Santa Barbara Community College Snubs Local Resident’s Constitutional Rights

Parsa Nozzari

On August 19, 2019, Dhillon Law Group filed a lawsuit against the Santa Barbara Community College Board of Trustees on behalf of a local resident, Celeste Barber. On January 24, 2019, the College disregarded the Brown Act when it allowed a heckler’s veto to Professor Raeanne Napoleon who was shouting down Celeste Barber—a local resident who was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the public comment section of the meeting.

The college had recently changed its policy of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before the Board of Trustees meetings. Ms. Barber had applied to speak to the Trustees as to why they should return to the old policy of reciting the pledge. Throughout her comments, Professor Napoleon continually interrupted Barber’s prepared comments. Professor Napoleon also encouraged others in the audience to also attempt to shout down Barber’s prepared comments.

California law requires the Board of Trustees to remove those individuals who are disrupting a meeting. The Board of Trustees did not remove Prof. Napoleon, which in turn created a heckler’s veto and silenced Ms. Barber’s First Amendment right to free speech and to petition her government.

Please click here to view the Complaint.

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Parsa Nozzari graduated from the University of California, Davis, where he obtained Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and French. Shortly after graduating in 2015, he moved to San Francisco to work as a paralegal at Dhillon Law Group. He provided various levels of litigation support to the firm’s attorneys until August 2018, when he left the firm to start law school.
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