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Green Party of California

Greens join civil libertarians to criticize legislation that could automatically expel students for participating in campus protests

For immediate release: Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cres Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Kevin McKeown, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-393-3639,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 310-270-7106,

SACRAMENTO (April 13, 2005) – Legislation that would expel college students involved in free speech activities for minor infractions – but yet won't punish drunk driving collegians – is seriously flawed and should be defeated in the Senate Education Committee hearing today (April 13), said Green Party of California members.

SB 337, authored by Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, requires community colleges, state colleges and University of California to "immediately dismiss" students convicted of violating any of several state penal codes dealing with "riots." Previously, colleges and the University of California had the option of expelling a student for "good cause."

Students, if the bill becomes law, would be expelled if they fail to heed a command to disperse even if participating in constitutionally protected activities, such as anti-war or labor demonstrations. Civil libertarians, including the ACLU, are opposed to SB 337.

The legislation also would not allow a dismissed student to reapply for a year, and would be ineligible to receive a Cal Grant award unless at least two years have elapsed from the filing of an application for the grant.

"This is a far cry from the free speech days a generation ago. This law illustrates how reactionary today's government can become attempting to silence dissent. This bill is designed to have a chilling effect on students, who would rightly fear that participation in a demonstration, however peaceful, could cost them their grant and their right to attend college," said Craig Peterson, of Green Party of California coordinating council.

"Even the Senate Education Committee analyst questioned the bill by asking ‘Does the punishment fit the crime?' Several of the ‘crimes' are simple misdemeanors, and while they could expel a student and cost the student her grant, conviction of something much more dangerous, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, would not," added Aimee Allison, a Green Party candidate for Oakland City Council May 7.

In addition, said Allison, the provisions of SB 337 that restrict Cal Grant eligibility unfairly discriminates against low- and middle-income students by barring them from affordable post-secondary education.


The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437