Arizona Bill Outlaws Restricting Free Speech on Campus

AP Photo/Valentina Petrova
AP Photo/Valentina Petrova

Legislation was signed by Arizona by Gov. Doug Ducey that will prohibit public colleges and universities from restricting free speech on campus.

On signing the bill, Ducey said that “part of the university experience is to be able to express diverse views, openly, without fear of retribution or intimidation—and to be exposed to other views and perspectives, even if they aren’t politically correct or popular.”

Testifying in February, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said that “Arizona students should have the ability to make sure that government officials are not inappropriately censoring their speech on campus in violation of state law.”

“Closing this loophole allows students to go to court, when necessary, so that government officials can’t get away with ignoring the law,” he added.

The bill, which was proposed back in February by State Rep. Anthony Kern, was reportedly inspired by his experience of handing out flyers during an Independence Day celebration when students told him he was restricted to a “free speech zone which was way away from the people.”

The move will comes as a victory for free speech advocates who oppose the new progressive culture of safe spaces and trigger warnings.

It also follows a Senate amendment to a separate bill that increased the penalties for political protesters who deliberately stifle speech, following an anti-Trump protest that took place in Arizona in March.

There was also legislation proposed in Tennessee that would ensure universities and colleges are powerless to punish students on the basis of making mean or offensive comments.

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