abridgment of the plaintiff's First Amendment right to present grievances for remedy; and (3) the denial or abridgment of the plaintiff's First Amendment right to peacefully assemble.
All three grounds are meritless. First, the 24th Amendment and other constitutional protections for the right to vote relate to Federal elections. U.S. Const. amend. XXIV. The Constitution does not protect a right to vote in a private college student government election unless some other federal right has been denied or abridged. Second, the plaintiff has asserted no cognizable First Amendment claim based on his right to petition. While the First Amendment does protect the right to petition the Courts and the government to redress grievances, the plaintiff does not allege the denial or abridgment of such a right. U.S. Const. amend I; see Motor Transport Co. v. Trucking Unlimited, 404 U.S. 508, 510, 30 L. Ed. 2d 642, 92 S. Ct. 609 (1972) (right to petition extends to all departments of government). Instead, the plaintiff claims that his right to seek redress for grievances with defendant Strayer College, a private institution, has been abridged.
Third, the plaintiff's allegation that the College and its staff prevented him from forming a student government, by, among other actions, misdirecting students from a meeting regarding the ratification of a student government, does not support a First Amendment "peaceful assemblage" claim. For one, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution generally binds only the action of Congress or of agencies of the federal government and not the actions of private corporations. Granfield v. Catholic University of America, 174 U.S. App. D.C. 183, 530 F.2d 1035, 1046-47 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 821, 50 L. Ed. 2d 81, 97 S. Ct. 68 (1976). The plaintiff has made no allegations of state action. In addition, the meeting was on private property, upon which the plaintiff has no constitutional right to peacefully assemble. See People v. Thompson, 56 Ill. App. 3d 557, 372 N.E.2d 117, 119-20, 14 Ill. Dec. 312 (Ill. Ct. App. 1978) (Guarantees of free speech and assembly were not violated by Illinois statute providing that one remaining upon land of another after being requested to leave is liable to arrest for criminal trespass). Finally, the plaintiff's vague allegation that defendants misdirected students intending to attend the aforementioned meeting are too insubstantial to invoke federal question jurisdiction. The plaintiff's allegations do not state who misdirected the students, how many students were misdirected, how and when the misdirection occurred, and how the conduct implicated the plaintiff's First Amendment rights. In fact, the plaintiff's Complaint asserts that students seeking to form a student government were provided a room in which to gather. See Complaint P 4(c). In short, there is little legal substance to the plaintiff's argument that this Court has federal question jurisdiction based on the infringement of his First Amendment rights.
The plaintiff's new allegations in his Amendment to his Complaint allege conspiracy on the part of the defendants relating to plaintiff's financial aid. Conspiracy is a common law claim and does not invoke federal question jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court must dismiss the new claim as well for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Because the plaintiff has failed to establish a substantial federal question in this case, the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction based on federal question jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
The plaintiff has failed to establish that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over any of the plaintiff's claims, including his recently added conspiracy claim, based on diversity or federal question jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court shall dismiss the above-entitled action. The Court shall issue an Order of even date herewith consistent with the foregoing Memorandum Opinion.
CHARLES R. RICHEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
For the reasons set forth in the Court's Memorandum Opinion of even date herewith, it is, by the Court, this 3rd day of September, 1996.
ORDERED that the plaintiff's Complaint shall be, and hereby is, amended pursuant to the plaintiff's Amendment to Complaint, filed September 23, 1996; and, it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction shall be, and hereby is, GRANTED; and, it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff's Complaint, filed August 26, 1996, and the Amendment to his Complaint, filed September 23, 1996, in the above-entitled case shall be, and hereby is, DISMISSED for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and, it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can be Granted and any and all other outstanding motions in the above-entitled case shall be, and hereby are, rendered and declared MOOT.
CHARLES R. RICHEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE