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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, December 03, 2018

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: DECEMBER 3, 2018

Bliss Davis, Content Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH IN THE NEWS: DECEMBER 3, 2018

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) Cal Poly is threatening free speech, say students who were warned for protesting Raytheon

Five Cal Poly students who protested the relationship between the defense contractor Raytheon and the university at a fall campus career fair say school officials are trying to intimidate them from exercising their free speech rights.

Cal Poly student Kelsey Zazanis said she and four classmates of the SLO Peace Coalitionpeacefully demonstrated at an Oct. 4 career fair over Raytheon’s ties to the university as a donor and job recruiter, calling for the university to “divest from the war.”

Cal Poly’s Code of Conduct policies prohibit “demonstrations that would disrupt events that are not open to the general public,” said university spokesman Matt Lazier, adding he can’t comment on the specifics of the protest, citing student privacy laws.

2.) Google employees: We no longer believe the company places values over profits

Google employees are calling on the company to cancel Project Dragonfly, an effort to create a censored search engine in China. Eleven Google employees had signed the letter as of its posting, and the number of signatures quickly grew, amounting to more than 100 several hours after it published. By 5 p.m. West Coast time, the letter had 300 signatures.

Project Dragonfly has drawn criticism from human rights groups and U.S. politicians since The Intercept first reported details about the internal effort this summer, and in August, thousands of Google employees signed a letter saying that it raised "urgent moral and ethical issues."

Google originally withdrew its search service from China in 2010 due to increased concerns about cyberattacks and censorship. Since then, the Chinese government has increasingly restricted what its citizens can or and can't do online.

3.) Mass. Court Rules Natick School Committee Violated Parents' Free Speech Rights

A Massachusetts court has ruled that the Natick School Committee has been violating the state constitution by suppressing public speech at committee meetings.

The Middlesex Superior Court ruled on Wednesday against the Natick School Committee, Natick Public Schools' interim superintendent, Anna Nolin, and the school committee chair, Lisa Tabenkin, saying a policy used during public speaking portions of meetings allowed the committee to unconstitutionally silence speakers. The committee had claimed it had the right to limit speech if they found it "improper," "abusive," or "defamatory."

The Middlesex Superior Court said in its ruling that the school committee violated the state constitution by "failing to define the terms 'improper' and 'abusive' as referring to obscenities ... threats, and fighting words ... and by failing expressly to limit 'defamatory' remarks as remarks that have been adjudicated defamatory."

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