620 F.2d 516 (5th Cir. 1980), 80-3035, Shamloo v. Mississippi State Bd. of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning

Docket Nº:80-3035.
Citation:620 F.2d 516
Party Name:Sadegh SHAMLOO et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. MISSISSIPPI STATE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 02, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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620 F.2d 516 (5th Cir. 1980)

Sadegh SHAMLOO et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,



HIGHER LEARNING et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 80-3035.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 2, 1980

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Robert Rubin, American Civil Liberties Union of Miss., Frank R. Parker, Jackson, Miss., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Ed Davis Noble, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, Miss., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.


THORNBERRY, Circuit Judge:

This court is called upon to assess the constitutionality of two university regulations that govern demonstrations held on the campus of Jackson State University (Jackson State). Sadegh Shamloo contends that the regulations violate his first amendment rights, that the regulations were discriminatorily and selectively enforced, and that the university disciplinary proceedings enforcing the regulations were unconstitutional for failing to provide due process of law.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi disagreed and refused to grant a preliminary injunction. Because we find that the regulations are unconstitutionally vague, we must reverse the decision of the district court.

On December 12, 1979, Shamloo and Majid Mokhayeri filed their complaint as a class action on behalf of themselves and all Iranian students at Jackson State who were subjected to disciplinary proceedings for their participation in a demonstration on the campus of Jackson State. The complaint sought declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accompanying the complaint was a motion for a temporary restraining order to halt student disciplinary proceedings that were still in progress. On December 12, 1979, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi conducted a hearing on this matter, but on the next day refused to grant the temporary restraining order. Plaintiffs appealed this denial to this court, but the appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as an appeal from a nonappealable order. Shamloo v. Mississippi State Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning, No. 79-4042 (5th Cir. Dec. 27, 1979).

On December 28, 1979, appellants filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to stay enforcement of the student disciplinary actions and to reinstate the Iranians to their previous status as students. The district court conducted a hearing on this motion on January 8, 1980 and January 9, 1980. At the conclusion of the hearing, the district court refused to grant a preliminary injunction holding that (1) the Jackson State regulations are not unconstitutional, (2) the regulations were not selectively enforced, and (3) the student disciplinary

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hearings did not constitute a denial of due process. This appeal follows.

I. Facts.

Appellants Shamloo, Mokhayeri, and thirty other Iranians, nationals who are in the United States pursuant to student visas, were enrolled students at Jackson State for the fall semester in 1979. These students participated in two student demonstrations on the campus of Jackson State to indicate their support of the new government in Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini. These demonstrations were allegedly unauthorized because the students did not comply with Jackson State's regulations governing demonstrations.

The regulations, contained in the student handbook, "The Tiger," provide as follows:

Any student parade, serenade, demonstration, rally, and/or other meeting or gathering for any purpose, conducted on the campus of the institution must be scheduled with the President or designated agent at least three (3) days in advance of the event. Names of the responsible leaders of the group must be submitted to the institution at the time of scheduling. Organizations which meet at regular times and places may, at the beginning of each semester, schedule such meetings with the designated official.

Students assembling for any meetings not authorized in accordance with the aforesaid paragraphs are subject to disciplinary action which may result in dismissal from the institution. Students present at each unauthorized meeting are considered to be participants.

All events sponsored by student organizations, groups, or individual students must be registered with the Director of Student Activities, who, in cooperation with the Vice President for Student Affairs, approves activities of a wholesome nature. In some instances, the individual or group making the request will be counseled as to the inappropriateness of date, time, or place of the event. And thus, alternate schedules may be suggested, or the prevailing circumstances may warrant disapproval of the activity.

Jackson State University, The Tiger: Student Handbook, pp. 66-67, 48 (1978) (emphasis added). To schedule a demonstration with the "President or designated agent," a student must submit an Application For Use Of University Facilities (See Appendix A) and obtain the approval of five individuals. The testimony reveals that Shamloo was made aware of these regulations on October 5, 1979, in a meeting specifically called to explain to the Iranian students the Jackson State regulations and the Use of Facilities form with respect to their request for obtaining an off-campus speaker. Therefore, it is clear that Shamloo was aware of the requirement that he must give three days advance written notice of a student demonstration.

The first demonstration occurred on November 19, 1979. It was apparently held in response to the presence of officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service on the Jackson State campus to review the status of the Iranian students at Jackson State. A group of Iranian students gathered in an area on the campus known as the "Plaza." The students did not comply with the Jackson State regulations by acquiring written permission so this was an unauthorized demonstration. Shamloo did speak with Dr. Johnson, Vice-President for Student Affairs, before the demonstration concerning the possibility of holding a meeting to discuss the state of affairs in Iran and the status of the Shah. But the testimony reveals that Dr. Johnson never gave Shamloo oral permission to hold a demonstration on the Plaza. Even if he had, the oral permission would not satisfy the Jackson State regulations requiring written permission. No disciplinary action was brought against the students for their participation in this demonstration.

The second demonstration occurred on November 29, 1979. At approximately 9:00 A.M., a group of Iranian students gathered on the Plaza. The student demonstration consisted of chanting, marching, and carrying signs. At approximately 9:15, Dr. Estus Smith, Vice-President of Academic Affairs, heard the chanting from his office in

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the Administrative Tower. Dr. Smith asked the students to disperse because this was the week before "dead week" when students were meeting with their professors for the last time before final examinations and because the demonstration was disrupting classes. When Dr. Smith left the Plaza, the chanting resumed. At approximately 9:30 A.M., Captain Stringer, Director of Campus Security, was contacted by radio with regards to the demonstration. Upon determining that the students did not have written permission to demonstrate, Captain Stringer ordered the group to disperse.

The district court concluded that the demonstration had a disruptive effect with respect to the other students. Shamloo testified that, in his opinion, the demonstration was not disruptive. Dr. Johnson, Vice-President for Student Affairs, testified that the demonstration was "quite noisy," while Dr. Smith testified that it was "disrupting classes." Dr. Smith also testified as to the location of the Plaza with respect to other buildings on campus. The Academic Skills...

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