School District to Release Plan Overturning Campus Use Restrictions

Time Restraints Sign Torn Off The Wall/Sebastian Garrett-Singh

Time Restraints Sign Torn Off The Wall/Sebastian Garrett-Singh

In December New City Collegian discovered district plans to remove campus curfews at Seattle Central  which will officially be presented tomorrow at a Board of Trustees meeting. The emergency rule placed restrictions on campus use and was initially created to expedite Occupy Seattle’s departure from the south lawn seemingly under a guise of misinformation; the emergency rule was later made law. This was exacerbated by false claims reported by Seattle P.I. reporter Vanessa Ho.

The district currently forbids anyone to be on campus between 10pm and 6am. Following the districts curfew resolution a “first amendment taskforce” was launched by Chancellor Jill Wakefield. The group searched for a balance between  free speech and the districts learning environment. After multiple meetings, which NCC staff and the public were barred from for reasons the district has failed to disclose, the chancellor has endorsed a resolution that will dissolve time restraints at Seattle Central.

The new proposal will begin a formal public meeting process some time in May says campus officials, but will be publicly unveiled tomorrow at the BoT meeting. The BoT meeting location and time is not publicly available but are generally held at the school district office located at Harvard and Pike at 4pm.

UPDATE: We have heard the board meeting will be held at the South Seattle campus at 4pm. We have not pinned down a room yet.

A plan to create free speech zones in the district was initially covered by NCC resulting in student protests and national media coverage. The passed proposal was met with substantial public backlash, as well as concerns from the American Civil Liberties Union. However, the new proposal will only afford Seattle Central the no-time restrictions due to its “urban setting” says a district doc. North and South Seattle Community College will still have time restraints in place. Patricia Paquette, Public Information Officer for the District provided the following information to NCC on the district’s plan:

After being appointed last spring, the task force met four times between Spring 2012 and January 2013 to draft the new WAC pertaining to “use of facilities for first amendment activities.”  The task force has now completed its work.  Their recommendation has been reviewed and approved by Chancellor’s Cabinet and will be presented to the board for a first reading at the Feb. 7 board meeting as an information item. It will then be sent to our staff and faculty unions and to the State Code Revisor’s office to start the formal rule-making process. It is anticipated that a public hearing on the proposal will be held in May, 2013.

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