MJC is right to apologize

September 30, 2013 

Though still smarting from criticism from across the country, Modesto Junior College President Jill Stearns did the right thing in issuing a public apology for the Sept. 17 incident in which a student was inappropriately stopped from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution on the little-known national holiday to recognize the its signing.

“A formal apology has been provided the student. We deeply regret this misunderstanding. College staff have been provided the policy and procedure for review and follow-up training is planned to further ensure that clear and accurate information is provided in the future,” Stearns wrote in her statement.

She said the district is reviewing its policy, but that it was widely misunderstood in the midst of a YouTube video that went viral, prompting a flurry of emails and phone calls to the college. Stearns’ statement included this explanation: “As described in the District’s official Board Policy and Administrative Procedure, students may distribute printed material on campus in areas generally available to students and the community as long as they do not disrupt the orderly operation of the college. There are procedures to avoid duplicative use of areas. The district is evaluating its policies and procedures. The college and district administration support the peaceful distribution of printed materials on campus. There is absolutely no requirement that a student register weeks in advance and hand out his literature only in a small marked area.”

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