreed that further “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated. A dean reportedly told her, “You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us.” After FIRE came to the student’s aid, CCAC proffered post hoc rationalizations, stating that in order to avoid punishment the student must obtain the school’s imprimatur before distributing her message, thus subjecting her pamphlets to unconstitutional prior restraint. After months of national media attention, Christine was finally allowed to distribute pamphlets about the group she was forming, and the college rescinded its unconstitutional policy demanding “prior written approval” for “personal contact with individuals or groups related to non-sponsored college material or events.”

  • CCAC student claims school’s dean blocked gun-rights group

    August 7, 2013

    by Mike Cronin Pittsburgh Tribune-Review   A Community College of Allegheny County student said a dean told her she was breaking the law for trying to start a campus chapter of a national organization that supports students’ right to carry licensed, concealed weapons on campus. Christine Brashier of Squirrel Hill said her free speech rights were violated when Yvonne Burns, dean of student development at the school’s Allegheny Campus, told her she was not allowed to distribute fliers about Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. “She literally said, ‘You may want to discuss this topic, but the college does not […]

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  • Discussing guns dubbed ‘academic misconduct’

    August 7, 2013

    by Vin Suprynowicz Las Vegas Review-Journal   The forces of political correctness once vowed that, should they ever take over, their free expression on all kinds of issues — from gay rights to amnesty for illegals to space aliens inspiring the pyramids of ancient Egypt — would no longer be censored. Censored? Heck, spouting the PC line is now mandatory, as many a professor lately hauled before a college Star Chamber on charges of having “given offense” now learns. Internationally renowned Austrian economics professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe used a standard textbook example of investment time preferences in a classroom lecture at […]

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  • Thought Control On Modern American College Campuses

    July 22, 2010

    In April of 2009 I designed and printed fliers for the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at a Pittsburgh community college. I included facts such as “The Supreme Court ruled that police have no obligation to protect the people.” These fliers earned me a meeting with the Dean of Student Development, Yvonne Burns, who angrily promised that the club would never be allowed on “her” campus, and ordered me to destroy all related literature. I had been in a public quad handing out informational pamphlets-and had asked for permission to do so! Dean Burns told me I was […]

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  • Western Pa. school OKs concealed weapons group

    February 17, 2010

    A Pittsburgh-area community college will let a student form a campus chapter of a group that promotes the rights of students to carry concealed weapons. A Community College of Allegheny County spokesman says Christa Brashier must provide a copy of the group’s revised constitution by March. Brashier sued the school after officials refused to let her pass out leaflets advocating concealed carry rights in May. She won that lawsuit and has pressed forward with her efforts to form a local chapter of a Texas-based nonprofit, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Brashier’s efforts have been backed by the Foundation for […]

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  • Attacking the First and Second Amendments at the same time

    October 13, 2009

    A couple separate recent incidents illustrate the fact that to the forcible citizen disarmament lobby, the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is only one of the freedoms that must be suppressed.  To such people, when faced with concerned citizens who dare to speak out against citizen disarmament, the only option is to go after their First Amendment rights, as well. First, we have the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), a Pittsburgh area community college.  Back in April, a student, Christine Brashier wanted to start a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry […]

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  • College backtracks on gun-club ban

    October 13, 2009

    A Pittsburgh-area community college has backtracked on its ban on students circulating information about a proposed gun-rights club, according to a national students’ rights group. According to officials with The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit educational foundation that works on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at colleges and universities, the case involved student Christine Brashier. Officials at the Community College of Allegheny County first banned her from trying to organize a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus then reaffirmed that activity would not be permitted […]

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  • Pittsburgh-area college allows student to advocate for concealed carry on campus

    October 5, 2009

    Christine Brashier is an advocate and supporter of concealed guns on college campuses. She even attempted to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny Country in Pittsburgh (CCAC). Brashier would be the campus leader of a group that “supports the legalization of concealed carry by licensed individuals on college campuses.” But when Brasher tried to distribute pamphlets about her cause, school officials told her that she needed “prior written approval” for “personal contact with individuals or groups related to non-sponsored college material or events.” According to the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Brashier was also […]

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  • CCAC allows handouts without prior review

    October 2, 2009

    Community College of Allegheny County will no longer require prior review of student handouts after complaints by a women who sought last spring to form a group advocating the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. The student, Christine “Christa” Brashier, attempted to organize a campus chapter of a national group, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. In June, she said a CCAC employee told her the organizing amounted to “soliciting,” ordered her to destroy fliers she created and warned she risked sanctions if she pursued the matter without the school’s OK. Ms. Brashier said the order violated her free […]

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  • School orders student not to promote gun club

    June 2, 2009

    A free speech organization says it is fighting officials at Community College of Allegheny County after they first banned a student from trying to organize a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, then reaffirmed that activity would not be permitted on campus. According to a statement from The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit educational foundation that works on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at colleges and universities, the case involves student Christine Brashier. She had sought to form the SCCC chapter on the Pittsburgh-area campus […]

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  • Community College of Allegheny County defends policy to free-speech group

    June 2, 2009

    The Community College of Allegheny County said Monday it objects to a student’s failure to seek permission to create a pro-gun campus group, not to the mission of such an organization. In a letter to a First Amendment group that took up the student’s cause, CCAC Solicitor Mike Adams said Christine Brashier failed to get permission to post fliers seeking supporters for a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. The national organization opposes university and college policies that prohibit handguns on campuses, even by non-law enforcement officials licensed to carry concealed weapons. In addition, Adams’ letter said, the […]

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  • College says it acted properly with student gun advocate

    June 1, 2009

    Community College of Allegheny County today said its review finds CCAC did not try to thwart a student’s bid to create a group advocating the right to carry licensed, concealed firearms on campus. Responding to a national advocacy group that has taken up Christine Brashier’s cause, the college said its administrators did not take issue with her right to establish a chapter of a student organization, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Rather, the college said, administrators objected to her use of CCAC’s name in pamphlets in a way the school contends suggested a link between the college and her […]

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  • Brashier feeds FIRE

    May 31, 2009

    CCAC student Christine “Christa” Brashier claimed her First Amendment rights were violated when administration halted her distribution of pamphlets promoting concealed handguns on campus and her attempts to form a club supporting the same concept. Brashier, 24, an Allegheny Campus student who aspires to become an elementary school teacher and is enrolled in the CCAC/IUP Elementary Education Collaborative, accused CCAC May 27, 2009, of threatening free speech and prohibiting rights to organize a CCAC chapter of the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). “I won’t be told to sit down and shut up,” Brashier told the Voice in […]

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  • Holding Fire

    May 29, 2009

    Was it her message or the rules that got Christine Brashier summoned to the dean’s office? Brashier says she’s being blocked from organizing a student group that favors “gun rights” while the college says she just isn’t following the rules. Late last month, Brashier, a student at the Community College of Allegheny County, in Pennsylvania, created a three-page flier highlighting information about Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a national gun-rights group with more than 38,000 members in chapters at college campuses across the country. The literature indicated that Brashier intended to form a chapter of the organization at Allegheny, […]

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  • EDITORIAL: Speech police

    May 29, 2009

    Read any history of the war between government censors and free-speech advocates in 20th-century America, compare those struggles to the ones now ongoing, and a curious shift becomes visible. Whether the target of 20th century suppression was a naughty book first published in Paris, a nightclub comedian on the order of Mort Sahl or George Carlin, or even some rock ‘n’ roll crooner who insisted on swivelling his hips or lasciviously suggesting that two presumably unwed parties “spend the night together,” censorship used to be expected from the conservative right, from stodgy old men attempting to hold the line of […]

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  • CCAC apologizes for delay in answering gun-rights-group issue

    May 29, 2009

    The Community College of Allegheny County’s board chairman apologized on Thursday for the school’s delay in answering why it prevented a student from establishing a gun-rights group at the Allegheny Campus. The student, Christine “Christa” Brashier, 24, of Squirrel Hill and the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a First Amendment group, say the school violated her right to free speech when it barred her from starting a CCAC chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. “The delay is indicative of how important we believe the issue to be,” said Thomas J. Santone, CCAC’s board chair and founder, […]

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  • Gun supporters say colleges trample protest rights

    May 28, 2009

    Colleges nationwide have unconstitutionally barred students from handing out literature, protesting and gathering in support of the right to carry weapons on campus, students and an advocacy group say. Christine Brashier, a freshman at the Community College of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh, said a dean recently told her she had to stop distributing fliers for the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, which has chapters at many colleges, and destroy the pamphlets she had designed. “I won’t be forced into silence. I just wanted to start a student organization. I didn’t think it was going to get this much […]

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  • Student claims CCAC stifled conceal-carry advocacy on campus

    May 27, 2009

    A Community College of Allegheny County student today publicly accused the school of trying to stop her from organizing a group advocating the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. Christine “Christa” Brashier, 24, of Squirrel Hill, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher, said she feels unsafe on the school’s Allegheny campus and would like the right to carry a gun while on school property. In a phone interview and in statements by an advocacy group that is representing her, Ms. Brashier today said she was trying to organize a CCAC chapter of the national group, Students […]

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  • FIRE Launches New Video Series With Short Film on Censorship of Gun-Related Speech

    June 30, 2010

    PHILADELPHIA, June 30, 2010—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is proud to release a new short film, “Empty Holsters: Gun Speech on America’s Campuses,” highlighting widespread campus censorship of student speech about guns. The film is the first in a new FIRE series focusing on how colleges and universities across America are preventing students and faculty members from speaking out on the weightiest political issues of the day. “In the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. Chicago, debate about the Second Amendment and gun rights is sure to be hotter than ever,” said FIRE […]

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  • CCAC Finally Approves Student Concealed Carry Advocacy Group

    February 17, 2010

    Yesterday afternoon, FIRE closed the book on one of its most talked-about cases as the student government of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh finally approved a chapter of the national concealed firearms advocacy group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). The approval ends a saga that began last April when CCAC administrators told student Christine Brashier that such a group would never be allowed on campus and threatened her with disciplinary action for her attempts to inform her fellow students about the cause. Brashier turned to FIRE for help, and after we procured for her […]

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  • Victory for First Amendment: Pittsburgh-Area College Allows Student to Advocate for Concealed Carry on Campus, Abandons Repressive Policy

    October 2, 2009

    PITTSBURGH, October 2, 2009—After months of national media attention, a student threatened with punishment for attempting to form a gun-rights group at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is finally allowed to distribute pamphlets about the group on campus. The college has also rescinded its unconstitutional policy demanding “prior written approval” for “personal contact with individuals or groups related to non-sponsored college material or events.” After Christine Brashier, who wanted to form a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), was told that her pamphlets were unacceptable “solicitation” and that any further efforts would be considered “academic misconduct,” […]

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  • CCAC First Amendment Scandal Earns a Critical Editorial

    June 23, 2009

    FIRE’s ongoing case at the Community College of Allegheny County is the focus of an editorial in today’s online edition of The Times Daily (Alabama). CCAC student Christine Brashier has been blocked by administrators from forming a gun-rights club on campus and was told to destroy all copies of her informational pamphlet. The editorial, while taking a stance against the position Brashier supports—allowing the concealed carry of handguns on campus—nevertheless comes out in favor of her free speech rights. Brashier, the paper writes, “has good reason to be upset. Colleges and universities should promote free speech rather than squelch it, […]

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  • FIRE’s VP to Discuss Concealed Carry Case on Radio Today and Tonight

    June 9, 2009

    FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley will be a guest on the Lou Dobbs radio show this afternoon starting at 4:15 p.m. ET. Robert will be discussing FIRE’s case at the Community College of Allegheny County, where student Christine Brashier has been stymied by censorship in her efforts to set up a group advocating for the concealed carry of guns on campus. Dobbs’ show is nationally syndicated all over the country, or you can listen live on the Internet. Robert will also be an hourlong guest on the Pintek Tonight radio show on Pittsburgh’s KDKA 1020 AM, starting around 8:05 p.m. […]

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  • Rights in the News: Media Keeps Pressure on CCAC

    June 5, 2009

    The higher education and mainstream presses were awash last week with the news of the Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC’s) suppression of a student’s attempt to organize a chapter of the national student association Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. CCAC stayed in the spotlight this week after offering a feeble defense of its unconstitutional treatment of student Christine Brashier. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review—each of which carried multiple stories on CCAC last week—have kept up their interest in Brashier’s case and FIRE’s involvement. WorldNetDaily has taken notice this week as well. Most prominently, news of the case […]

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  • Media Interest in FIRE’s Gun-related Speech on Campus Case Still Growing

    June 4, 2009

    As Torch readers know, FIRE has spent the last week engaged in a massive media campaign to persuade the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) to recognize the right of student Christine Brashier to start a campus chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). As we explained in Tuesday’s press release, the college has continued to rely on faulty understandings of its legal responsibility and on plainly unconstitutional policies to justify its actions. The administration has claimed that Brashier’s attempt to gather support for her group by passing out flyers amounted to “solicitation,” and Dean Yvonne Burns reportedly […]

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  • Some colleges bar even talking about right to bear arms, gun advocates say

    June 4, 2009

    The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to free speech. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess firearms. Now the first two clauses in the Bill of Rights have come together in an ongoing debate over the right of college students to advocate that they be allowed to carry guns on campus. The bloody massacres at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School, as well as smaller campus shootings across the country in the last decade, have fomented a lively debate over whether citizens should be allowed to carry concealed weapons to defend themselves on campus. But that debate has […]

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  • Pittsburgh-Area College Fails to Remedy Violations of Concealed Carry Advocate’s Free Speech

    June 2, 2009

    PITTSBURGH, June 2, 2009—A student who wants to form a gun-rights group will still be subject to unconstitutional censorship, the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) announced yesterday. Christine Brashier, who wants to form a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), was told through a letter to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) yesterday that she will not be punished for her efforts to organize the group, as college officials had threatened in an earlier meeting, but only if she follows CCAC’s unconstitutional policies. She must have all of her pamphlets approved before distribution and […]

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  • Rights in the News: Media Campaign Ignites Firestorm in Allegheny County

    May 29, 2009

    In the last twenty-four hours, FIRE has twice updated Torch readers on the swift and far-reaching impact of its exposure of the Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC’s) suppression of the free speech and association rights of student Christine Brashier, who was prevented from forming a campus chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Not that FIRE is complaining about the widespread coverage! Since issuing our press release on Wednesday, a storm of press and commentary from a variety of wire services, newspapers, local news affiliates, blogs, and opinion sites—not to mention dozens of e-mails to the CCAC administration […]

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  • As Press Coverage Mounts, CCAC Officials Apologize for Delay

    May 29, 2009

    As I reported yesterday, FIRE’s case at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is drawing more and more attention. This morning, Inside Higher Ed posted an article about the case as did United Press International, which featured the story in its “Top News” section. Along with the mainstream news pressure, dozens more blogs have picked up the story. Additionally, Cam & Company, one of the NRA’s podcast shows, interviewed Robert Shibley on Wednesday, and CCAC student Christine Brashier was featured twice on the program yesterday. Christine was also featured on CBS affiliate KDKA in Pittsburgh. Check out that video […]

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  • CCAC student claims dean blocked gun-rights group

    May 28, 2009

    A student at Community College of Allegheny County said one of the school’s deans told her she was breaking the law for trying to start a chapter of an organization that supports students’ rights to carry licensed, concealed weapons on campus. According to WTAE’s news exchange partners at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Christine Brashier, of Squirrel Hill, said dean of student development Yvonne Burns told her she couldn’t distribute fliers about Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Brashier claims Burns told her she was breaking the law by soliciting on campus.CAC spokesman David Hoovler said the college bans weapons on campus […]

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  • Allegheny County Free Speech Case Hits Associated Press, NRA News

    May 28, 2009

    FIRE’s press release yesterday detailed our efforts to restore freedom of speech and association at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), where a student attempting to launch a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus was blocked by college administrators. They told her that she could not even try to start her club on campus, that her attempts to persuade people about her beliefs counted as unlawful solicitation, and that she could face disciplinary action. FIRE wrote the CCAC administration on April 29, but we have only received a short note saying that a response would be forthcoming. […]

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  • Student: Pittsburgh-area college disregards rights

    May 28, 2009

    A Pittsburgh student is accusing a community college of violating her constitutional rights by barring her from organizing a group that supports the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. Christine Brashier says officials at the Community College of Allegheny County have barred her from handing out pamphlets at the school in support of the group, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Brashier is backed by a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The group says similar issues have cropped up at other universities and colleges nationwide since the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007. College spokesman David […]

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  • Student says CCAC is trying to thwart gun advocacy group

    May 28, 2009

    A Community College of Allegheny County student yesterday publicly accused the school of trying to stop her from organizing a group advocating the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. Christine “Christa” Brashier, 24, of Squirrel Hill, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher, said she feels unsafe on the school’s Allegheny campus and would like the right to carry a gun while on school property. Ms. Brashier yesterday said she was trying to organize a CCAC chapter of the national group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus when she was summoned to a meeting April 24 with […]

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  • First Amendment Rights Trampled in Pittsburgh after Student Advocates for Concealed Carry of Firearms on Campus

    May 27, 2009

    Today we report on a college that has egregiously kicked the First Amendment in the teeth. Student Christine Brashier just wants to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), but she has been censored and threatened with disciplinary action for her efforts. FIRE took up her case as soon as we learned that administrators banned her informational pamphlets, ordered her to destroy all copies of them, interrogated her about her legal activities, and told her that further “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated. In April, Brashier created pamphlets to distribute to her classmates encouraging them […]

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  • First Amendment Rights Trampled by Pittsburgh College after Student Advocates for Concealed Carry of Firearms on Campus

    May 27, 2009

    PITTSBURGH, May 27, 2009—A student who wants to form a gun-rights group at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been threatened with disciplinary action for her efforts. Student Christine Brashier has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help after reporting that administrators banned her informational pamphlets, ordered her to destroy all copies of them, and told her that further “academic misconduct” would not be tolerated. “CCAC has demonstrated a shocking lack of respect for the rights of free speech and free association,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Across the country, students are increasingly […]

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