The New York senate has passed a bill which will prohibit universities from providing funding to student groups that “encourage hate speech.”
Bill S8017, which was co-sponsored by Senators Jack Martins and Todd Kaminsky, is described as “relating to certain student groups that are ineligible for funding.”
The legislation states that universities must “adopt rules that any student group that receives funding from the [university] that directly or indirectly promotes, encourages, or permits discrimination, intolerance, hate speech or boycotts against a person or group based on race, class, gender, nationality, ethnic origin or religion, shall be ineligible for funding.”
However, the bill is potentially a violation of the 1st Amendment, as universities must be consistently neutral when it comes to funding student groups. The Washington Post notes, “In a series of decisions, [the Supreme] Court has emphasized that the First Amendment generally precludes public universities from denying student organizations access to school-sponsored forums because of the groups’ viewpoints.”
As terms such as discrimination, intolerance, and hate speech are subjective and open to interpretation, the universities would be actively engaging in viewpoint discrimination.
Under the bill, groups could lose funding for reasons from advocating traditionalist Christian teachings to a Donald Trump presidency.
The move comes after some states have sought to clamp down on the rising anti-free speech attitude of many American universities, as a court in North Carolina recently ruled against a university who introduced “free speech permits” for Christian groups.
A bill in Arizona also outlawed the restriction of free speech on campus.
The debate around free speech at American universities has been exemplified by Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who has faced multiple attempts to silence his conservative message as part of his ‘Dangerous Faggot Tour’ of college campuses.