California Polytechnic State University

Frustrated with campus discourse limits, California Republicans take on 'free speech zones'

Frustrated with campus discourse limits, California Republicans take on 'free speech zones'

In the realm of political odd couples, state Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber and aspiring public interest lawyer Nicolas Tomas may be among the oddest. Tomas, a 26-year-old Democrat, is a promoter of the vegan lifestyle. Nielsen, a 72-year-old Republican, is a cattleman and dairyman by trade.

The unlikely duo found common cause in pushing back against what they see as a climate of restricted free speech on college campuses. Two years ago, Tomas sued Cal Poly Pomona for preventing him from distributing pro-vegan leaflets outside of the “free speech zone”— a 144-square-foot area designated for such activities. Now, Nielsen is carrying a bill to dismantle the use of these zones on public...

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